Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney rattled praise off for virtually the entire defensive end room Wednesday after mentioning the d-line as one unit to watch days prior, adding, "We've got seven guys who have started on the defensive line, so I would just start there."
"They all want to run out there first, and they're all good enough to run out there first," Swinney said. "That defensive line is special. ... We've been kind of growing up the last couple of years. Really, really young in 19' and then last year was kind of a crazy deal.
"To sit there and see Justin (Foster), Xavier (Thomas), Myles (Murphy) K.J. (Henry), (Justin) Mascoll. And then (Kevin) Swint, he'd probably be the other most improved, especially because he moved to a new position. I mean, he's a great football player. Then you throw in Reagan Upshaw, who's just a problem. I know we don't talk about Reagan Upshaw a lot but that dude, if you line up on him and you ain't ready to practice, he's going to kill you."
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Offensive coordinator Tony Elliott echoed Swinney's sentiment after laughing off the question on what he's seen on the Tigers' defensive line improvement, noticeable he was thrilled with the talent level.
"They're talented, and they're very, very deep," Elliott said. "What I'm seeing though, I think the difference is okay, you talk about Dexter (Lawrence), you talk about Clelin (Ferrell), you talk Christian (Wilkins), you know, those guys had to work together to create that chemistry and cohesion, and it didn't just happen when they all got together. It happened over time.
"You're really starting to see what (Todd) Bates and what Lemanski (Hall) are trying to instill in those guys. Just that 'best' mentality, everybody pushing each other, it doesn't matter who runs out there first. Playing to a standard. Those guys are flying around, they look like they're in unbelievable shape. They're deep, they're confident, and they're having a lot of fun."
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