Zach Lentz

Simmons, Pinckney and Ross listed in the top 50 player rankings for 2019

48: Clemson LB Isaiah Simmons

Simmons, the Tigers’ leading tackler last season, patrols the middle of the field in various roles, though he excels in the box, where he can use his speed and elite athleticism to shoot gaps and disrupt. His nine tackles for loss, two sacks and six passes defensed puts him in rare company as a two-way safety, and his experience will be important for a Clemson team that’s losing a lot of talent in the front seven.

45: Clemson DL Nyles Pinckney

The news that tackle Dexter Lawrence would miss the College Football Playoff while serving a suspension for a positive PED test threatened to derail Clemson's title hopes, but Pinckney stepped in and played to the level of the Tigers' other NFL-bound starters in blowout wins over Notre Dame and Alabama. That spurred hopes in the Upstate that Clemson will truly reload along its front seven as it launches a national title defense, and Pinckney stands to be the most experienced of those new regulars.

35: Clemson WR Justyn Ross

As a true freshman, Ross exploded onto the scene in last season’s College Football Playoff by turning in a combined 12 catches for 301 yards and three touchdowns against Notre Dame and Alabama. Ross is 6’4” with breakaway speed, making him one of the toughest covers in college football. With Trevor Lawrence back at quarterback and fellow receiver Tee Higgins also drawing the attention of defenses, Clemson’s passing game should be electrifying in 2019.

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