Less could be more in Trenton Simpson’s new role
Trenton Simpson’s move to the inside means more talent on the court for Clemson’s defense.
In his 556 snaps in 13 games and 12 starts during the 2021 season, Clemson football linebacker Trenton Simpson has racked up impressive numbers.
Seventy-eight total tackles, 12 tackles for loss, 6 sacks, 3 broken passes and 11 quarterback pressures.
Simpson has been a stat and highlight machine during his time at Clemson, but that may not be the case this year with his move inside.
He put up solid numbers, yes, but playing outside and reading attacking tackles didn’t necessarily use his full abilities.
The coaches were of the view that the move will not only benefit Simpson to the next level, but also allow the Tigers to put more talent on the court in Clemson’s already ridiculously talented forward seven.
Coaches believe Simpson’s move indoors will prove fruitful for his NFL future and improve a Clemson defense that many already expect to rank near the top of the sport this fall.
While the numbers are a feast for the eyes of fans, NFL scouts aren’t necessarily looking for the showy numbers that can be stacked up from Simpson’s old position.
Meanwhile, the challenge of replacing Simpson at linebacker Will isn’t difficult either, due to recruiting. That role now belongs to Barrett Carter, a five-star signee in 2021 entering his first season as a starter.
As for that front seven, here’s what the Tigers will put on the field in 2022:
The Tigers are expected to start five former five-star prospects among linemen and linebackers in the front seven, and three of those players, including Simpson, have signed with this historic class in 2020.
Simpson believes the front seven can’t block one-on-one and that presents him with opportunities to make plays, perhaps in a different way, from his new place in defense.
“That top seven is amazing,” Simpson said. “I can personally say that I feel like all the guys they put on the D-line, nobody can block one-on-one.”
“These guys are amazing when it comes to keeping linemen away from me in practice,” Simpson said.
Here’s guessing that this also happens in games.
With the change in position, Simpson’s stat line may decrease, but the chances of an NFL career and Clemson’s defense success increase
His role has changed from being the one who generates a lot of stats to being inside the box, where a mass of humanity is found on almost every game and with that his stats may not reflect what he really means for the defense, but allowing Carter to line up fewer numbers for Simpson may be good news for the Tigers defense.