Building a resume

CLEMSON - Before this season, Da'Quan Bowers had all the tools of a first-round draft pick, but didn't really have the resume to match.

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Now, just one sack away from owning the Clemson single-season sack record, Bowers is well on his way to being one of the first few picks in this year's NFL Draft, if chooses.

The junior defensive end still has another season of eligibility after a breakout effort in 2010.

At the West End Zone on Tuesday, Bowers told reporters that he hasn't thought of Saturday's game versus No. 17 South Carolina as his potential Death Valley finale.

"I'm just looking for a great time in Death Valley," he said. "This actually will be my first time playing in a night game in Death Valley, because I missed the Florida State game last year, due to injury. I'm pretty excited about that."

Bowers is also excited about the chance of breaking the school sack record, which is held by Keith Adams. Adams' single-season mark of 15 is just a half-sack ahead of Bowers' total for this season.

"I've thought about that all week," Bowers said. "That's one thing that I have thought about. It would be a great achievement to break the sack record here at Clemson."

Defensive coordinator Kevin Steele said Bowers' improvement from 2009 to this season is a credit to doing what's been asked of him.

"The thing that Da'Quan has done, he's buying into the system and doing his job, not free-lancing, not trying to make plays—just do your job and plays will come to you," Steele said.

The gift has been there for quite some time.

"He has all the tools to be very, very special," said Steele, who was an assistant coach with the Carolina Panthers from 1995-98. "He is exactly what you're looking for, in terms of that position, and he goes out and plays that way."

Chris Rumph sees it, too.

The Tigers' fifth-year defensive ends coach coached Phillip Merling at Clemson before he was selected with the No. 32 pick by the Miami Dolphins in 2008.

Rumph was recently asked by Merling, who is also his nephew, if he thought Bowers is the best player that he's coached.

And Rumph responded with a yes.

"[Bowers] is smart. That's what a lot of people don't realize. He's so intelligent. Sometimes, he's out there calling coverages and things like that. He's done a really good job of preparing himself," Rumph said. Top Stories