Top opposing defensive ends

Up next in CUTigers' look at the best opposing players Clemson will see this season are the defensive ends.

1-Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina

2012

Clowney finished sixth in the Heisman voting last year. He won the Hendricks Award [best defensive end], was a finalist for the Nagurski Trophy, Rotary Lombardi Award and Bednarik awards. Selected by the SEC's coaches as the Defensive Player of the Year, Clowney set the South Carolina single-season record for sacks [13] and tackles for loss [23.]. At the end of the season, he finished tied for third in the nation in sacks and tied for second in tackles for loss.

What he's doing here

Because he could very well be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. He's also a candidate for the Heisman Trophy. And just because he could be the overall player Clemson will see in 2013.

2-Jeremiah Attaochu, Georgia Tech

2012

An honorable mention All-ACC selection, Attaochu, had 69 tackles [44 solo]. The 10 sacks he recorded tied for the seventh-most in a single-season by a Georgia Tech defender. He also had 12 tackles for loss, one forced fumble and one fumble recovered.

What he's doing here

Though he probably projects better as an outside linebacker at the next level, Attaochu's pass rushing ability will give ACC quarterbacks fits for one more season. He did kick around the idea of turning pro after the 2012 season, but opted to return for his senior season.

With 19 career sacks, Attaochu is tied for eighth-most in school history with current Cincinnati Bengal Michael Johnson, who had 11.5 sacks last season.


Mario Edwards could have a breakout season in 2013.

3-Mario Edwards, Florida State

2012

Edwards played in 11 games as a freshman. His first career start was in the ACC Championship. Entering the game with seven tackles on the season, Edwards doubled that number, registering seven versus Georgia Tech, including a tackle for loss. In his second career start, the Orange Bowl, Edwards was in on three tackles and a pass break-up.

What he's doing here

The No. 4 overall player in the class of 2012, according to Scout.com, Edwards was a five-star prospect by just about every recruiting service with a pulse.

He should pick up right where Cornellius Carradine and Bjoern Werner left off in the long line of great Florida State defensive ends. By the end of the season, Edwards could bypass Attaochu and be the second-best defensive end Clemson will see this fall.

Honorable Mention-Ray Drew, Georgia

2012

As a reserve defensive end for the Bulldogs, Drew finished his sophomore season with 23 tackles, one tackle for loss and eight quarterback pressures.

What he's doing here

The 6-foot-5, 275-pound defensive end was an All-American out of Thomasville County High School in Georgia. Though he hasn't exactly lived up to the recruiting hype, Drew oozes potential. There's a reason why schools like Clemson, Auburn and many others recruited him so vigorously out of high school.

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