Experienced, confident and still hungry

DeShawn Williams has been a productive piece along the interior of Clemson's defensive line in each of his three seasons as a Tiger.

For his career, he has 107 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, 17 quarterback pressures, three pass breakups, one recovered fumble and two blocked kicks over 867 snaps in 40 games [10 starts].

After logging 138 snaps as a freshman in 2011, he's played over 300 in each of the last two seasons.

"It's crazy. I remember being a freshman coming in. Now, I'm a senior. It's the last one, so I've got to make it count," Williams said.

One of three senior defensive tackles on the Clemson roster, it was one of Williams' classmates/positionmates who helped drive that thought home earlier this spring.

"It was like Grady [Jarrett] told us the first practice, take every practice as it's your last, because we won't have any more," Williams said. "This is my last go-round. I'm going to push my teammates and my teammates are going to push me. We're going to ride out with this thing."

While Clemson's defense returns seven starters, there are a number of other experienced veterans also slated to be back, which includes Williams and fellow defensive tackles D.J. Reader and Carlos Watkins.

This fall, defensive coordinator Brent Venables will look to find the right blend of youth and experience across the entire defense, and just about everyone involved is confident that's going to happen.

"That confidence goes with knowledge of the playbook. Being here three years with the scheme, we know, we can call out things, now we just play free…our secondary and front seven plays with confidence," Williams said.

As for how things will work at defensive tackle, the future is uncertain, even though everyone from the five-man rotation in 2012 and 2013 is back for 2014.

"Coach [Dan] Brooks, he's not showing favoritism. He's going to play the best," Williams said. "If you're practicing and performing the best on that practice field, you're going to play, so that's not really affecting the seniors. We're all going out that there -- we're not comfortable at all."

Redshirt freshman Scott Pagano will be among those hoping to find a place in that rotation.

"Scott has come a long since he's first gotten here," Williams said. "He didn't know the schemes well, but he's strong. He imposes power and his will on people. He's quick. He's coming down hill on people…he'll hit you."

As everyone knows by now, he's not the only Clemson defensive tackle ready to hit somebody in the mouth.

"It's crazy. It's something special that's going to come out of this," Williams said. "We can't get complacent. We can't buy into the hype that everyone is giving us. We know what we've got to do and that's stay humble."

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