Yes, it's that time again! Today, CUTigers.com begins our annual look at each player on the Tigers' roster, starting with #99. First up on our list, senior defensive end and Camden native Maurice Fountain.
Last season, Mo Fountain played in all 13 games (8 starts), recording 39 total tackles, including 6 for loss, 2 sacks, and 17 quarterback pressures.
Fountain is viewed as one of the key components to the Tigers' defensive line entering fall practice. This spring, his continued to development was instrumental in the progress of the defensive line under new coach Ron West. One assistant coach commented during spring practice that Mo Fountain has the ability to become the top defensive lineman in the ACC next year.
Fountain attended Camden High School where he was a two-time all-conference player. He was also voted the MVP of the North South High School All-Star game in Myrtle Beach during his senior year.
Big Mo has shown flashes of brilliance throughout his Clemson career. Two years ago against Louisiana Tech, he had interception that was returned over 50+ yards down to the Bulldogs one-yard line in the closing minutes to help clinch the win for Clemson. He also forced a fumble in 2001 against Wofford that was returned by 29-yards by Eric Meekins for a touchdown.
The entire defensive line struggled through the early stages of spring ball, but after the first major scrimmage in Death Valley, things starting heating up in a hurry. Fountain and company begin dominating the line of scrimmage, limiting the first team offense to just one touchdown in eight possessions in the second major scrimmage of spring practice. In the Orange & White game, the defense continued to excel behind the strong play of the defensive line. That afternoon, Fountain finished with 4 tackles and a sack.
Last year, Fountain commented on the late season turnaround by the defense. "The problems we had earlier in season were all mental," said Fountain right before the season finale against South Carolina. "It was nothing physical at all. We just had to polish up on where we needed to be in certain situations, and we've done that. We should be able to contain those kinds of plays now without any problems. It was something that was mostly a mental thing with us before."
Fountain's potential headed into 2004 season is unlimited. As a senior, many of the younger linemen are looking to him to lead the way, and rightfully so. Fountain became more of a vocal leader this spring at his defensive end position and many coaches, reporters, and folks that follow the Clemson football program the closest, feel as though Fountain could be in for an incredible year. "Him and Charles Bennett are our two best ends right now," said head coach Tommy Bowden after spring practice.