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Chavis, a senior from Fayetteville, N.C., credited defensive tackles coach Dan Brooks with the success he had in 2009.
"The players he's coached, you don't need to name them all, but Albert Haynesworth was one of them," Chavis said. "He's a great teacher. He's really gotten the best out of me."
Brooks said Chavis had the best spring practice of any defensive tackle and tabbed him as the most improved defensive tackle.
"I don't really need a pat on the back or kudos," Chavis said. "I'm content in the work that I produce in my defense."
After graduating from Sanford High School in 2006, Chavis made a one-year stop at Hargrave Military Academy. Coming out of Hargrave, he was ranked as the No. 50 defensive end in the class of 2007 and rated with three stars.
Chavis 405-pound bench press is eighth on the team while his 370-pound hang clean is tops.
Head coach Dabo Swinney said Chavis has worked himself into serious contention for a starting job.
"I'd be really disappointed if he doesn't have a really good year for us," Swinney said.
And now that his career is winding down, Chavis is watching the days fly by.
"At the beginning of your career, it takes forever. The closer you get to the end, the faster it goes," he said. "This spring and summer I said that I'm going to give it my best shot…for Clemson, for these coaches, for myself and my family."
For his teammates, too. But that almost goes without saying for a guy who's regarded as one of the leaders on the field and in the locker room.
"We have a sincere appreciation for each others' jobs," Chavis said. "We love playing fast. We love playing hard. It's almost a competition between us all.
"It's when DeAndre McDaniel makes a big hit. Who can outhit DeAndre today? If I get a sack or Jarvis [Jenkins] or Brandon [Thompson] or one of the boys get a sack, then the d-ends better catch up."