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Clemson linebacker Trenton Simpson drills running back Darien Rencher during Saturday's spring game. (Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

Clemson Football

Young studs brighten Clemson future at linebacker

Even with spring practice concluding over the weekend, there is still plenty going on at Clemson. Senior writer Matt Connolly is ready to answer whatever questions you might have. You can submit your question for the “Question of the Day” here. Today’s question is about Clemson’s linebackers.

It’s hard to know who will step up from a leadership standpoint, because you can be a leader without being a great player.

Clemson is set at linebacker as far as leadership for now with Skalski and fellow senior Baylon Spector, and so no one else needs to be that leader yet. My guess is that will work itself out next year.

As for linebackers who impressed this spring, Trenton Simpson and Jeremiah Trotter Jr. are at the top of the list for me.

Simpson is a 6-foot-3, 225 pound sophomore who had 32 tackles and 6.5 tackles for loss last season. He played in all 12 games in 2020, with three starts.

The Charlotte native should move into a full-time starting role this season. Don’t be surprised if he shines and earns All-ACC honors. Simpson offered a glimpse of his potential throughout last season and did so again in the spring game, unloading on backup running back Darien Rencher.

Another young linebacker with a bright future is true freshman Jeremiah Trotter Jr.

The New Jersey native had 3 tackles, including a tackle for loss in the spring game, and he was a player who stood out as far as always being around the ball when he was in.

Clemson’s coaching staff couldn’t stop raving about Trotter this spring. He was the only linebacker Clemson signed for the class of 2021.

“If you’re only gonna sign one, you better go get a great one,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. “And that’s what we did with Trotter. Trotter is a really, really good football player, Very natural. He’s got a bright, bright future for us.”

With Simpson and Trotter, Clemson has a pair of really good young linebackers to help lead the defense when Skalski finishes up his career with the Tigers after the 2021 season.

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