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Clemson linebacker Trenton Simpson could be one of the top defenders in the country next season after standing out among his teammates in 2021.

“The Clemson defense was trash last year, but Simpson is that dude,” an NFL general manager told ESPN’s Matt Miller. “He’s going to crush the combine and should be the ACC DPOY. Hopefully they unleash him a little more this year because he can really do it all.”

The Tigers did rank second in the nation with 14.9 points allowed per game while finishing eighth in yards allowed per contest last year. Inconsistency was an issue as the squad finished 10-3, with its most losses since 2014.

Simpson finished the season with 64 tackles, including 12 tackles for loss, with six sacks and two passes defended.

The 5-star recruit was the top outside linebacker and No. 26 overall player in the 2020 class, per 247Sports‘ composite rankings. He appeared in 12 games as a freshman, tallying four sacks and 6.5 tackles for loss mostly coming off the bench.

Simpson showed his potential as a starter last season, and he is now ready to make an even bigger impact in 2022.

ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. listed Simpson as the No. 25 overall player in the 2023 NFL draft class, noting the linebacker’s “explosion at the snap.”

With another productive season, he could end up being drafted even earlier next April.

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