Heralded Clemson defense looks to live up to the hype at Duke

Photo credit Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

At least three Clemson defenders have landed on prominent Preseason all American teams coming into this year. D-Lineman Tyler Davis and LB's Barrett Carter and Jeremiah Trotter all were named to the AP's list. Andrew Mukuba is an accomplished DB and is back for Clemson. Tiger Net reports that Mukuba told them earlier this week concerning the DB's " I think we got the best in the country".

The star studded defensive cast for Clemson will square off with Duke QB Riley Leonard. The Alabama native threw for nearly 3,000 yards and 20 TD's to just 6 picks, he also completed 63% of his passes. Duke returns three of Leonard's favorite targets from last year's 9-4 season under Coach Mike Elko.

The Blue Devils bring back leading pass catcher Jaylon Calhoun, a Greenville native and Southside High grad Jaylon Calhoun. They also have WR's Sahmir Hagans and who were the the #2 and #3 receivers from last season. Duke has another high school standout from the Upstate on the roster, as well. Former Gaffney All-State Selection Grayson Loftis is a back-up to Riley Leonard at QB.

Can Duke keep Leonard protected enough to be able to make throws? Clemson's defense with the three All American caliber players in front seven will pose a challenge to Duke's O-line. Leonard was just sacked 16 times all of last year.

Clemson has beaten Duke 5 straight times and will look for their 6th consecutive series win Monday night in Durham. The Tigers have won 10 of the last 11 meetings. Duke's last win over Clemson came in 2004, nearly twenty years ago. The two teams used to play annually for decades. However this will be just the 5th meeting for the two programs since 2007.

High expectations surrounding Clemson not only with their defensive talent, but offensively as well. The Tigers return All American Will Shipley and Phil Mafah at Running Back. Clemson welcomes new OC Garrett Riley and will pair him with returning QB Cade Klubnik.

The Tigers and Blue Devils meet Monday night in Durham for an 8 PM start. Clemson's defense of the ACC Title will start right out of the gate.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports