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Clemson Football’s Top 5 Players from the 2023 College Football season

Dabo Swinney and the Clemson football program had a solid 2023 that ended with a wild 38-35 Gator Bowl win over Kentucky.

The Tigers finished 9-4 with a 4-4 record in the ACC, which fell short of expectations for many. It’s not a bad season, just one that fans had hoped for more than what they got. Even though it wasn’t perfect, there were a lot of strong performances from the Tigers on offense and defense this season.

So, who was the best of the 2023 season for the Tigers? Opinions will vary, but we’ve got our picks. Here are our top 5 players for Clemson football’s 2023 season.

Barrett Carter

Bob Self/Florida Times-Union / USA TODAY NETWORK
Bob Self/Florida Times-Union / USA TODAY NETWORK

Position: Linebacker

Stats: 67 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, six pass breakups, an interception and a fumble recovery.

It was a slow start to the season for Carter, but he picked up it up as the year went on. He had some highs and some lows, but his impact was huge overall. In 2024, Carter will likely be the main piece of the Tigers’ defense.

Tyer Davis

Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports
Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports

Position: Defensive Tackle

Stats: 45 tackles (3.5 for loss) and a half-sack in 467 snaps.

Have you ever heard someone say stats don’t tell the story? This is one of those cases. Tyler Davis was an animal on this defensive line as one of the best-run defenders in college football. Davis is as good as they come against the run and a veteran leader on this defense.

Phil Mafah

Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Unio / USA TODAY NETWORK
Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Unio / USA TODAY NETWORK

Position: Running Back

Stats: 179 attempts, 965 yards, 13 touchdowns, 21 receptions, 108 yards

One half of Clemson’s dynamic running back duo, Mafah was the focal point of Clemson’s offense over the second half of the season.Over the season’s final six games, Mafah ran for 610 yards and nine touchdowns. When given the reigns, Mafah became a force for this offense. His true breakout came in Clemson’s 31-23 upset win over Notre Dame, where he took 36 carries for 186 yards and two touchdowns. Mafah will be the Tigers workhorse in 2023.

Nate Wiggins

Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports
Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports

Position: Cornerback

Stats: 25 tackles (one for loss),  nine pass breakups, two forced fumbles, one sack and two interceptions

When healthy, Wiggins was arguably the best cornerback in the country this season. No matter who he lined up against, Wiggins locked them down and made it clear that he was a future first-round pick in the 2024 NFL draft. The most I saw Wiggins get beat this season was on the first drive of a game, and those were few and far between. This guy is a special player.

Jeremiah Trotter Jr.

Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports
Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports

Position: Linebacker

Stats: 88 tackles, 15.0 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, six pass breakups, two forced fumbles and two interceptions

There really was no other choice here. Trotter was one of the best defensive players in college football in 2023 and was the clear top dog on this Clemson football team. He simply did it all and excelled in doing it. Whether it was rushing the quarterback, stuffing the run, or dropping back into coverage, Trotter was lights out.

Story originally appeared on Clemson Wire