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Clemson Football

Lemanski Hall plans 'to bring some dudes in' and reload at defensive end

April 5, 2022
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Clemson defensive ends coach Lemanski Hall was rewarded when veteran ends Xavier Thomas, K.J. Henry, and Justin Mascoll each decided to use the additional year of football eligibility, extended to athletes due to the pandemic. 

On Monday, Hall discussed those three players, junior starter Myles Murphy, his younger players, and recruiting for 2023. 

On what he's seen from Myles Murphy, the team leader in sacks (7) and tackles for loss (14) in 2021:

"Myles is in better shape. He's gotten more powerful, explosive. His point of attack has been tremendous. His pass rush has gotten a lot better. He's become more of a leader, and I'm excited about that. And so Myles, he's what I thought he would be when we recruited him. And so I expect Myles Murphy to have double-digit sacks this spring and for this fall."

K.J. Henry (4.5 sacks, 6.5 TFLs) :

"K.J. Henry, in my opinion, has probably had the best camp of all the guys -- really explosive. At first, I thought the knee was going to be an issue, but he spent a lot of time fundamentally working on just his balance and flexibility, stability, and all those things. And so his point of attack has been strong -- his pass rush. We've moved him around in different spots to kind of show his versatility. He's done a good job with that."

Xavier Thomas (3.5 sacks, 5.5 TFLs) :

"Xavier Thomas, the same thing, explosive. Not a lot of mistakes. He's a guy that, man, he just buys into the program and just gets out of the way and do what he do. He can be one of the greats to come through here."

Justin Mascoll (three starts and 19 tackles) :

"Justin Mascoll is another guy that has had a great camp. He's always been a guy that's physical. He's learned how to play and not make a whole lot of mistakes. Alright, he's doing everything that we've asked. And he's gotten better in the weight room, got stronger in the weight room, which is what we were looking for."

On getting the younger players like Greg Williams, Kevin Swint, Cade Denhoff, and Zaire Patterson more reps:

"That's what Coach Swinney wanted. 'He said, Ski, I want you to dial back the snaps for the older guys and let's get more reps.' So, I needed to see Greg. I needed to see Kevin because they didn't play a lot last year. I needed to see Zaire and Cade. They were on the scout team last year and didn't get a lot of reps in the season.

"I was definitely able to see from a developmental standpoint of where they are and where they needed to be and then my expectations."

"I'm losing four guys next year. X, KJ, Mascoll, and Myles. So, in order for that to work, I got to get these young guys some reps. And that's my mentality going in. But at the end of the day, like Coach [Swinney] said, man, you got to earn the right to play. I'm not gonna put a guy in there that can't get it done because then I'm jeopardizing the team."

On the importance of recruiting especially for 2023 with Thomas, Henry, and Mascoll out of eligibility and Murphy likely off to the NFL after three years:

"It's critical. I'm losing dudes. I got to bring some dudes in. So, I've identified some guys that fit our culture, fit my personality, fit the description of what I'm looking for at that position. And right now, if you're a recruit out there and you want to play at a big-time place, you want to have the opportunity to play right now -- this is the perfect spot. Obviously, I'm never gonna tell a kid you're going to start, but you come here, we're losing four guys." 

On what the group needs to work on:

"We got to do a good job of getting off the ball. We got to do a good job at the point of attack, getting off the blocks. We got to do a good job of rushing the quarterback, across the board. We got to learn how to play fast and my word for my group is consistency.

"At the end of the day, it's about production as well. And I got some guys that can produce high numbers, tackles, sacks, TFLs all those things. I want my guys to play fast and then play free -- don't worry about making a mistake. And hopefully, we can get that done."

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Lemanski Hall plans 'to bring some dudes in' and reload at defensive end

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