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Clemson Football

Clemson linebackers support each other and 'compete at everything'

March 8, 2023

Clemson returns two of the best linebackers in college football with the duo of Jeremiah Trotter Jr. and Barrett Carter. 

Trotter Jr, a second-team AP All-American, led the Tigers in tackles (92), tackles for loss (13.5), and tied with defensive end Myles Murphy for the lead in sacks (6.5) last season. He also had six pass breakups, a forced fumble, and two interceptions. 

Carter had 77 tackles (10.5 for loss), 5.5 sacks, eight pass breakups, two interceptions, and two forced fumbles in 2022.

The Duo met with the media after practice on Tuesday separately, however, Carter unexpectedly joined Trotter to answer a few questions during his session. 

The Clemson defense entered 2022 regarded as one of the best in the country and with the potential to be one of the best ever. Those expectations weren't met and the unit finished surprisingly 28th overall in total defense and sixth in the ACC. 

Barrett Carter

On if he felt the defense was good but not good enough in 2022:

“Definitely. Even if we have the number one defense in the country, I still think that we have so much room for improvement and that’s just the mindset we all have. We're always striving to get better, but definitely have some good things from last year and have a lot of things we can work on.

“We just have a long way to go to get to where we want to be and that’s to a national championship. So, we just got to watch the film and correct the mistakes.”

Trotter's mom, Tammi Trotter, lost her battle with breast cancer on Feb. 28. Jeremiah Trotter Sr. announced the news on his Instagram account, and Clemson and Philadelphia Eagles great Brian Dawkins, a former teammate of Trotter Sr., shared the post on Twitter. 

On the team supporting Trotter after the death of his mom:

“It shows the type of guy he is to go through that and still fight back and come be with his brothers and come to work with us every day. As a team, we just simply need to be here for him and I don’t think that is doing anything specific. I think it's just doing what we did every single day, knowing that we're here for him. We have his back every single day with everything but I don't think we should change anything per se since that happened -- just be his brothers that we were already. Of course, if he is going through it one day, we will be there to pick him up.”

Jeremiah Trotter Jr. 

Pro Football Focus released its "Top 10 returning linebackers in college football for the 2023 season" and Trotter was pegged No 1 overall and Carter at No. 5. 

On what he thinks about the rankings: 

“I'm not one of those guys that think about rankings a whole lot. I definitely think it's a blessing for me and Barrett to be ranked that high. But I like to keep that in the back of my mind and take it with a grain of salt, keep working, keep grinding. We both try to compete every day to make each other better and that's how you get better and keep that consistency and that high-level play not being full or satisfied with where you are ranked because the next day you could be ranked low because you're not doing what you're supposed to do.”

Trotter and Carter are members of the highly ranked - 5th overall by 247Sports - 2021 recruiting class. Trotter, from Hainesport, NJ, and Carter, a Suwanee, Ga native, are also roommates. 

On how the relationship between Carter and him has evolved since they arrived on campus:

“I think it definitely evolved a long way. We've gotten a lot closer through the years with us being in the same class, came in together, and both play the same position. I feel like we're definitely growing as brothers. One of my best friends, I can say that about him. I'm happy to be able to play alongside him. I'm faster than him. Just in case, you guys didn’t know that. He doesn't want to admit it.”

Barrett Carter

On if they feel they're the best linebacker duo in college football:

“I think that's our mindset every day. We don't really pay attention to what everyone wants to say. So I guess we'll leave that to the people to decide but as far as like our confidence, our mindset, that's just how we step out on the field every day.”

Barrett Carter

On if their relationship off the field assists them on the field:

“I think the brotherhood that we have off the field. This is my roommate. Right? Regardless if we walk off the field mad with each other we're going to the same place so we have to make up eventually. Just having that bond off the field. It really allows us to communicate better on the field and just lead everyone and helps us perform better.”

The roommates engaged in friendly banter over their head-to-head battles in Madden NFL, which both agree are won by Trotter, after Carter shut down Trotter's claims of being able to defeat him in a foot race. 

On what else is competitive between them (Both answered): 

Jeremiah Trotter Jr.

“Everything. Individual drills – we're competing.”

Barrett Carter

“It could be a reaction drill where Wes [Goodwin] has to blow the whistle and we change directions. We compete at everything.”

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