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Making the Grade: Clemson found its new star at linebacker

Clemson’s linebackers entered the 2020 season with a lot of questions.

The Tigers had to replace All-American and first-round draft pick Isaiah Simmons and weakside backer Chad Smith.

Baylon Spector was penciled in to start in the place of Smith, while Mike Jones took over for Simmons at strongside linebacker. The good news was Clemson returned James Skalski, the quarterback of Brent Venables defense, at middle.

Spector and Jones ended up having good years, as Spector lead the Tigers with 70 tackles, including 10.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. Jones, who missed two games due to a hamstring injury, finished the season with 29 tackles, including four tackles for loss.