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We're breaking down the status of each position on the Clemson football team every week until kickoff.

By Matson Montilla

Position Coach: Lemanski Hall

Clemson's defensive end coach Lemanski Hall has been a part of the Clemson coaching tree for a while. He joined the staff in 2015 as a defensive analyst and quickly rose up the coaching tree.

In 2018, he became Clemson's defensive ends coach and has coached the position ever since. During his first season as the defensive ends coach, Hall helped transform Clelin Ferrell and Austin Bryant into game wreckers, helping the Tigers to their third National Championship.

Since joining the staff, Hall has helped each defensive end he has coached excel. He hopes to have this year's group of defensive ends at Clemson add to that long list of successful players he has coached.

Interestingly, he was Coach Swinney's college teammate at Alabama, only helping prove Clemson's culture and family atmosphere runs deep.

Starters: Myles Murphy and Xavier Thomas

Myles Murphy and Xavier Thomas are the projected starters at the defensive end position. Murphy is the surefire number one defensive end on the team after his first two seasons at Clemson were extraordinary. He has totaled 12 sacks, 76 total tackles (25 tackles for loss) and five forced fumbles in two years.

Murphy has been everything that was expected and more for the Tigers. His junior year should be nothing short of incredible.

Like Murphy, Thomas came to Clemson as a top ten, five-star recruit in the nation and the best defensive end in their class, according to 247 Sports. Although Thomas hasn't had his big breakout season yet, he can still put it all together this season.

During Thomas' first two years at Clemson, he had 60 total tackles (16.5 tackles for loss), five sacks and one forced fumble. Thomas was on pace to be one of Clemson's next big defensive ends. Entering the 2020 season, high expectations were set for him, but, unfortunately, he only played four games before redshirting due to complications with COVID-19 and strep throat.

In 2021, Thomas did well and earned All-ACC third-team honors but didn't put together the highly anticipated numbers many thought he would get. That doesn't mean he can't get them this season.

Murphy and Thomas can be the nation's top pass-rushing duo with the proper offseason and game plan.

Rising Star: Kevin Swint

Unlike Murphy and Thomas, Kevin Swint wasn't a big-name five-star recruit when he arrived at Clemson. In fact, Swint wasn't even a defensive end when he chose Clemson. He was a linebacker.

During the spring of 2021, Swint was asked to move from linebacker to defensive end and bulk up. He did just that. He decided that if the switch was best for the team, he would do it.

Although his stats aren't eye-catching (11 total tackles (three tackles for loss) and .5 sacks in two seasons), that isn't a cause for concern. It is hard to get playing time with a team in your first two seasons, especially when you played two different positions.

With Swint's excellent mindset, relentless work ethic and ability to read the game, he can blossom into a big contributor for the Tigers this season and in the future.

Best of the rest: K.J. Henry

Henry was the other menacing defensive end that came to Clemson in Thomas' recruiting class. Like Thomas, Henry hasn't hit gold yet, but things are looking up after putting together a strong second half of the 2021 season.

Through four seasons at Clemson, Henry had 73 total tackles (19 tackles for loss), 9.5 sacks and one forced fumble.

During the second half of 2021, something clicked for Henry, and it looked like he was in a grove. In the last six games of the season, Henry had 15 tackles and four sacks.

This spring, his work ethic enhanced, and he is proving that the second half of the 2021 season was just a glimpse of what is to come. During the spring game, Henry had 3.5 sacks and six tackles in the first half.

Don't be surprised to see Henry get as much playing time as Murphy and Thomas as they hope to have Clemson fans seeing double between this year's defensive line and Clemson's defensive line in 2018.

What are the expectations for 2022?

Like Clemson's defensive tackle group, Clemson's defensive ends group's expectation is to be the best group in the nation. With a potent mix of talent, chemistry, and experience, Clemson's defensive ends should cause chaos for every quarterback and running back they face. Don't be surprised to see these players put up incredible numbers.