Clemson will be without a key piece of its defensive front from this past season in 2017 as defensive tackle Scott Pagano is transferring, coach Dabo Swinney said Friday.
“I met with Scott Pagano yesterday,” Swinney said. “We had a good talk and he told me about his intentions to be a graduate transfer for his final year of eligibility. I told him to think about it overnight.
“We all wanted him to stay, but he said he had accomplished everything he wanted to do at Clemson. He came here to graduate and win a national championship and he achieved both within the last two months.”
Pagano told Swinney that he wants to start his graduate degree and play his final year of college football probably on the West Coast.
The Hawaii native started nine games in 2015 and four games this past season for the Tigers. He made 51 tackles with two tackles for loss in 2015 and 31 tackles with 4 1/2 tackles for loss in 2016, despite missing three games with an injury.
Pagano, who is listed at 6-foot-3, 295 pounds, was rated as a four-star recruit coming out of high school.
He was expected to compete to replace Carlos Watkins as a starting defensive tackle alongside Dexter Lawrence for the 2017 season.
The Tigers should still be solid up front next season with Lawrence, Christian Wilkins, Clelin Ferrell, Albert Huggins and others.