Clemson was without a big piece of its defense at the end of the 2017 season as linebacker Tre Lamar suffered a stinger in his shoulder on Nov. 11 against Florida State and ended up missing the rest of the year.
Lamar played in 10 of Clemson’s 14 games last season with eight starts, and despite the injury, he finished eighth on the team in tackles with 52.
Tigers coach Dabo Swinney said Lamar was cleared to play in the Sugar Bowl against Alabama, but Lamar did not appear in the game as he was not 100 percent.
Lamar recently said he did not feel back to his normal self until the start of spring practice in late February, and Swinney expects the rising junior to be a big part of Clemson’s defense in 2018.
“He looks good out there. He’s physical and explosive,” Swinney said. “That was a tough situation that he went through and came back and was ready to go, but still not quite 100 percent like he looks now. Back in the weight room, his strength’s back up and all those type of things. But he’s done well.”
Lamar hoped he would be able to play against Alabama but had setbacks along the way during his recovery that kept him off the field.
He described the situation as frustrating.
“Definitely not how you want your season to end. With the rehab, I feel better now and glad to be back out on the field,” Lamar said. “With those kind of injuries, there’s not as much of a timetable as, say, with a broken bone or something like that.”
Lamar particularly excelled as a run stopper and when blitzing last season, as he finished with five tackles for loss, including four sacks.
The Georgia native is hoping to be a better all-around linebacker in 2018.
“I want to work on my pass coverage first and foremost, just be more of a field general out there, knowing exactly where I’m supposed to be, as well as where everybody else is supposed to be,” he said.