TAMPA, FL (WIS) - The famous football cliche "Big time players make big time plays" will be put to the test for Clemson on Monday night.
While the Tigers have had no problems finding players who can impact games over the last two years, they'll have their hands full against an angry Alabama defense. But it's going to take more than Deshaun Watson and Ben Boulware if the Tigers hope to win their first national title since 1981. Here are three players we think will be worth watching Monday night.
This 6-5, 265-pound Tigers defensive end has come up big as of late.
The redshirt freshman has totaled five tackles for loss and two sacks in his last two games. His ability to get into the backfield and disrupt plays could come into play again against Alabama. The Tigers hope to put pressure on quarterback Jalen Hurts as often as they can and Ferrell's ability to beat his man at the line of scrimmage could have an impact on Monday's outcome.
It's homecoming for Deon Cain.
Standing 6-foot-1 and weighing in at 210 pounds, the Tampa native only has 33 catches this year. That includes the three receptions he collected in the last two games. But Cain can be explosive and his numbers show it. Cain averages nearly 20 yards per catch and is behind only Mike Williams in the receiving touchdowns category. It's possible that Cain could have a breakout game for the Tigers.
Last year, the secondary had their fair share of problems against Alabama in their last meeting.
This year, the Tigers' secondary could very well be the least of the team's concerns. Among those to watch in the defensive backfield is Cordrea Tankersley. At 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds, Tankersley showed up in a big way for the Tigers against Virginia Tech and Ohio State. In the last two games, Tankersley snagged three interceptions to help the Tigers reach this point. If the Tigers are able to disrupt the Alabama passing game, there's a very good chance Tankersley will be in the mix.