Athletic defender who transitioned from safety in 2017 to the starting nickel/sam linebacker position in 2018 and was eventually named the Butkus Award winner as the nation’s top linebacker in 2019 in only his second year at the position … enters 2019 bowl season credited with 239 tackles (26.5 for loss), 9.5 sacks, 19 pass breakups, three interceptions (including one returned for a touchdown), five forced fumbles and a fumble recovery in 1,683 career snaps over 42 games (27 starts) … selected as a Preseason All-American for 2019 by Phil Steele (first-team) and Athlon (second-team).
“There’s been a lot of great things happen here at Clemson over 124 years, but we’ve 𝙣𝙚𝙫𝙚𝙧 𝙚𝙫𝙚𝙧, 𝙚𝙫𝙚𝙧, 𝙚𝙫𝙚𝙧, 𝙀𝙑𝙀𝙍 had a 𝘽𝙪𝙩𝙠𝙪𝙨 𝘼𝙬𝙖𝙧𝙙 winner until today… Isaiah Simmons.”#ALLIN pic.twitter.com/NypKoocvBS— Clemson Football (@ClemsonFB) December 9, 2019
“There’s been a lot of great things happen here at Clemson over 124 years, but we’ve 𝙣𝙚𝙫𝙚𝙧 𝙚𝙫𝙚𝙧, 𝙚𝙫𝙚𝙧, 𝙚𝙫𝙚𝙧, 𝙀𝙑𝙀𝙍 had a 𝘽𝙪𝙩𝙠𝙪𝙨 𝘼𝙬𝙖𝙧𝙙 winner until today… Isaiah Simmons.”#ALLIN pic.twitter.com/NypKoocvBS
— Clemson Football (@ClemsonFB) December 9, 2019
2019: Won the Butkus Award, becoming the first Clemson player in the award’s 35-year history to earn the honor presented annually to the nation’s top linebacker … became the sixth unanimous All-American in school history, joining Terry Kinard (1982), Gaines Adams (2006), C.J. Spiller (2009), Da’Quan Bowers (2010) and Christian Wilkins (2018) … Nagurski Trophy finalist … Bednarik Award finalist … Lott IMPACT Trophy finalist … Walter Camp Player of the Year semifinalist … ACC Defensive Player of the Year … first-team All-ACC selection … tied for team-lead with nine tackles vs. Georgia Tech, sharing team defensive player of the week honors … recorded five tackles and a pass breakup vs. No. 12 Texas A&M … led Clemson with 11 tackles and a career-high 3.5 tackles for loss including 2.0 sacks at Syracuse, earning ACC Linebacker of the Week, Lott IMPACT Trophy Player of the Week and Walter Camp Defensive Player of the Week, and sharing team defensive player of the week honors … added seven tackles vs. Charlotte … led Clemson with eight tackles, as credited by the Clemson coaching staff, including 2.5 for loss and a sack as well as two pass breakups in earning team defensive player of the week at North Carolina … credited by the coaching staff with a team-high six tackles (two for loss), a sack, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery vs. Florida State in earning team defensive player of the game honors … collected eight tackles, two sacks and a pass breakup at Louisville, sharing team defensive player of the game honors … posted six tackles (1.5 for loss) and a pass breakup vs. Boston College … recorded three tackles and his first interception of the season vs. Wofford … made four stops at NC State … registered five tackles (0.5 for loss) vs. Wake Forest … recorded 10 tackles (2.0 for loss) and a sack at South Carolina … credited with nine tackles and an interception (which he returned 22 yards to set up a Clemson scoring drive) vs. No. 22 Virginia in the ACC Championship Game, sharing team defensive player of the game honors … added four tackles and an interception vs. No. 2 Ohio State in Fiesta Bowl … posted 10 tackles (2.0 for loss), three pass breakups and a sack vs. No. 1 LSU … finished the year as only the third FBS player since 2005 to record at least 100 tackles, at least 16 tackles for loss, at least eight sacks and multiple interceptions in a season, becoming the first player to do so since Buffalo’s Khalil Mack in 2013.
2018: Credited with a team-high 97 tackles (9.5 for loss), seven pass breakups, three forced fumbles, 1.5 sacks and one interception (which he returned for a touchdown) in 790 snaps over 15 games (14 starts) … also posted a team-high 11 special teams tackles prior to bowl season … tied for the team lead with seven tackles in each of the team’s first two contests vs. Furman and at Texas A&M … collected five tackles, including one for loss against Georgia Southern … made a season-high nine tackles, including one for loss, vs. Syracuse … added two tackles at Wake Forest … led the Tigers with a career-high 12 tackles vs. No. 16 NC State … made two tackles, including one for loss, at Florida State … scored a 27-yard pick-six on his first career interception amidst a four-tackle performance and a team special teams player of the week selection vs. Louisville … notched five tackles, including one for loss, at No. 17 Boston College … added eight tackles vs. Duke … credited with 11 tackles vs. South Carolina … tied for team-lead with nine tackles against Pitt and recorded a sack-fumble recovered by Christian Wilkins that led to a Clemson one-play scoring drive … recorded five tackles including a half-sack as well as two pass breakups as Clemson held No. 3 Notre Dame to three points in the Cotton Bowl … contributed nine tackles including one for loss in National Championship Game vs. No. 1 Alabama.
2017: Had 49 tackles, three tackles for loss, a sack, five pass breakups and a caused fumble in 258 snaps over 14 games … averaged a tackle every 6.1 snaps, first on the team (minimum 100 snaps) … had five tackles in 21 snaps against Kent State on Sept. 2 … had a team-high nine tackles in 52 snaps at No. 14 Louisville on Sept. 16 … had three tackles, a tackle for loss and pass breakup in 14 snaps against Boston College on Sept. 23 … had five tackles, a sack and two pass breakups in 22 snaps at No. 12 Virginia Tech on Sept. 30 … had four tackles and a pass breakup in 21 snaps against Wake Forest on Oct. 7 … had two tackles and a caused fumble in 24 snaps at Syracuse on Oct. 13; named team special teams player-of-the-game … had seven tackles and a tackle for loss in 31 snaps against Georgia Tech on Oct. 28 … had three tackles in 11 snaps at No. 20 NC State on Nov. 4 … had three tackles in 19 snaps against The Citadel on Nov. 18 … had four tackles in 23 snaps against No. 7 Miami (Fla.) in the ACC Championship Game on Dec. 2.
2016: Redshirted … participated in the long jump with the Clemson track & field team in the spring.
Before Clemson: First-team all-state on both sides of the ball … first-team all-state as a defensive back, but he had some great stats on offense as well … had 92 tackles on defense and had 29 receptions for 994 yards and 13 touchdowns, an average of 34.3 yards per reception … 2015 was his first year as a wide receiver on offense … had a long touchdown catch of 82 yards … had 23 rushes for 148 yards and two scores … also had a 98-yard kickoff return for a score, his only return of the year, and a fumble return for a score … finished with 17 total touchdowns as a senior … helped his team to a 10-2 record in 2015 … coached by Chris McCartney … also outstanding in track, he was state champion in the long jump each in 2014 and 2015 with a career best of 23-8 … chose Clemson over offers from Michigan, Nebraska, Missouri and Louisville … recruited by Brent Venables.
Personal: Majoring in sports communication … born July 26, 1998.