There was an extra bounce in the Tigers' steps Tuesday afternoon as preseason camp came to an end.
The top-ranked team in the country will open the season next Thursday night in the Valley against Georgia Tech, which means preparation has shifted to game week mode. That also means the senior class is about to kick off the fourth quarter of their careers at Clemson, although Columbia's Denzel Johnson has been in the program for five years.
A late arrival to the 2015 recruiting class, the A.C. Flora graduate redshirted that fall and since then, he has made improvement each year.
As he heads into his final year with the Tigers, Johnson says he is approaching 2019 with the goal of making it his best year yet.
"It's crazy, obviously time flew by, been here about five years. It feels like yesterday i just stepped on campus," said Johnson.
"But as far as camp, I feel like I had a great team. The team developed just like we wanted to. So, it's a great feeling to know the outcome of camp."
Johnson was asked about his time at A.C. Flora and what tools did he bring with him to Clemson.
"Leadership would probably be it," Johnson said.
"Because my senior year, with Coach (Reggie) Shaw being a new coach and everything, I was able to help kind of bring the team together with him, along with other players who helped."
That senior year is when Johnson jumped on Clemson's radar. In a playoff game with Daniel, head coach Dabo Swinney and defensive coordinator Brent Venables were in the stands watching their sons play. But after seeing Johnson on the field, the two coaches began recruiting Denzel who went on to earn an MVP award at the North-South All-Star game. Johnson signed with the Tigers in May and now that chance encounter is about to lead him down the hill one final time in a season opener.