Byron Maxwell a good fit with NFL champion ‘Legion of Boom'

Swinney: 'By the time he was a senior he was an outstanding cover corner. He is a unique player.”

Denver Broncos' Demaryius Thomas, left, fumbles the ball as he his hit by Seattle Seahawks' Byron Maxwell during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl XLVIII football game Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014, in East Rutherford, N.J. Maxwell finished the game with four solo tackles and a caused fumble. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Denver Broncos' Demaryius Thomas, left, fumbles the ball as he his hit by Seattle Seahawks' Byron Maxwell during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl XLVIII football game Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014, in East Rutherford, N.J. Maxwell finished the game with four solo tackles and a caused fumble. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Long before he was a member of Seattle’s “Legion of Boom,” Byron Maxwell was a hard-hitting defensive back for the Clemson Tigers, bringing the boom to receivers all across the ACC and beyond.

Although his expertise came on special teams and he mostly came off the bench until his senior season of 2010 (he had just eight collegiate starts at cornerback), he made an unmistakable impact when he was on the field.

Thanks to the impact he made with the Seahawks in 2013, he’ll soon be fitted for a ring reserved for Super Bowl champions.

Maxwell had four unassisted tackles and forced a momentum-killing fumble in Seattle’s 43-8 thrashing of Denver on Sunday in Super Bowl XLVIII.

“He has the length and the speed to be physical with these big wide receivers in the NFL and we saw that (Sunday),” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. “I am so proud of him. I think he will be an outstanding pro for many years to come.”

Along with fellow corner Richard Sherman and safeties Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas, the “Legion of Boom” secondary was a cornerstone of the league’s best defense, one that completely throttled the NFL’s most potent offense on Sunday.

“The game plan was to focus on us,” Maxwell said during Sunday’s postgame news conference. “We focused on us. It really was about us at the end of the day.”

From a safety 12 seconds into the game to the last tick of the fourth quarter clock, the Seahawks were in charge.

Maxwell said the performance was a reflection of what head coach Pete Carroll preaches — go out, size up the job, and get the job done.

“I think he does a great job of just making every day seem like it’s a championship game,” Maxwell said. “This really hasn’t even hit me because … I don’t want to say it feels like a regular game, but it feels like a regular game in a sense. He does a great job of that.”

Maxwell’s biggest contribution came when Demaryius Thomas caught a pass at the Seattle 21 in the third quarter with the Broncos trailing 29-0. Maxwell reached in and stripped the ball, forcing a fumble that was recovered by MVP Malcolm Smith — a turnover that effectively ended any and all hope for Denver.

“(I was) trying to do too much,” Thomas said. “I was trying to make a play, and (Maxwell) did a great job of hitting the ball and getting it out. I was trying to make a move, he punched it out.”

Maxwell liked his team’s chances at that point, but also knew what the opposing quarterback was capable of doing.

“I felt like we were playing well, but it’s Peyton Manning,” Maxwell said “He’s legendary. We knew we had to stay on our P’s and Q’s and our technique the whole time or he could capitalize.”

The 6-1, 207-pounder finished his third season in the NFL with 28 tackles in 19 games and five starts. When he took the field on the game’s opening possession on Sunday it marked the first time a former Clemson player had started a Super Bowl in 14 years.

He had four picks for the year and has now accounted for 33 solo tackles (43 in all), four interceptions, two forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries since being taken with the eighth pick of the 2011 NFL Draft’s sixth round.

While playing for Swinney, Maxwell had 165 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, a sack, four interceptions, 20 pass breakups, and six forced fumbles.

Forty-five of his Tiger takedowns came on special teams.

“Just like he did here, he is getting better and better each year,” Swinney said. “When he came to Clemson he was coming off a torn ACL (in 2006) and had to sit out the year. But he improved each year and by the time he was a senior he was an outstanding cover corner. He is a unique player.”

For now, though, the present trumps the past for Maxwell. He and the rest of the Seahawks are still celebrating the first world title in franchise history — and one of the most lopsided Super Bowls ever played.

“We certainly thought we were capable of this,” Maxwell said. “It’s just one of those things. It just happened. Everything clicked. Everything happened at the right time.

“We did it.”

© 2014 OrangeAndWhite.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Topics

Comments » 0

Be the first to post a comment!

Share your thoughts

Comments are the sole responsibility of the person posting them. You agree not to post comments that are off topic, defamatory, obscene, abusive, threatening or an invasion of privacy. Violators may be banned. Click here for our full user agreement.

Comments can be shared on Facebook and Yahoo!. Add both options by connecting your profiles.

Features