Clemson Tigers news: Lannden Zanders retires from football


Clemson football’s Lannden Zanders at spring practice on March 2, 2022.

Special to The State

Veteran Clemson safety Lannden Zanders has made the “incredibly difficult decision” to retire from football after an injury-plagued career.

Zanders, a fourth-year player who was expected to compete for reserve snaps at safety in 2022, cited three shoulder injuries over the past year as his main reasoning for stepping away from “the game I love” in a Wednesday Twitter post.

“While I’ve worked hard with our trainers and doctors to return to the field, I just do not believe I am physically able to be the kind of player I have always prided myself on being,” Zanders wrote.

A 6-foot-1 safety and former three-star 2019 recruit from North Carolina’s Crest High School, Zanders played in 25 games with 10 starts over three seasons at Clemson.

The 21-year-old safety finished his career with 57 tackles, five tackles for loss, four pass breakups and three sacks across 511 defensive snaps.

After appearing in 14 games as a true freshman in 2019, Zanders played the entire 2020 season with a torn labrum in his shoulder and suffered another season-ending shoulder injury in Clemson’s 2021 season opener against Georgia.

“Though I am disappointed I will not play football again, I leave the game with no regrets,” Zanders wrote. “I am proud I got to play beside so many great teammates and for so many great coaches.”

Safeties coach Mickey Conn had previously deemed Zanders a full go for preseason camp, which begins Friday, after the safety sat out spring practice.

Zanders’ retirement leaves Clemson with six scholarship safeties: presumptive starters Andrew Mukuba and Jalyn Phillips, rotational player Tyler Venables and reserves R.J. Mickens, Sherrod Covil Jr. and Kylon Griffin.

Zanders will work to finish his degree at Clemson, he said.

“Coach (Dabo) Swinney always says committing to Clemson is a lifetime decision, and even away from the field, I will be a Clemson Tiger for life,” he wrote.

This story was originally published August 3, 2022 12:52 PM.

Chapel Fowler has covered Clemson football, among other topics, for The State since June 2022. He’s a Denver, N.C., native, a 2020 UNC-Chapel Hill alumnus and a pickup basketball enthusiast with previous stops at the Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer and Chatham (N.C.) News + Record. His work has been honored by the Associated Press Sports Editors, the North Carolina Press Association and the Associated College Press.

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