Being born in Nigeria, Ruke Orhorhoro’s football career got off to a late start.
Even after moving to the United States, he didn’t immediately start playing due to his family’s fear and despite wanting to play, his passion quickly shifted to basketball.
It wasn’t until his junior year of high school that Orhorhoro’s football career began.
“I always wanted to play football, but never got the chance to because my parents were always scared,” Orhorhoro said after a recent Clemson practice. “They finally let me when I got older though.”
The late start meant he was raw coming out of high school. However, there was something the Clemson coaches liked in the 3-star prospect who would eventually become a member of the 2019 recruiting class.
On top of being raw, Orhorhoro has also struggled with injuries throughout his first two seasons at Clemson. Now heading into his third season, he is primed to take that next step.
“I feel like I’ve taken a big step,” Orhorhoro said. “I think I put more time into the film room and my knowledge of the game has grown. I haven’t been playing for that long compared to others. But I feel like I’ve taken a big step mentally and physically. Also got my body right, got my body lean coming off the injury and trying to fortify toward this season.”
While Tyler Davis and Bryan Bresee are entrenched as the starters at defensive tackle, it’s been well documented that the Tigers like to rotate the reserves in and out to keep everyone fresh. That equates to a lot of snaps for the backup as well.
With Orhorhhoro now more experienced, and healthy, the game has really started to slow down for him. Expect to see him on the field early and often for the Tigers in 2021.
“It’s actually very slow compared to last fall camp,” Orhorhoro said. “Last fall camp slowed down a little bit, but this year is very slow because now I can see the tendencies of what the offense is getting ready to do and what formation they’re in, whether it’s pass or run; I can identify that a lot quicker.”
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