Clemson Spring Practice Preview: Defensive Line

Clemson’s defensive front is expected to be one of the best in the country.

Getting Xavier Thomas, KJ Henry and Tyler Davis back, when all three could have easily entered the NFL Draft was huge for the program.

There is also a ton of depth, and while DT Bryan Bresee isn’t likely to take part in much of the spring while he continues to rehab from a torn ACL, he is expected to be ready to go for the season.

Davis is also coming back from injury. In fact he’s had injury issues the past two seasons. When healthy he is a force to be reckoned with and the Tigers are so much better with him on the field.

Ruke Orhorhoro being a backup shows just how deep the Tigers are. The redshirt junior had a breakout season in 2021 earning fourth-team All-ACC honors by Phil Steele and should only get better.

Another example of the quality depth inside is redshirt sophomore Tre Williams. He played through injuries to both shoulders, before a final foot injury ended his season.

That’s not even mentioning Etinosa Rueben, Demonte Capehart or Payton Page. Rueben proved his value last season, while Capehart was sidelined with an injury, and Page is headed into his second season and could take a big jump in his development.

The pass rush should be as good as any, with Thomas, Henry and Myles Murphy manning the outside spots. Justin Mascoll also returns to provide some quality depth and we could also see Zaire Patterson and Cade Denhoff get some opportunities in their second seasons with the program.

The run defense should also be stout. Probably as good as any in the county as the front four should continue to be the strength of this team.

Even with Brent Venables now having moved on to Oklahoma, Wes Goodwin is planning to keep the same aggressive mentality that we have seen over most of the past decade. And if Goodwin is as good as everyone says, that is a scary thought.

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