Final Grades: Defensive tackle depth passes test for Clemson
Bryan Bresee looks to come back strong in 2022 from injury.

Final Grades: Defensive tackle depth passes test for Clemson

by - Contributor -

We’ve evaluated the play of each position group during Clemson’s 2021 season (the links to prior position groups are at the bottom of this article). To conclude our Final Grades series for the 2021 season, we take a look at the performance of Clemson’s defensive tackles, where the theme is resilience.

2021 final Clemson defensive tackle statistics

(players in order of snap count)

Ruke Orhorhoro (Rs. So 6-4 295):

Snaps: 504

Pro Football Focus grade (0-100): 67.7

36 tackles

2.5 sacks

8.0 TFLs

After totaling just four tackles in his two previous seasons at Clemson, Ruke Orhorhoro unexpectedly led Clemson’s defensive tackles in snaps, tackles, sacks (tied), and tackles for loss. While the position group was saddled with injuries, Orhorhoro managed to play in all 13 games and play a critical role for the defense. His snap count may actually go down next year as Tyler Davis and Bryan Bresee return for what Clemson hopes will be fully healthy seasons, but with the depth the Tigers developed, they’ll be rotating reserves in frequently and Orhorhoro will be a big part of that. If he continues to improve, he should have an opportunity to start in 2023 and perhaps become a star player.

Tyler Davis (Jr. 6-2 300)

Snaps: 320

PFF grade: 70.8 (No. 11 in ACC)

23 tackles

2.5 sacks

1.5 TFLs

Tyler Davis had another year tainted by injuries and was limited to eight games. Against Georgia Tech, he tore his bicep tendon and still somehow finished the game before missing the three subsequent contests.

He returned for the Pittsburgh game with a big arm brace but played at a high-level nonetheless and finished the season with the 11th-best PFF grade in the conference among defensive tackles. While he had a strong season, he is capable of much more, so he will return for his senior season and try to put together a healthy year and earn an early pick in the NFL draft.

Tré Williams (Rs. Fr 6-2 300)

Snaps: 241

PFF grade: 61.2

10 tackles

1 sack

4.0 TFLs

Only a redshirt freshman, Williams showed a lot of physical and mental toughness by playing 241 snaps despite various nagging injuries. With Davis and Bresee both injured at the same time and some off-season transfers pushing him up the depth chart, Williams’ number was called and he gave Clemson serviceable performance. Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said he needs off-season foot and shoulder surgeries. Only a redshirt freshman in 2021, the future is bright for Williams.

Etinosa Reuben (Rs. So 6-3 285)

Snaps: 212

PFF grade: 74.2 (No. 3 in ACC)

14 tackles

2.5 sacks

3.5 TFLs

Reuben saw his snap counts and PFF grades on an upward trend towards the end of the year. Like Williams, he saw more playing time than most expected due to the injuries in front of him. His ability to help fill the void was a big reason Clemson survived the injuries and finished with 10 wins. With so much talent at the position, he won’t start in 2022, but he is good enough to start for most teams in the conference and he’ll likely get his chance soon enough at Clemson.

Bryan Bresee (So. 6-5 300)

Snaps: 152

PFF grade: 69.4

13 tackles

1.5 sacks

3.0 TFLs

A torn ACL limited Bresee to just four games. His return adds star power to a position group that would be fairly strong even without him. With Bresee, it may just be the best in the country.

TigerNet Take

Clemson fans expected to watch Tyler Davis and Bryan Bresee shred opposing offensive lines. Instead, the duo combined for just 12 games. Fortunately, Orhorhoro, Williams, and Reuben rose to the occasion and maintained Clemson’s advantage in the trenches. It was really a remarkable show of depth and fortitude. The whole group returns in 2022 which should make for an incredibly high-upside and deep stable of talent. Along with safety and defensive end, defensive tackle should be one of the biggest strengths for Clemson in 2022.

TigerNet Grade: A

Final grades series


Wide receivers





Running backs

Tight ends

Defensive ends

Upgrade Your Account

Unlock premium boards and exclusive features (e.g. ad-free) by upgrading your account today.

Upgrade Now
Daily Digest
Send Feedback to Ryan Kantor: Email | Comment
ACC announces game times for early season Clemson football games
ACC announces game times for early season Clemson football games
No. 1 overall prospect is Clemson's first reported 2025 offer
No. 1 overall prospect is Clemson's first reported 2025 offer
4-star Peach State defender has Clemson in top schools
4-star Peach State defender has Clemson in top schools
Clemson offers top-rated 5-star defender Elijah Griffin
Clemson offers top-rated 5-star defender Elijah Griffin