CLEMSON FOOTBALL

Ten Most Important Tigers: Defensive lineman Peter Woods
Peter Woods takes on a versatile role in Clemson's defense and looks to build on a freshman All-America campaign.

Ten Most Important Tigers: Defensive lineman Peter Woods


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We're assembling the ten players key to a Clemson football resurgence this season.

Our list isn’t simply the best ten players on the roster but those who either have big shoes to fill or the potential to launch Clemson into a spot to contend.

On to No. 2 in the countdown, defensive lineman Peter Woods:

2) Peter Woods - Sophomore (Defensive lineman)

Grayson Mann

If this list were strictly ranking the best players on Clemson’s roster, Woods would undoubtedly be within the top three as well. He’s slotted here for a different reason. The former Freshman All-American will have a lot of weight to carry on his shoulders for his sophomore campaign.

It's good that he rested 700 pounds on them for a new squat record this offseason.

Woods will be asked to do many things in his second year. Dabo Swinney mentioned in the spring that he wants to see him play opposite TJ Parker and rotate in passing situations when called for it.

“He’ll play everywhere because he’s one of our best pass rushers,” Swinney said. “I don’t see a world where he doesn’t bounce around for a little bit.”

Woods registered 27 tackles (2.5) for loss and a forced fumble in 307 snaps last year. With the defensive line depth in a constant shuffle, the Tigers need one of their top players to be a man of many talents in 2024.

David Hood

I was told a few weeks ago that Woods has emerged as a leader on the defense. He’s used to winning, and he wants to continue to win here. Leadership takes on many forms—you can lead by example, be the rah-rah guy, or act as an extension of the coaches.

Woods checks all of those boxes, and during summer workouts, he pushed his teammates to train harder, faster, and longer. It didn’t take long for people to notice. But here’s the thing - the leadership has to be authentic. You have to walk the walk, so to speak.

From all accounts, he walks the walks and then some. The coaches are expecting Woods to move out to defensive end and hold the position opposite of Parker. That’s a big ask for a big man, but Woods has the athleticism to pull it off.

Woods said that being a leader doesn’t always mean being the loudest guy in the room.

“I’m kind of a guy that just does stuff and kind of expects people to follow me just by example,” Woods said. “If I make sure that I’m doing the right thing, and kind of showing the other guys what to do, there’s not really much to be said, besides from a motivation aspect. Leadership just looks like doing your part for the defense and doing it passionately.”

But winning is the most important thing to Woods.

“Last season was underwhelming for everybody, but also you can look at it as, there’s a lot of things that you can fix and learn from,” Woods said. “Watching the tape and watching some of the things that we did during this time last year that we could have [done] better. As much as it sucked having an ‘underwhelming’ season or whatever you want to call it — guys, there’s so much that we’ve learned that we’re already starting to apply.”

Ten Most Important Tigers in 2024 Countdown

10) Center Ryan Linthicum

9) Linebacker Sammy Brown

8) Freshman WRs TJ Moore and Bryant Wesco

7) Cornerback Avieon Terrell

6) Wide receiver Antonio Williams

5) Defensive tackle DeMonte Capehart

4) Running back Phil Mafah

3) Linebacker Barrett Carter

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