Clemson OL goes in-depth about redshirt freshman year
Matt Bockhorst has been All In since he committed to Clemson on Jan. 30, 2016. The four-star offensive lineman never doubted his decision to be a Tiger, and his first year at Clemson in 2017 only reinforced his affection for the school.
“I love it. I have no regrets,” Bockhorst told The Clemson Insider recently. “I never wavered in the recruiting process, and I’m reassured now. It’s a great fit.”
“Eight a.m. classes during the season aren’t the greatest, but I can deal with it,” he added jokingly.
Entering fall camp last year, Bockhorst was hopeful that he could earn a contributing role on Clemson’s offensive line as a true freshman. So naturally, he was disappointed when the Tigers decided to redshirt him.
However, in hindsight, Bockhorst believes the redshirt year was greatly beneficial.
“I think that initially, when you’re told you’re being redshirted, it’s frustrating as a competitor,” Bockhorst said. “I’m super competitive in everything. But I think you take a little step back and you realize that developmentally, I needed it.”
The adjustment period proved to be valuable for Bockhorst, who needed more time to build up strength in his knee. Bockhorst missed his senior season at St. Xavier High in Ohio after suffering an ACL tear that summer, so the redshirt year helped him settle back in.
Playing across from the likes of Christian Wilkins and Dexter Lawrence on the scout team helped Bockhorst get used to college ball, too.
“I needed, even after camp, that time to really get comfortable again,” Bockhorst said. “And playing against Christian and Dexter every day – mostly Christian – it’s forced me to become a better player. We go at it, and I’ve gotten in a couple scuffles with a lot of the guys on defense.
“But it pushes me, and I try to put them. So, I feel like I’ve become such a better player and learned how to use techniques and learned how to use different things to combat their moves.”
Bockhorst took advantage of his time in the weight room, as well, improving his body through Clemson’s “Power Hour” strength and conditioning program.
The Cincinnati native came into Clemson at 312 pounds. He is now at 306 pounds after losing some excess weight and replacing it with muscle.
“I’ve gotten stronger, so I’ve kind of lost the bad weight and put on the good,” Bockhorst said. “I’m trying to maybe put on a little bit going into the spring, but not going to force it and get bad weight back on.”
Bockhorst tweaked his knee around Thanksgiving and subsequently underwent an arthroscopic procedure before the ACC Championship Game. But he is all systems go from a health standpoint heading into next season.
“It just cleaned out some meniscus tears and some scar tissue from the previous surgery,” Bockhorst said. “So, my knee feels great, and everything is good with that.”
Bockhorst said he worked mostly at right guard during the year and also got reps at left guard.
With three guards departing Clemson, including both starters, Bockhorst sees an opportunity to make an impact next season.
“It’s going to be a good competition, open competition, and I’m just excited to get the opportunity to really contribute,” he said.
Most of all, the former top-200 national prospect is anxious to simply play in a game after sitting out the past two seasons.
“I’m just excited to finally play in a game,” Bockhorst said. “I haven’t played in football game since my junior year of high school, so I’m just really excited for that kind of level of intensity again.”