Off the field, Clemson freshman Tyler Davis – or “Baby Dex,” as he is affectionately referred to by teammates and coaches — has a quiet, fun-loving personality.
On the field, Davis is still quiet. But at the same time, the 6-foot-2, 295-pound defensive tackle does a lot of damage as a disruptive force on the Tigers’ interior defensive line.
A highly regarded player from Wekiva High School in Apopka, Florida, Davis has been impressive ever since he arrived on campus in January, turning heads with his performance in spring practice and fall camp en route to earning a starting role for top-ranked Clemson.
Through three games, Davis ranks first among Tiger defensive linemen with 10 total tackles, a tally that includes 1.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks.
“He’s been awesome. He’s been wreaking havoc up there,” Clemson senior safety Tanner Muse said of Davis. “He’s a very quiet guy in film study and on the field. But he’s got a huge personality, as many have seen on social media and things like that. He’s super funny.”
Against Georgia Tech on Aug. 29, Davis became the first true freshman defensive tackle to start a season opener for Clemson since Jeff Mills in 1974 and shared defensive player of the week honors after posting five tackles including a half-sack.
Davis contributed two tackles vs. then-No. 12 Texas A&M a week later before logging three more tackles, including the first full sack of his career, at Syracuse last Saturday.
Given the nickname “Baby Dex” because of how he looks and acts sort of like former Clemson great Dexter Lawrence, Davis is the only freshman starter on Brent Venables’ defense. However, Davis has quickly made a big impact for the Tigers and earned the respect of veterans like Muse.
“Him being in there just causing a wreck and opening up holes and things like that … he’s getting the publicity because he’s doing it so well,” Muse said. “A lot of guys are doing it really good and they’re opening things up, but he’s just opening things up and making plays.
“So, when you sit back and watch him, you’re like, ‘Whoa! This dude is very special.’”
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