Clemson offensive lineman Matt Bockhorst takes on a different persona when he is between the lines.
Off the field around his teammates, Bockhorst likes to crack jokes and has a goofy sense of humor. On the field, though, he has a mean streak and the type of tenacious and relentless attitude that often spells trouble for opposing defensive linemen.
“I always like to have fun. I like to laugh and smile and try to be some comic relief at times,” Bockhorst said this week. “But when you get on the field and put the pads on, it’s a little different. I’ve always taken pride in how I play … Something that Coach Swinney has challenged us this year especially is ‘inspire people by the way you play.’ I really take that to heart and really try to finish every play and give it all for my teammates. So, once I step off the field, then I can go back to kind of being the laughter guy and the funny guy. But on the field, it’s definitely go time.”
Bockhorst, a redshirt sophomore from Cincinnati, Ohio, has earned the respect of his teammates and coaches alike.
Co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott was very complimentary of him this week, saying he has really enjoyed getting to know Bockhorst and his dynamic personality.
“He’s what you want your son to be like,” Elliott said. “Off the field, he can walk into Paw Journey and he can sit down with a group of executives, and man he can command the room. Then he can go in the locker room and he can make everybody in the locker room laugh. And then he goes out on the field and he’s nasty. He’s nasty. He likes it. He’s one of those guys you’ve got to say ‘whoa.’ You don’t have to tell him, ‘sic ‘em!’ You’ve got to say whoa a little bit, alright, let’s make sure that’s between the whistles.
“So, he’s just an awesome young man. Very well rounded. He understands where he’s going in life, he knows what he wants. But at the same time, he’s enjoying the moment.”
A four-star prospect and 2016 Under Armour All-American coming out of Cincinnati’s St. Xavier High School, Bockhorst entered 2019 following a redshirt freshman season during which he played 178 snaps in 13 games. He has already surpassed that snap total this season, logging 260 snaps across the first eight games.
Bockhorst, who earned ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week honors after the Florida State game, said he tries not to have a short memory – and that’s what fuels his effort, determination and competitive drive.
“For me, it’s don’t have a short memory. By that I mean, you can’t forget all the work that you’ve put in to get to that point,” he said. “A lot of people like to think the season starts on August 1, when fall camp starts, but in reality, the season starts in January. There is a lot of sacrifice, a ton of sacrifice that we give up throughout the year that most people will never even know the extent of which. So, that’s the biggest thing for me is you’ve sacrificed so much for 12 to 15 games a year, and you can’t let that go to waste.
“Also, it’s just the competitive factor. I love to compete. There’s definitely guys out there that are more talented than me, but I’ll never be outworked. It’s just really hard on a defensive player when you can finish every play to the whistle and not let up and not relent, and that wears on them throughout the game. So, that’s just something that I’ve really tried to continue to implement in my game throughout college.”
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