During Clemson’s media day on Monday ahead of the Jan. 13 national title game against LSU, freshman defensive tackle Tyler Davis took some time to reflect on what has been an incredible first season with the Tigers.
Davis has made an immediate impact on Brent Venables’ defense, earning a starting role at D-tackle in his first career game and starting in 12 of 14 games for the team that is trying to repeat as national champions.
“It went very good,” Davis said of his freshman campaign. “I never expected this, but I’ve enjoyed it a lot.”
Davis (6-2, 295) ranks seventh on the team with 48 total tackles, tied for third with eight tackles for loss and is second behind only 2019 Butkus Award winner Isaiah Simmons with 4.5 sacks.
The former four-star prospect from Wekiva High School in Apopka, Florida, did not think he would get as much playing time as he has in the first year of his Clemson career.
“No, I didn’t expect it,” he said. “I was just trying to play a role.”
Davis has been on the field for 483 snaps over 14 games, including a season-high 74 snaps in Clemson’s 29-23 win over Ohio State on Dec. 28 in the Fiesta Bowl.
Asked what he thinks helped him earn so many opportunities right away, Davis said, “I just put the work in, tried to just enjoy it and prepare myself to play.”
Davis said he feels he has “grown a lot” as a player since he enrolled at Clemson in January 2019.
“All that I’ve been through this season, I really enjoyed it,” he added. “I had a lot of fun. This is probably the most fun I’ve had during the season.”
Davis did not commit to the Tigers until signing day, Dec. 19, 2018, but is glad he made that decision and said Clemson has been everything he expected “and more.”
What was it about Clemson that made Davis want to be a Tiger during the recruiting process?
“Just the environment, you know the people there,” he said. “That’s why I wanted to come. Great people.”
As good as things have gone for Davis in year one, he is not finished yet and hopes to put an exclamation point on his freshman season by helping the Tigers claim their second straight national championship with a victory over the SEC’s Tigers next Monday in New Orleans.
“It would be phenomenal,” he said. “Working so hard to this point and then you play for it and you win, it’s great.”
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