As a veteran player, redshirt junior defensive tackle Jordan Williams has loved seeing Clemson’s true freshmen defensive linemen put their talent on display over the first two weeks of the season.
Former five-star prospects Bryan Bresee and Myles Murphy have been impressive in each of the Tigers’ first two games against Wake Forest and The Citadel. Bresee posted three tackles and a half-sack against the Demon Deacons in addition to recording the Tigers’ first blocked field goal since the second week of 2018, while Murphy produced a team-high seven tackles, including three for loss and two sacks, in the 37-13 win.
Murphy and Bresee became the first Clemson first-year freshmen to record a sack in a season opener since Dexter Lawrence and Tre Lamar in 2016, and Murphy became the first true freshman to post 2.0 sacks in a game since Lawrence in the 2016 ACC Championship Game.
Murphy shined again in the Tigers’ 49-0 victory over The Citadel on Saturday when he tied for the team lead with 2.0 tackles for loss among his three tackles and also forced the fumble that led to James Skalski’s 17-yard scoop and score.
Meanwhile, freshman defensive tackle Demonte Capehart made his college debut against The Citadel, tying Murphy for the team lead with 2.0 tackles for loss and notching his first career sack among his three tackles. As for Bresee, he made his first career start in the contest and logged two tackles along with a pass breakup.
“The past two games, seeing Bryan and Myles perform has just been very exciting,” Williams said on Monday, “and then even seeing Demonte last game getting his first sack – it’s things like that, that you’re really proud to see, especially knowing these guys and putting in the work with them in the offseason, just hanging out with them, developing relationships. It’s something that was very exciting to see.”
The work ethic of the freshmen D-linemen is something Williams has taken notice of every day in practice, so it has been exciting for him to see that hard work already start to pay off in games.
“They’re just guys who are willing to work and willing to learn and do whatever it takes, honestly, and they definitely take well to leadership,” Williams said. “They understand where they’re at right now and where they want to be, and they definitely put the work in, for sure. It’s so exciting just to see it happen on a daily basis, honestly.”
Williams remembers when he was a young player learning from veteran defensive linemen like Christian Wilkins, Dexter Lawrence, Clelin Ferrell and Austin Bryant, so now he is doing his best to pay it forward with the current youngsters on the D-line.
“I just kind of try and stay on them, help them in ways I can — bring them to film, do extra workouts, extra things after practice — just to do my part,” Williams said. “I feel like being a leader on the team, being a guy who was done the same thing with me from like Christian, Dexter, Cle, Austin and guys like that – I’ve seen it happen to me; I want to try to return the favor for the younger guys now.”
— Photo courtesy Atlantic Coast Conference
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