In the two full games Tyler Davis has played this season, Clemson’s defense has been on par with just about every other defense the Tigers have fielded in recent memory.
Clemson’s star defensive tackle has officially played in just three games this year. However, he played in just a couple of snaps against Wake Forest in the season opener after suffering a knee injury. So, he has really played in two full games.
After the Wake Forest game, Davis returned a few weeks later against Miami and then played in the Tigers’ win at Georgia Tech the following week.
But in the week leading up to the Syracuse game on Oct. 24, he injured his lower leg after being rolled up on in practice. The preseason All-ACC candidate has not played since, missing each of the Tigers’ last three games.
“He makes the team better, there is no doubt about it,” defensive end K.J. Henry said. “I say the biggest thing I miss about him, other than the maturity and leadership he brings to this team and to our segment, is just his ability to make people better. I think that is something that is so unspoken and underrated in today’s game.
“It is not an Xs and Os. It is not something you can really chart or graph or write down. It is just something you sense.”
What the Tigers sense is that they need Tyler Davis in the middle of their defense. They definitely could have used him last week when No. 2 Notre Dame rushed for 209 yards against Clemson’s proud rushing defense.
Against Miami and Georgia Tech, the Tigers allowed just 210 and 204 total yards in the two wins. Miami rushed for just 89 yards, while Tech had 123.
Clemson is hopeful when they travel to Tallahassee, Fla., to play Florida State next Saturday, Davis will be on the team bus with them.
“As a player who has been here long enough to know what that looks like from guys that were above me, he definitely has it and he has had it since day one and it has been awesome to be a part of. So, I think, that is what I miss the most,” Henry said. “We have been texting him and making sure he is okay and things like that. I know he will be back soon, but he makes us better for sure.”
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