Not only did Clemson beat Ohio State in last year’s College Football Playoff semifinal at the Fiesta Bowl, but the Tigers beat out the Buckeyes for the nation’s No. 1 overall recruit last year, too.
Bryan Bresee, a former unanimous five-star prospect, had Ohio State as one of the finalists in his recruitment and visited Columbus several times during the recruiting process, including for an unofficial visit in April 2017 when he was a freshman, a day camp in June 2017 when he was a rising sophomore, a game during the 2017 season and another game during the 2018 season.
But in April 2019, the top-ranked prospect in the 2020 recruiting class committed to the Tigers over the Buckeyes as well as schools such as Alabama, Georgia, Michigan and Penn State.
And now, one year after enrolling at Clemson this past January, Bresee finds himself getting ready to face Ohio State in the CFP semifinal at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans on Jan. 1.
“Ohio State’s a great school,” Bresee said last week. “I was recruited by them and liked the school a lot. They’re a great program. But yeah, I’m super excited to play against them, and it’s going to be a great matchup.”
A year ago, Bresee was rooting hard for the Tigers when they squared off with the Buckeyes in the Fiesta Bowl in Arizona on Dec. 28, having just signed with Clemson 10 days earlier, and he was happy with the outcome as the program he was set to join pulled out a 29-23 victory.
“I was at home with my friends just watching the game,” the Damascus, Md., native recalled. “Definitely was a game that I was super excited to watch, and definitely was a game that you couldn’t take your eyes off the TV for.”
It’s safe to say Bresee’s college choice has worked out well for him so far.
Bresee has played in all 11 of Clemson’s games this season as a true freshman, starting nine of them while helping the Tigers (10-1) to their sixth straight ACC Championship and the No. 2 seed in the CFP.
Last week, he was named the conference’s Defensive Rookie of the Year after recording 27 tackles (4.0 for loss), three sacks, two pass breakups, 11 quarterback pressures, a safety, a forced fumble and a blocked field goal.
“Super exciting,” Bresee said of earning the freshman honor. “It’s definitely a big accolade to receive, so I was super excited to hear that.”
While that was a big deal for Bresee, he knows there is still plenty of work to be done this season as he prepares to help Clemson’s defense try to slow down an Ohio State offense that ranks sixth nationally in total offense (529.2 yards per game) and seventh in scoring offense (42.5 points per game).
“Ohio State’s a good team,” Bresee said. “It’s going to be a tough challenge just like any game that we’ve had. As long as we prepare the right way and do everything that we need to, we should be all right.”
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