When Tyler Davis missed games in 2020 due to injury, it was obvious.
The defensive tackle left a huge void in the middle of the Clemson defense, but when Davis sat out Week 1 of 2021, his absence was barely noticeable. The Tigers kept Georgia out of the end zone that night with the help of fill-in Ruke Orhorhoro, who had three tackles.
The sophomore from Lagos, Nigeria, followed up that solid opener with the best performance of his career last week against S.C. State. Orhorhoro produced a team-high six tackles and recorded two for a loss, earning him team co-defensive player of the game honors from head coach Dabo Swinney.
"I feel like practice is where you boost your confidence and gain the trust of your teammates," Orhorhoro said. "I gained a lot of confidence these last two games."
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Orhorhoro heads into Saturday's 3:30 p.m. game against Georgia Tech looking to add to his numbers. His comfortability in the defense and ability to make plays as earned him more opportunities on the field, even on a loaded defensive front.
“He’s got natural power and he’s just built himself up from a weight room and size standpoint to transition into a good, powerful, explosive inside player,” Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables said. “He’s an instinctive guy as opposed to a rep guy that is athletic but doesn't know what he’s doing.”
Even with Davis, one of the best defenders on the team, playing for the second consecutive week, Orhorhoro is a prime player to watch against a GT offense that's allowed seven sacks and nine tackles for a loss through two games this season.
“He’s just scratching the surface,” Venables said. “He’s got a tremendous ceiling.”
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