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Clemson Football

Orhorhoro Selected by Falcons on Day 2 of 2024 NFL Draft

April 27, 2024
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CLEMSON, S.C. — The Atlanta Falcons selected defensive tackle Ruke Orhorhoro in the second round (No. 35 overall) on Day 2 of the 2024 NFL Draft in Detroit on Friday. Orhorhoro’s selection combined with the Baltimore Ravens’ selection of Nate Wiggins in the first round on Thursday gave Clemson selections in both the first and second round of a draft for the 10th time in school history (1960, 1987, 1992, 1997, 1999, 2016, 2019, 2020 and 2021).

Orhorhoro appeared in 53 career games at Clemson from 2019-23 with 30 starts. The coaching staff credited him with 97 tackles (25.5 for loss), 12.0 sacks, nine pass breakups and two fumble recoveries in 1,526 career snaps. He posted 8.0 tackles for loss and a career-high 5.0 sacks in his redshirt senior season in 2023 to collect third-team All-ACC honors.

“The thing that everybody likes about Ruke is that he’s not quite a blank canvas but he still very much has his best football in front of him,” Head Coach Dabo Swinney said. “He’s a guy that didn’t start playing football until his junior year of high school. Watching him develop at Clemson every single year, to me, Ruke is a great example to a lot of kids in today’s world that if you’ll just stay and put the work in, if you’ve got the talent then you will develop.”

Though initially a native of Lagos, Nigeria, Orhorhoro hails from River Rouge, Mich., which shares its western and northern borders with Detroit. With this year’s NFL Draft being conducted in Detroit, he became the first Clemson player since the NFL moved away from its long-time location in New York City to be selected in a draft being held in his home metro area.

The 2024 NFL Draft will resume at noon ET on Saturday with Rounds 4-7. Notes and comments from Clemson coaches following each selection will be available on ClemsonTigers.com Draft Central.

Full statements from Head Coach Dabo Swinney and Associate Head Coach/Defensive Run Game Coordinator/Defensive Tackles Coach Nick Eason are included below.

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COMMENTS ON RUKE ORHORHORO

Head Coach Dabo Swinney: “This is going to be fun. Ruke is a guy that I think everybody is in love with his measurables — he’s big, he’s athletic, he’s got great length, he can really run. He’s got position diversity and can play multiple spots on the defensive line. He’s a high-character guy. He’s a graduate. The thing that everybody likes about Ruke is that he’s not quite a blank canvas but he still very much has his best football in front of him. He’s a guy that didn’t start playing football until his junior year of high school. Watching him develop at Clemson every single year, to me, Ruke is a great example to a lot of kids in today’s world that if you’ll just stay and put the work in, if you’ve got the talent then you will develop. He’s a guy that redshirted, didn’t play much as a redshirt freshman, was a rotational guy as a sophomore, and then his redshirt junior and senior years, he became a starter and now he’s a high draft pick. He’s just kept his head down, stayed the course, continued to work, and he has really, really developed into a great football player. But, again, his best football is still in front of him and that’s what everyone is excited about. He’s a guy I think will make an impact early on as a rookie.”

Associate Head Coach/Defensive Run Game Coordinator/Defensive Tackles Coach Nick Eason: "Ruke’s competitive nature is contagious. He will elevate any team and have everyone rowing in the same direction. He can dominate any industry, any market, against any competition, at any time. He is a true warrior.”

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NOTES ON THE SELECTION OF RUKE ORHORHORO:

- Orhorhoro became the 79th NFL Draft selection in Dabo Swinney’s head coaching tenure and the 12th second-round pick of his tenure.

- Orhorhoro became Clemson’s eighth all-time NFL Draft selection by the Atlanta Falcons, joining DB Rod McSwain (1984), CB Reggie Pleasant (1985), RB Kenny Flowers (1987), DE Malliciah Goodman (2013), DE Vic Beasley (2015), DT Grady Jarrett (2015) and CB A.J. Terrell (2020). The Falcons also selected LB Randy Smith in the 1966 NFL Supplemental Draft.

- Each of Clemson’s last three selections by the Falcons — DE Vic Beasley, DT Grady Jarrett and CB A.J. Terrell — have earned at least one Pro Bowl or All-Pro selection.

- Orhorhoro became the second No. 35 overall pick in Clemson history, joining Joe Blalock, who was selected at No. 35 overall in the fifth round of the 1942 NFL Draft.

- Orhorhoro became the 21st member of Clemson’s front seven to be drafted since the 2015 NFL Draft. Entering the 2024 NFL Draft, Dabo Swinney ranked first among active coaches and second among all coaches — active or inactive — in front-seven draft picks produced in that span.

- Orhorhoro became the ninth Clemson defensive lineman selected in the first two rounds of a draft since the 2015 NFL Draft.

- Orhorhoro (who played his prep career in River Rouge, Mich. adjacent to Detroit) became the first Clemson player since the NFL moved away from its long-time location in New York City to be selected in a draft being held in his home metro area.

- Orhorhoro’s selection combined with the Baltimore Ravens’ selection of Nate Wiggins in the first round gave Clemson selections in both the first and second round for the 10th time in school history (1960, 1987, 1992, 1997, 1999, 2016, 2019, 2020 and 2021).

 
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