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Clemson Football

Bryan Bresee on adversity, 'Football was my escape through a lot of things'

March 2, 2023


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Former Clemson defensive tackle Bryan Bresee is on his way to fulfilling his dream of playing in the NFL. The former No. 1 football recruit and ACC 2020 Defensive Rookie of the Year is in Indianapolis, IN for the NFL Combine to compete against other top prospects.

Bresee will be on the field for physical drills on Thursday after sitting for interviews earlier this week.

Here are a few responses from Wednesday's Q and A podium interview.

Bresee on what he brings to an NFL team and if he spoke to the Buffalo Bills:

“Yeah. I think just my athletic ability, my competitiveness, my pass rush ability -- just a bunch of things for a big guy that are very uncommon. Yeah, I’ve talked to a bunch of teams, yes sir.”

The second-team All-ACC team member finished last season with 16 tackles (5.5 for loss), 3.5 sacks, and two pass deflections in 10 of the Tigers' 14 games after spending the offseason recovering from shoulder and knee surgeries.

On what it took mentally to overcome the adversity from the end of his sophomore year to the start of his junior season:

“Yeah, I mean, football was my escape through a lot of things. Having my teammates, my family, coaches, a lot of support all around me was definitely crucial during that time. And it motivated me just to push through and continue to go.”

Bresee had a kidney infection in 2022 and played in only four games in 2021 after suffering a torn ACL against N.C. State. 

On how comfortable he is right now with his health:

“I feel great. I feel really, really good. So, yeah, I’m super excited.”

The Pittsburgh Steelers have the 17th overall selection and are rumored to have their sights on offensive and defensive linemen for that pick. 

On if he has talked to the Pittsburgh Steelers and specifically, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin:

“Yeah, I have talked to them. I’ve known Coach Tomlin since my freshman year at Clemson. He’s there all the time. So, it was just like catching up with an old friend with him. He’s a great guy -- super easy to talk to, and just a phenomenal coach.”

Bresee is credited with 64 career tackles (15.0 for loss), nine sacks, four pass breakups, an interception, a forced fumble, and a safety for his career.

On how what he learned at Clemson will help him in the NFL:

“We ran a ton of different things at Clemson. There were so many different schemes. [I] played so many different positions. So, I’m just… being very versatile in the aspect of what I did in college, I think just in general will help me at the next level.”

Bresee's sister Ella, 15, passed away on Sept. 15, 2022 from medulloblastoma, a form of cancer. The entire Clemson team, staff,  community, and even a few Clemson opponents honored Ella and the Bresee family after her death. 

On losing Ella and how that motivates him to do right by her:

“It was definitely a tough situation, losing her. Just seeing her battle through cancer, it was tough but just knowing what she went through motivates me every day. The fight that she put up and how much she loved watching me play. And that’s something that definitely just motivates me to continue to work and do right by her.”

Bresee is a versatile defender who is projected to play defensive tackle in the NFL but has taken snaps at end in college. 

On where he feels the most comfortable on the field:

“Honestly, I feel comfortable everywhere. I’ve kind of played it all. Whether it was in high school or in college, I’ve played from a zero all the way out to a five-technique. So, really, there’s no preference for me. Honestly, I feel comfortable pretty much everywhere.”

On what he thinks allows him to be such a versatile player that can line up at multiple positions on the defensive line:

“I think definitely just, I lean on my athletic ability. And playing out on the edge as a 300-pound guy, that definitely helps but then also playing inside. I’m 6-foot-5, 300 pounds, so I’m able to kind of play the run game inside the interior but also rush the passer from the outside.”

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