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Clemson Football

Instant impact: Freshman trio primed to contribute this fall

September 6, 2023

Every year on National Signing Day, recruiting analysts nationwide debate which prospects can immediately impact their new teams. Heading into Clemson’s home opener, a trio of rookies have already set themselves apart.

Defensive tackle Peter Woods‍ made his much-anticipated debut against Duke Monday night, alongside touted 2023 signees, defensive end Tomarrion Parker and wide receiver Tyler Brown‍. All three are listed in the top two on the depth chart at their respective positions.

While Woods caught most of the offseason headlines, Parker put his stamp on the game early, making a tackle and pressuring Duke quarterback Riley Leonard twice.

"During this offseason, I keyed into the playbook and walked through the plays, which allowed me to slow the game down," Parker said. "I can just go out there and play now. Everything became much slower."

Clemson veteran defensive lineman Ruke Orhorhoro‍ saw this coming.

"Ever since he (Parker) stepped foot here, I knew he was gonna be special," Orhorhoro said. "They did a great job recruiting the freshman. Every time I see them, it reminds me more and more how far ahead they are than when me, Tyler Davis‍, and the other guys came in." 

Woods, a five-star recruit, won four straight Alabama 7A state championships at Thompson High School. He's Clemson's highest-ranked ESPN300 defensive line signee since Bryan Bresee‍ in 2020.

"I think he looked natural out there," Orhorhoro said. "He didn't let the bright lights get to him."

Parker and Woods, both Alabama natives, have known each other since tenth grade.

"Everything everybody advertised him as, he's been doing since high school," Parker said. "He's gotten even stronger than when he got here. Four hundred seventy-five pounds (bench press) is a great estimate, but I think it's more. I think I've seen him bench more than that."

Death Valley already feels like a home away from home for Tyler Brown, a Greenville High School (S.C.) product. After enrolling in the summer, he was reunited with high school teammates Josh Sapp‍, Riggs Faulkenberry, and Collin Sadler‍.

"Even back in Greenville, bro, we were always workaholics," Brown said. "I've actually adapted my work ethic from Josh Sapp‍. I came to Greenville in 11th grade, and he was a senior - and just the way he worked day in and day out really helped me with where I am today." 

Brown had two catches for 21 yards in his Clemson debut, including one third-quarter snag that set the Tigers up in the red zone.

The trio is preparing to take the field in Death Valley for the first time on Saturday when the Tigers square off against Charleston Southern.

"I've been a Clemson fan my whole life," Brown said. "I believe I'm ready for that hill."

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