3 questions about the Clemson Football defensive tackles this spring

The Tigers have lots of options at defensive tackle. Perhaps too many options.

Clemson defensive lineman Peter Woods (11)
Clemson defensive lineman Peter Woods (11) / Ken Ruinard / staff / USA TODAY NETWORK
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Nick Eason impressed in his second season with the Clemson program, so much so that he was promoted to associate head coach this offseason. Since he is making the big bucks now, he has to figure out what to do with all the talent he has at defensive tackle this spring.

Is Demonte Capehart a lock to be in the first string?

When I first formulated this question in my head, there was doubt about Capehart’s availability, at least in the short term. He ran into some legal problems this spring. Nothing egregious, he just made some bad choices. Because Capehart was eligible for pre-trial intervention, he was able to resolve his legal issues in time to return to the team for spring practices.

As such, my original question isn’t as relevant, but I still think it is valid from a certain perspective. There are three men – Capehart, Payton Page, and Tre Williams – who all generally seem to be in the same boat. All of them have been good. Each of them has had periods in time when they were seen as the best option of the three. Each of them has had their turn as the next guy off the bench to spell the starters at defensive tackle.

Sometimes they have been impacted by injuries that slowed their momentum, but the point is that Williams seemed to have the best potential at one point, then Page passed him, then Capehart passed him. None of them, for one reason or another, has been able to grab the golden ring and hang onto it.

Based on Capehart’s play during the back half of 2023, he would be the most likely of the three to start at tackle this season, but it sure does seem like the best of this trio shifts and varies from month to month, so who could emerge by fall is a big question mark.

Next: Who will emerge in the second string?