Projecting the Clemson Football depth chart: Defensive Tackle

Defensive tackle is one of the positions Clemson Football has the most options and least worries.
Clemson defensive lineman DeMonte Capehart (19) during practice at the Poe Indoor Facility
Clemson defensive lineman DeMonte Capehart (19) during practice at the Poe Indoor Facility / Ken Ruinard / staff / USA TODAY NETWORK

The defensive tackle position has been a mainstay of Clemson’s success over the past decade with multiple Tigers – Dexter Lawrence, Christian Wilkins, Brian Bresee, and now Ruke Orhorhoro and Tyler Davis – having filled the depth chart on their way to the NFL.

The 2024 roster has several names that could one day hear their name in the NFL Draft.

Projected starters: Demonte Capehart, Payton Page

Projected back-ups: Tre Williams, Vic Burley, Stephiylan Green

Reserves: Hevin Brown-Shuler, Champ Thompson

Wild cards: Peter Woods, Caden Story

Capehart and Page have waited their turn patiently behind names like Bresee, Davis, and Orhorhoro and will likely get their chance to start. I give them the benefit of the doubt because of Williams’s injury history.

I am keeping my fingers crossed that Williams will be fully healthy this season, but any way we rationalize it he missed a significant amount of playing time the past two seasons. If Williams can accelerate back to good form, he can be as good as Capehart or Page.

The second-year players are fascinating too. Burley lost much of last season to injury as well but observers around the program have high hopes. Green tormented the offensive interior in the Spring Game, racking up four sacks.

Brown-Shuler and Thompson will have their day, but unless injuries decimate the unit that day will come in 2025 or 2026. Even if injuries mount, the Tigers may have other contingency plans that don’t involve rushing true freshmen out on the field.

Before spring practice began, Dabo Swinney said both Woods and Story were moving to defensive end. Woods unfortunately fell ill right before the Spring Game, so we didn’t get to see him play. We did see Story, but he lined up at defensive tackle a good bit. We also saw a relatively good showing from the defensive ends who were vying for second-string spots.

Either player moving to end for the spring doesn’t necessarily mean they will stay there, or play either position exclusively. If injuries were to limit the two-deep at tackle, Woods or Story could move back to the interior, especially if there are enough defensive ends who have established themselves as reliable players.