With Veteran Players Out, Clemson Freshmen are Benefiting

Peter Woods (Jason Priester All Clemson)

Though Peter Woods and Vic Burley have not taken an official snap in their Clemson careers, the two freshmen have taken up a good portion of the conversation in the early stages of spring practice.

Woods is a former five-star recruit that ranked 33rd nationally in the 2023 signing class, according to 247 Sports, while Burley is a former four-star who ranked No. 71 overall. Both, along with fellow freshmen Stephiylan Green and T.J. Parker, make up a defensive line class some have called the best in the country.

But at Clemson, it is par for the course considering all the All-Americans and All-ACC performers it has produced along its defensive front over the years.  

“Heck, (Woods) has not even taken a snap here,” defensive coordinator Wes Goodwin said. “But I feel confident in him and all of those other guys.

“I like the makeup of the guys that we signed in that defensive line class. Vic Burley has been super impressive. Stephiylan Green is going to be a dog. T.J. Parker, I am super impressed with him and then, obviously, we get AJ and Ojiegbe in the fall.

“Those guys have the ability and potential make up to be really special for at least three years.”

Woods is a special player, one of those that rolls in and is ready to play both physically and mentally. Burley is the same way. With Ruke Orhorhoro sitting out the spring due to a shoulder injury, as well as Payton Page, Woods, Burley, Green and Parker are getting valuable reps.

In the first two practices, Woods is getting first team reps, while Burley is receiving second team reps.

“We don’t push being mid-years, but it definitely helps if you want to come in and try to play early,” Goodwin said. “Getting the installation, basically three or four times before mid-summer enrollees get here and stuff, helps.

“Getting all of that fundamental stuff. Being in the room with the guys and stuff, it is just a tremendous learning experience for guys that come in January.”  

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