By Zachary Wagner
When the Clemson Tigers Football Team travels to Wake Forest on September 12th for its first game of the season, they will have a heavy task of replacing four offensive lineman. After four seniors graduated and two of them (John Simpson and Tremayne Anchrum) saw their names called during the 2020 NFL Draft. So who will the Tigers call upon to steady the offensive line during the 2020 season? Well one of those names will be Matt Bockhorst.
Bockhorst is known off the field as a gentleman and is always very nice to the media when he speaks with us. Once the helmet straps click and Brockhorst gets between the lines, it is a very different story. “Big nasty” is one of the meanest players on the Clemson Football Team and his highlights from high school and his first two seasons on the field with the Tigers can back that up.
With the Tigers having to replace four of the front five, Brockhorst will now be protecting Trevor Lawrence right next to his Ohio native friend, Jackson Carmen. Clemson will have two of the top offensive line products out of Ohio protecting arguably the best quarterback in college football this season.
BockHorst has not had an easy journey during his football days, missing his entire senior season of high school due to an injury he suffered during The Opening the summer prior to his last high school season. Even through the injury, Bockhorst was still a highly ranked recruit and was considered to be a top-15 player at his position by ESPN and 247Sports. The four-star Ohio native signed with the Tigers on January 30, 2016 and became the first Clemson signee from Ohio since 2011.
After red-shirting his entire first season and not appearing in a game, Bockhorst saw plenty of action in 2018. Bockhorst appeared in 11 games for the Tigers en route to the National Championship Game where he played six snaps in a 44-16 win over the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Last season, Bockhorst appeared in all 15 games for the Tigers and received his first career start. He enters 2020 appearing in 28 games total and accumulating 599 career snaps.
Bockhorst will most likely be lined up in the left guard spot when the whistle blows on Sept. 12th. During fall camp Head Coach Dabo Swinney has had high praises for his offensive line but said that some pieces are still shuffling around before they get ready for the season opener against Wake Forest.
With playmakers behind them in Travis Etienne and Trevor Lawrence and speedsters out wide in E.J. Williams and Joseph Ngata the offensive line will have to be the rock and steadfast of the Clemson offense this year. Replacing four seniors and two draft picks on the offensive line this season will be no short task, but Tiger fans have all the faith in Robbie Caldwell to help the Tigers get back to the National Championship Game in 2021.