Bryan Bresee USATSI Clemson Tigers

Clemson defensive lineman Bryan Bresee, the former No. 1 overall recruit in the Class of 2020, will enter the 2023 NFL Draft after a decorated three-year career with the Tigers. Though Bresee missed significant time in 2021 with an ACL tear, he was a dominant force when he played. The redshirt sophomore posted 51 tackles, 15 tackles for loss and nine sacks while taking home All-ACC honors every year. 

"When I committed to play football for Clemson University, I never could have imagined how special the opportunity would be," Bresee wrote in a statement posted to his Instagram account. "The support I have received from the Clemson community the past 3 seasons has been amazing. I truly appreciate this experience." 

Bresee missed a handful of games this past season due to a non-football medical issue and to be with his family following the death of his 15-year-old sister, Ella, to brain cancer. With Bresee absent from the Louisiana Tech game, players and coaches from the Bulldogs team penned handwritten letters to the Bresee family to share their prayers and condolences. Louisiana Tech's staff also wore "#E11AStrong" shirts in reference to Bresee's number. 

Draft projections

Bresee's career was limited by injuries, but his disruption and physical tools make him a fascinating prospect entering the 2023 NFL Draft. Listed at 6-foot-5 and 305 pounds, Bresee has the size and explosiveness to line up either inside or outside based on the situation. 

Bresee projects as the No. 12 overall pick to the Seattle Seahawks, according to CBS Sports NFL Draft analyst Chris Trapasso. Fellow draft analyst Josh Edwards also lists Bresee as a top-20 pick, but projects him as the No. 19 selection by the Jacksonville Jaguars. 

"Bresee is the exact type of ferocious, multi-faceted defensive lineman the Seahawks desperately need up front," Trapasso wrote

Defensive line turnover

Bresee's departure officially means there will be a generation change on the defensive line at Clemson. Fellow defensive lineman Myles Murphy, a potential top-five pick, previously declared for the NFL Draft and opted out of the Orange Bowl. Senior Tyler Davis is also expected to enter the draft, though he has a year of eligibility remaining due to the pandemic. Defensive ends K.J. Henry and Justin Mascoll could also leave after senior seasons. 

With Bresee out, the Tigers will lean on rising senior Ruke Orhorhoro to play a bigger role in 2023 after he posted eight tackles for loss and four sacks while splitting time with Bresee. Sophomore linebackers Jeremiah Trotter Jr. and Barrett Carter also both ranked among the team leaders in sacks. However, the strength of Clemson historically has been its elite defensive line play, and the Tigers will largely be starting from scratch in 2023.