Note: The following appears in the Louisville football game schedule.
Ruke Orhorhoro burst onto the college football scene in 2021 and built on his success this season while playing in a loaded defensive tackle room. He’s ready to be an NFL draft pick.
Orhorhoro’s unique trip to Clemson is unlike any of his teammates.
“I was born in Nigeria and lived there for two years. We then moved to Birmingham in the UK. After my mother passed away, my father dropped everything and picked us up, and we moved to Michigan.
After moving to Michigan, Orhorhoro fell in love with basketball.
“I’ve loved basketball ever since I moved here… I played all through middle school and high school. I met a coach named “Coach Bill,” and he taught me the roots of basketball. He took me under his wing and also taught me about life.
“I started as a freshman on the varsity team and averaged a double-double. I was then transferred to River Rouge, where “Coach Bill” found employment. I continued to average a double-double, and in my sophomore year, we reached the state championship game.
“Coach Parker came up to me and told me to try out for the football team. The first day I got out I played wide receiver for a day but couldn’t So they moved me to tight end, but I didn’t want to block. Then they moved me to outside linebacker, and that’s where I got a feel for defense.
Orhorhoro’s skill on the gridiron was undeniable as soon as he found his footing in the defensive trenches. Orhorhoro got his first scholarship offer just three weeks after playing football.
“Coach (Brent) Venables and I hooked up on the phone and pretty much recruited me to Clemson. Until then, I had never even heard of Clemson… I had only played with them in video games. Some of my high school coaches took me to Clemson, and I fell in love with the place and Coach (Dabo) Swinney and his program.
Orhorhoro was called a defensive end by most scouting departments, but he knew if he went to Clemson he would move in there. Orhorhoro bought into the process and became an elite inside defensive lineman.
“I was included from the start. I knew God had a plan for me, and when they told me to move in, I was probably 250 pounds. So I started eating a lot at Paw Bistro. I looked up and weighed 270 pounds, and I knew I could move inside and be successful.
“On my first day of practice, I lined up against John Simpson and Jackson Carman. I was like, ‘How am I going to do this?’ I bought it and Tyler Davis, who is the smartest person I know, helped me with the playbook.”
Orhorhoro, who earned a degree in sociology in just three years, now plays for a former Clemson defensive lineman (Nick Eason), who is now Tiger’s defensive tackles coach. Eason brings a plethora of knowledge to a vaunted position group.
“Coach Eason is my guy…I love him. He had a huge impact on my life. He played and coached in the NFL and has a lot of character. He always shot me and took me under his wing. I like to learn from people who have been there before. He has been there and had great success.
Orhorhoro’s favorite memory so far at Clemson was his first college game.
“The atmosphere was crazy. I had an adrenaline rush the whole game and I missed my first shot, because I was lost at the time.
When Orhorhoro isn’t in opposing backyards, you can find him playing basketball, his first love. At a press conference earlier this season, Orhorhoro called himself “LeBron James” and claimed he was the best basketball player on the Tiger football team.
“I’m without a doubt the best basketball player on the team, and it’s not even close. I can only fight. My game is more like Steph Curry now. I would probably make 98 out of 100 three-point attempts.
Orhorhoro is a great example of Clemson’s culture, as he bought into the process and became a key player in the 2022 defensive line.