Clemson has an embarrassment of riches on the defensive line, and with his 2023 NFL Draft scouting report, DT Ruke Orhorhoro is just another example. Orhorhoro sometimes gets lost as part of a stacked defensive class for the Tigers — but NFL teams are very aware of the upside he provides.
Ruke Orhorhoro NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Defensive Tackle
- School: Clemson
- Current Year: Redshirt Junior
- Height/Weight: 6’4″, 303 pounds
There’s a lot of competition for draft prestige among Clemson’s top defensive prospects. Myles Murphy, Bryan Bresee, and Trenton Simpson are all potential top-ten selections in the 2023 NFL Draft. And players like Tyler Davis and K.J. Henry add even more to the class’ depth.
At times, a name that’s lost is Orhorhoro’s. Quietly, the forgotten Clemson DT has 15 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks over the past two seasons, as well as eight deflections over that stretch. In 2022 alone, he has seven TFLs and three sacks — cementing a place as one of the most productive defenders on a stacked defensive line.
Orhorhoro’s impact is very pronounced, and he’s shown enough development over the past two seasons to generate excitement. That’s even more impressive once you realize that Orhorhoro — who was born in Nigeria and came to America when he was nine — didn’t start playing football until his junior year of high school, after first standing out as a basketball player.
Orhorhoro is young and inexperienced but incredibly talented and trending up incredibly fast. It’s the kind of high-upside proposition that NFL teams live for, and there’s plenty to like on tape.
Ruke Orhorhoro Scouting Report
Orhorhoro’s mold is a unique one in the 2023 NFL Draft defensive tackle class. He won’t be for every team, but for the team who develops him and uses him effectively, he could grow to be one of the best defensive players in the class.
In an era where alignment-versatile defensive linemen can create so much flexibility for coordinators, Orhorhoro naturally carries a great deal of intrigue. At 6’4″, 303 pounds, Orhorhoro has solid mass and proportional length, and he carries his weight extremely well. He has the athleticism and size to move across the formation. And in fact, at Clemson, he’s played everywhere from 1-tech to 5-tech.
At the center of Orhorhoro’s enticing physical foundation is his elite explosive capacity off the snap. He sports a quick first step and uses urgent feet to accelerate into contact, and he covers ground effortlessly moving into blocks, closing gaps quickly. Orhorhoro can shoot through gaps and stress blockers early, and he has excellent closing burst into contact. He’s able to elongate his strides to more powerfully close.
With his explosiveness and proportional length, Orhorhoro has exceptional natural power capacity. That combination alone can be a source of displacement energy, but Orhorhoro also has an impressive blend of raw and functional power. He’s able to load his hips into contact and torque through blockers with brutal rotation, generating ample displacement. Going further, he can shock blockers off the snap with superior leverage and create breaches in the line.
Orhorhoro has the functional strength to wrench and pry through gaps with his length. To that end, he’s shown he can work through anchors, replace extensions, and pry himself free to make plays in pursuit. He has the strength to acquire a lever with single extensions and keep himself clean while attacking gaps. This strength shows up especially at 5-tech but also serves Orhorhoro well inside. He can take on blocks head-on, square up, and reset his base to hold ground.
His combination of explosiveness and length allows him to work vertically with effectiveness, but Orhorhoro also has a lateral element to his game. The Clemson DT has the lateral athleticism to sidestep blocks quickly off the snap and sneak into gaps. Additionally, he has the foot speed to quickly reset and regenerate momentum on rushes. He has some quick twitch as a rusher and flashes impressive ease of motion in short spaces.
The more distinct use of Orhorhoro’s lateral agility is as a stunting lineman. He has the explosiveness and lateral athleticism to work across alignments and stress blocking angles. And working outside at 5-tech, he can punish tackles who overset with his lateral agility and work his way back inside quickly with strong hands.
Orhorhoro can still improve at managing his leverage at times, but overall, he’s a naturally well-leveraged lineman who easily acquires proper pad level and can load power with proper alignment. His natural leverage acquisition allows him to surge under blocks and acquire early advantages, and it serves as an accelerant for his violent hand usage when he’s on his game.
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When he’s on his game is key — because while Orhorhoro has room to further refine his hand usage, the flashes of top-end play are extremely exciting. To start, Orhorhoro has shown he can attack inside the torso with his length and drive power through bull rushes. But beyond that, he’s also shown he can target opposing wrists, deconstruct anchors, and forklift blockers back with power.
Even more exciting is the active combo work and blocker manipulation that Orhorhoro has flashed on tape. He actively attempts to stack moves like cross-chop-hump and rip combos, and he has a working power arsenal with bull rushes and push-pulls. He can also use a cross-chop on the edge and is able to counter back inside with strong hands.
Going further, Orhorhoro can actively manipulate blockers by flashing his hands outside, widening and attacking the torso, and he has the violent hand capacity to work quickly. He can club opposing linemen outside the frame with the power to displace and create a path, and he can also successively swat early extensions, then load and explode into opposing frames and drive power through.
Orhorhoro comes off the line hot and attacks plays voraciously when he has a window. Not just that, but he proactively uses his length to obstruct passing lanes and deflect passes. He has good urgency in pursuit and shows off decent pursuit speed for his size. Furthermore, Orhorhoro has the short-area athleticism and length to envelop ball carriers on the chase.
Lastly, Orhorhoro does have a degree of flexibility. The Clemson DT has displayed the necessary hip flexibility to roll through blocks and splice past opponents while driving his legs.
Orhorhoro’s Areas for Improvement
While Orhorhoro has a great overarching power component, he doesn’t quite have elite raw power and can still better leverage his lower body and sustain leg drive at times. He also lacks the elite lower body strength to consistently hold his ground and prevent displacement in run defense without proper leverage.
To that end, leverage management is something else that Orhorhoro can continue to refine. The Clemson DT sometimes resets too far upright at contact, negating his lower body from power exertions by extension. He can be more consistent managing leverage and maintaining alignment through contact. And in run defense, he sometimes gives up too much surface area trying to splice through gaps, allowing blockers to drive him back.
While Orhorhoro is a plus athlete, he doesn’t quite have elite change-of-direction in close quarters and can be a bit lumbering on transitions at times. Additionally, he lacks great functional ankle flexion. He can’t always pry past blocks and pinch tight angles on rip moves, which can prevent him from finishing plays.
As a technician, Orhorhoro can be more efficient at loading and exerting power with his hands. The Clemson DT sometimes prematurely extends, stalling power channels. His hand precision on initial rushes can improve at times as well, as he doesn’t always drive power fully at contact. Similarly, Orhorhoro’s hand strength at contact can improve. He isn’t always able to break anchors and regain control. Overall, he can improve at maintaining lower-upper synergy as a rusher through reps.
Orhorhoro’s motor is a strong point, but at times, he can show more urgency when in a position to contain runners to the outside. He sometimes fades out of reps when double-teamed, and he’s occasionally a bit late off the snap as well. There are instances where Orhorhoro can improve his snap timing on certain instances, and he can also be more efficient with his stance. He’s sometimes late to set, delaying his response off the snap.
Among other minor notes, Orhorhoro doesn’t have elite pursuit speed, and he won’t be able to chase down superior athletes.
Current Draft Projection for Clemson DT Ruke Orhorhoro
Orhorhoro sometimes falls under the shadow of Bryan Bresee, but he’s a tantalizing DT prospect in his own right. He grades safely in the early-to-mid Day 2 range of the 2023 NFL Draft and could field early Day 2 interest from schematic fits. In fact, it’s not out of the question that he could be a surprise Round 1 pick.
The exciting element of Orhorhoro’s evaluation is that he’s so schematically flexible. With his profile, he likely fits best as a disruptive 3-tech at the next level. But he can play big EDGE at 5-tech or rotate inside and work across interior alignments with his lateral athleticism and power.
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Going further, with his explosiveness, Orhorhoro is also dangerous in NASCAR packages, where he’s able to launch from greater depth, load his hips, and build up momentum into contact. There, his power and motor can be a lot to deal with.
The upside is a prime selling point with Orhorhoro, but he’s also fairly sound beyond that. He’s a strong, well-leveraged run defender who shows good urgency in pursuit. And as a pass rusher, he has a working arsenal of rushing moves and combos, and can bait blockers and capitalize in succession. A greater degree of consistency can be sought, but the ability is there already — despite Orhorhoro’s late introduction to the game.
Especially for teams that place heightened value on alignment versatility and employ hybrid fronts, Orhorhoro is an easy sell. He’s solid enough to start early on in his career, and he has the ceiling and trajectory to be an impact player in both phases, with alleviating flexibility on the interior.
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