Defensive tackles Nyles Pinckney and Jordan Williams have entered the transfer portal. The Tigers boasted their best defensive line ever in 2018, but the strength became a weakness in 2019 after all four starters and key reserve Albert Huggins went to the NFL. Neither Pinckney nor Williams cemented themselves into a starting role, and now Tyler Davis and Bryan Bresee have done just that, likely relegating Pinckney and Williams to reserve roles for 2021.
Pinckney had 16 tackles and 1 sack on 272 snaps this season. He was a redshirt senior, but has a sixth year of eligibility due to a COVID-related rule change. He may be best remembered for tackling Mac Jones on a pitiful fake FG attempt in the National Championship game:
Gonna miss you, @NylesPinckney— Austin Pendergist (@apthirteen) January 4, 2021
Jordan Williams was a redshirt junior and has two years of eligibility thanks to the COVID-related rule change. He had 9 tackles on 228 snaps.
While losing depth along a defensive line that struggled somewhat in 2020 is sub-optimal, the moves make a lot of sense. An opportunity to become starters at other programs may be their best shots at getting a look from the NFL. Meanwhile, young players like Ruke Orhorhoro and DeMonte Capehart could have begun usurping some playing time. This also opens up more opportunities for rising fourth-year player Darnell Jeffries. While this is a blow to Clemson’s depth, it is an opportunity for young players to gain experience and prepare for bigger roles in 2022 and beyond.
We wish Nyles and Jordan all the best wherever they land!