CLEMSON — It’s official: Tyler Shatley is no longer a defensive tackle.
Since March, the Clemson junior has worked on transitioning from the defensive to the offensive side of the ball, taking a new role as the Tigers’ starting right guard.
Six games into his first season there, Shatley seems to be fitting in pretty well.
He had the best game of his young career against Georgia Tech, playing 91 snaps, grading a career-best 91 percent and helping pave the way for 601 yards of total offense – the eighth-highest total in Clemson history – in a 47-31 win.
The ACC noticed, naming Shatley its offensive lineman of the week.
The physical, 6-foot-2, 295-pound lineman seems to like his new home.
“I feel a lot more comfortable now that I’ve gotten six games under my belt,” Shatley said. “After every game I feel more comfortable with the way the offense works and how I play my position and get better.”
Shatley has largely been a rock on the right side of the offensive line, playing in 391 of 493 offensive snaps – he played only 12 snaps after spraining an ankle against Furman. In Clemson’s three ACC games, he has played 242 of 248 possible offensive snaps.
“A lot of credit goes to (right tackle) Giff (Timothy) and (center) Dalton (Freeman),” Shatley said. “Those guys helped me out. I couldn’t have done it without them.”
This week has come at a welcome time; it’ll help Shatley heal up his bothersome ankle, although it didn’t seem to bother him much over the last three weeks.
“It’s definitely a good time to get everyone healed up,” he said. “Right in the middle of the season, everyone starts to get beat up. It’s a nice time physically and mentally to have a little break. ….. (The ankle) is getting better. This will definitely help it.”
Since his first spring practice, Shatley has been a natural fit on the offensive line – coaches and teammates believe he brings a certain nastiness to the line, which is very welcome.
His run blocking and combination blocks have been going well, he said – the biggest adjustment has been holding off athletic, pass-rushing defensive ends.
“Those defensive linemen are quick,” he said. “They’re a different breed. They’re coming for the quarterback so sometimes it can get pretty tough.”
Shatley figures to be a key part of the Tigers’ line for the next two seasons; one of the reasons coach Dabo Swinney suggested he move was his promising future at the next level.
But which side does he prefer?
“It’s all fun,” he said. “It’s all football. You go out there and hit someone, so it’s a lot of fun on both sides. Offense, it’s a lot of fun to see those guys get to score and know you’re a part of it. On defense you get to tackle people. It’s all about the same.”
All the same, Clemson fans are pretty happy Shatley made the switch.