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Clemson Vs. UCF Game Notes

Clemson Vs. UCF Game Notes

Aug. 27, 2001

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Game One: #19/18 Clemson Tigers vs. UCF Golden Knights

Saturday, Sept. 1, 2001 1:00 PM (EST) Clemson Memorial Stadium (81,474) Clemson, SC

In the Rankings Clemson – #19 AP, #18 USA Today/ESPN UCF – Unranked

Television: None

Radio: Clemson Tiger Sports Network

Play By Play: Jim Phillips * Color: Mike Eppley * Sideline: Rodney Williams

Series History: First MeetingTickets: $25, Available

1-800-CLEMSON

Special Day: IPTAY Day

Hiring Bowden Means Improvement We are yet to find a coach in NCAA Division I-A history who has accomplished what Tommy Bowden has done in his first four years as a Division I head coach. In each of his first four seasons he has seen his team make at least a three-victory improvement over the previous year. In 1997 he took over a Tulane program that had been 4-7 the year prior to his hiring, and he brought the program to a 7-4 season. The following year he took Tulane to a perfect 11-0 campaign in the regular season.

In 1999 he took over a Clemson team that had been 3-8 in 1998 and took the Tigers to six wins and a Peach Bowl bid. Last year there was another three-win improvement, as Clemson finished the year 9-3 and ranked 14th in the final ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll.

As far as Clemson history is concerned, the only previous coaches to take the Tigers to a three-win improvement in consecutive years are Josh Cody (1927 and 1928) and Charley Pell (1977 and 1978). No one in Clemson history has done it three straight years. Bowden and UNLV Head Coach John Robinson are the only coaches in the nation to take a team to a three-win improvement each of the last two years.

Bowden can stand alone in one area if he takes the Tigers to a bowl game this year. No Clemson coach as led the Tigers to a bowl game in each of his first three years with the Tigers.

Battle of Productive Quarterbacks Clemson’s season opener promises to be quite a matchup of outstanding quarterbacks. Clemson’s Woodrow Dantzler (22nd) and UCF’s Ryan Schneider (ninth) both ranked in the top 25 in the nation in passing efficiency in 2000. Dantzler completed 56 percent of his passes for 1,871 yards and 11 scores. Schneider completed 62 percent of his passes for 2,334 yards and 21 scores. Dantzler is the more mobile of the two, as he rushed for 1,028 yards, while Schneider had-88 on the ground.

Schneider did not enter the lineup until the third game, replacing former South Carolina quarterback Vic Penn, who was injured early in the 2000 season. Schneider started the last seven games of the year and took the Golden Knights to a 5-2 record. He passed for at least 250 yards in all seven of his starts. He threw for 283 yards and three touchdowns at Alabama last year.

Dantzler’s bid to become the first quarterback in NCAA history to reach 1,000 yards rushing and 2,000 yards passing in the same season hit a snag at North Carolina on Oct. 21 last year when was forced out of the game with an injury. He had just 283 yards of total offense over the next three games. Prior to the injury, Dantzler was averaging 300 yards of total offense per game.

But, Dantzler finished strong against South Carolina. With two weeks to rest, he had 80 yards rushing and 185 yards passing in the 16-14 win over the Gamecocks. He added 261 yards of total offense in the Gator Bowl against Virginia Tech. It brought him to 2,899 yards of total offense for the season, an all-time Clemson record.

Despite the injuries, Dantzler nearly reached the 1,000/2,000 season. He reached 1,028 yards rushing and added 1,871 passing for the 12 games. With the injuries and blowout games he only played a little over nine games in 2000.

Even though Dantzler has started just 18 games at quarterback in his Clemson career, he is already fourth in school history in total offense. He has 5,159 yards for his career. He went over the 5,000 yards mark against Virginia Tech in the Gator Bowl. Next on the horizon is Rodney Williams, Clemson’s winningest quarterback in history, who had 5,510. Dantzler has played 27 games in his career and now averages a school record 191 yards per game in total offense for his career.

Dantzler needs 1,628 yards of total offense in 2001 to become Clemson’s career leader. Nealon Greene had 6,786 for his four-year career between 1994-97. Dantzler needs just 38 yards rushing against UCF to become Clemson’s career rushing leader by a quarterback. He is also expected to break the ACC record for that category this year.

Common Coaches Clemson wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator Rick Stockstill came to Clemson in 1989 after serving at UCF as wide receivers coach from 1985-88. In those four years at UCF he coached among others, Shawn Jefferson, who went on to a long NFL career with the New England Patriots and then the Atlanta Falcons.

The offensive coordinator on that UCF staff from 1985-88 was current Golden Knights head coach Mike Kruczek. Kruczek also coached with current Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden at Florida State in 1982. That was Kruczek’s first full-time college coaching job, just two years removed from the end of his NFL career. Florida State finished the season with a 9-3 record, a berth in the Gator Bowl and a #13 final AP ranking.

Two current fulltime coaches on the UCF staff were once graduate assistants at Clemson. UCF secondary coach Gene Chizik and offensive line coach Robert McFarland were both graduate assistant coaches at Clemson for the 1988 and 1989 seasons under Danny Ford. The Tigers were 10-2 in both seasons, ending each year with a bowl victory.

UCF Athletic Director Had Impact on Bowden’s Career UCF Athletic Director Steve Sloan had a positive impact on the coaching career of Clemson Head Coach Tommy Bowden. In 1983, Sloan, then the head coach at Duke, hired Bowden as his offensive coordinator. It was Bowden’s first job as a coordinator and the experience certainly enhanced Bowden’s career. In their first year together, Ben Bennett led the Duke offense to a record setting season. One of their most productive performances came against Clemson, a 38-31 Tiger win in which Bowden’s offense gained 508 yards, including 367 passing. James Robinson had to deflect a fourth-down pass from the Clemson nine-yard-line to preserve the win. The Tigers posted a 9-1-1 record that year.

Bowden coached under Sloan for four seasons, before both moved to Alabama. Bowden became an assistant coach on Bill Curry’s staff and Sloan became the Alabama Athletic Director. Sloan has been the AD at UCF since 1993.

The UCF Program UCF is one of the rising programs of college football. In 1978, they did not even have a football team. By 1998 they had posted a 9-2 record and boasted one of the top players in college football in Daunte Culpepper, now the starting quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings.

UCF started its program in 1979 at the Division III level. In 1982 they moved to Division II, then became Division I-AA in 1990. They have been a Division I-A school since the 1996 season. Last season they achieved a landmark victory by winning at Alabama on the Crimson Tide’s homecoming. Earlier in the year they nearly won at Georgia Tech, before suffering a 21-17 loss.

UCF is one of the few independent schools in the nation. It allows them to play a diverse schedule. In 2001, the Golden Knights might be the only team in the nation to play a team from the ACC, the Big East and the SEC. Overall, six different conferences are represented on their 2001 schedule.

UCF Coach Mike Kruczek Mike Kruczek is in his fourth year as head coach at Central Florida, but his 17th season with the program overall. He served as offensive coordinator for the Golden Knights from 1985-97, so he has been affiliated with the school for 16 of the program’s previous 22 seasons.

Kruczek has quite a resume as a player and a coach. He was the starting quarterback for Boston College between 1973-75 and is a member of the school’s athletic Hall of Fame. He was a second-round draft choice of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1976. The first round pick for the Steelers that year was former Clemson All-American Bennie Cunningham.

Kruczek played six years in the NFL, five with Pittsburgh and one with the Washington Redskins He was a member of two Super Bowl Championship teams (1978 and 1979 seasons) along with Cunningham in Pittsburgh. In his rookie season (1976), he stepped in for an injured Terry Bradshaw and led the Steelers to seven consecutive wins. He completed 60 percent of his passes over his NFL career.

Kruzcek began his coaching career under Bobby Bowden at Florida State in 1982. After two years at Florida State and one year as quarterbacks coach of the Jacksonville Bulls of the now defunct USFL, he moved to UCF. In 1998 he became the head coach developed quarterback Daunte Culpepper into a first-round draft choice.

Seven Graduate Students to Start for Tigers Clemson has seven graduate students slated to hold starting positions for the season opener against UCF. That is an all-time record for graduate students on the Clemson football team.

The list is led by Heisman Trophy candidate Woodrow Dantzler, who received his degree in marketing from Clemson in August. Dantzler hugged Clemson President Jim Barker when he was presented his diploma on the stage at Littlejohn Coliseum.

Starting defensive back Charles Hafley and starting defensive tackle Nick Eason both earned their degrees in sociology that same day. Eason’s graduation was especially impressive because he still has two years of eligibility. He earned the degree in three years and three summer sessions and plans to earn a master’s degree before his eligibility is up. He is the first Clemson football player to earn an undergraduate degree with two years of eligibility remaining.

Four other Clemson players received their degrees prior to this past August, and all four of them are starters on offense. Kyle Young, starting center, and T.J. Watkins, starting guard, earned their degrees in May. Young graduated Summa Cum Laude and is a two-time first-team Academic All-American. Wide receiver Matt Bailey also received his degree that day. Starting offensive guard Will Merritt received his degree in December 2000, just a few days prior to the Gator Bowl.

Five Tigers on Preseason Award Lists Five Clemson players have been named to various preseason award lists for the 2001 season. Clemson quarterback Woodrow Dantzler is on the preseason list for the Davey O’Brien Award, which is given to the top quarterback in college football. Running back Travis Zachery is on the Doak Walker Award list, which is given to the top running back in college football. Zachery is one of just two ACC players on the list. Clemson has two offensive linemen on the preseason Lombardi Award list. Center Kyle Young and offensive guard Will Merritt are both listed for the award that goes to the top lineman in college football. Clemson and Miami (FL) are the only two schools with two offensive linemen on the list. Defensive linemen and linebackers are also eligible.

Chad Carson is the only Clemson defensive player on a preseason award list. Clemson’s top tackler from 2000 is on the preseason Butkus Award Watch List. Carson ranked fourth in the nation in tackles a year ago. Clemson linebacker Keith Adams was a finalist for the award last year.

The only Clemson player to win a national award is Terry Kinard. The two-time first-team AP All-American was named the national defensive player of the year by CBS Sports in 1982. Kinard will be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in December and will be inducted into the Clemson Ring of Honor prior to the Clemson vs. Florida State game on Nov. 3.

Tigers From Florida Clemson has 14 players from the state of Florida, its highest roster population from the Sunshine State in its history. The list includes four players from Jacksonville, sophomore Kevin Youngblood, and freshmen Tavaghn Monts, Jamaal Fudge and Eric Sampson.

Of the 14 players, only one is scheduled to start against UCF. Charles Hafley (Pompano Beach) is the leader of the Clemson secondary and will start at strong safety. Kevin Youngblood would have been a starting wide receiver, but the 6-5 player broke a leg in practice on Aug. 21 and is lost for the season.

Players from Florida have excelled at Clemson over the years. Between 1982-97 (16 recruiting classes), Clemson had 39 signees from Florida and 25 went on to become starters. Ten of the 39 became first or second-team All-ACC at last one season and 10 went on to play in the NFL. Between 1996 and 1997 Clemson signed six players from Florida and all six went on to become starters.

The recent list of Clemson signees from Florida includes Rod Gardner. The native of Jacksonville was the #15 selection of the 2001 NFL draft by the Washington Redskins. Philadelphia Eagles Pro Bowl safety Brian Dawkins also came to Clemson from Jacksonville. In fact, he came from the same high school as Gardner, Raines High School.

Tigers from Florida
Name Hometown High School
Willie Simmons Quincy Shanks
Kevin Youngblood Jacksonville Raines
Tavaghn Monts Jacksonville Ribault
Jamaal Fudge Jacksonville White
Clifford Harrell Tallahassee N. Florida Christian Acad.
David Dunham Lake City Columbia
Ronny Delusme Naples Lely
Charles Harper Quincy Shanks
Eric Sampson Jacksonville White
Tony Lazzara St. Petersburg Shorecrest Prep
Charles Hafley Pompano Beach Ely
Jermyn Chester Titusville Titusville
Bobby Williamson Tarpon Springs East Lake
Ronnie Thomas Quincy Shanks

Heisman Candidate Woodrow Dantlzer Clemson quarterback Woodrow Dantzler has been omni present on many of the preseason Heisman Trophy lists. The Clemson graduate is ranked as the number-two candidate for the award by CBS.Sportsline.com, Lindy’s preseason annual, and Mel Kiper of ESPN. He is ranked eighth by The Sporting News. He is also listed by USA Today as a candidate. That publication listed 10 players in alphabetical order. He was also one of six favorites mentioned by the ESPN GameDay crew.

Dantzler was also listed as the first- team preseason All-America quarterback by Football News and Lindy’s. Lindy’s lists Dantzler as the top candidate for the Davey O’Brien Award. Lindy’s and Street & Smith rank Dantzler as the number-one preseason candidate for ACC Player of the Year, while Sporting News lists him as the preseason Offensive Player of the Year.

IPTAY Establishes Fund Raising Record IPTAY raised more than $20 million in pledges during the 2000-01 fiscal year according to data released by George Bennett, executive secretary of Clemson’s scholarship fund-raising organization. The figure was more than doubled the previous record set last year.

The official dollar figure for pledges for IPTAY 2001 was $20,278,795.80, shattering the previous record of $10,062,859.70 set during the 1999-00 fiscal year. Bennett announced that the organization had 24,879 members during the year that closed June 30, 2001, also a record.

Bennett said there were many other reasons for the increase, including a change in the Life Member program, the Tiger Pride campaign and the growth of the endowment program. He reported that the Tiger Pride Campaign raised $7.5 million this past year (not included in the above $20 million total) and now has raised $23 million. The Tiger Pride Campaign has a goal of $65 million.

“We have begun a lot of digging at our athletic facilities on campus and raising money for the Tiger Pride campaign will be our emphasis this year,” said Bennett. Construction has already begun on the new annex at Littlejohn Coliseum. Renovations to the South Side of Clemson Memorial Stadium will be ready by opening day. Further renovations to the West end of the stadium will begin after this football season.

Season Tickets Near Record Total Clemson has sold 57,350 season tickets for the 2001 campaign, 275 away from the school’s all-time record, Associate Athletic Director and Ticket Manager Van Hilderbrand said Aug. 25. The single season record is 57,625 set in 1988, a season in which Clemson played both South Carolina and Florida State at Death Valley.

This is just the fifth time Clemson has exceeded the 57,000 season ticket mark. Season ticket figures do not include what is allotted to the opposition, or Clemson student ticket sales. Over 75,000 people are expected for the season opener against Central Florida.

Clemson sold 54,159 season tickets last year, an increase of nearly 4,000 over the previous year. Clemson sold 46,541 season tickets in 1998, the year prior to the beginning of the Tommy Bowden era at Clemson. That means, season tickets have increased by nearly 11,000 since Bowden became Clemson coach for the beginning of the 1999 season.

Clemson averaged 78,378 fans per game in 2000, its highest average since the 1990 season. The school ranked seventh in the nation in total attendance and 12th in average attendance for the 2000 season. The 2000 season also saw an average of 11,050 students attend Clemson home games, an all-time record.

Youngblood, Bodrick Out for the Season Two Clemson starters were lost for the season during preseason practice. First, on Aug. 18, starting linebacker Altroy Bodrick suffered a torn ACL during a scrimmage in Death Valley. Three days later, during the final scrimmage of the preseason, starting wide receiver Kevin Youngblood was lost for the year with a broken leg. Bodrick was a senior entering this year, but has never red-shirted and thus will come back for a fifth year in 2002. Youngblood was a red-shirt sophomore this year and thus will lose a year as a result of the injury. He will still be eligible for 2002 and 2003.

As a result of the injury to Bodrick, Reggie Herring moved Braxton K. Williams from star safety to Bodrick’s linebacker position, a position he has played the last two years. John Leake then moved to the starting position at star safety. Leake had been Clemson’s best defensive player during the first two weeks of camp, according to Herring.

As a result of Youngblood’s injury at wide receiver, Jackie Robinson moved from his flanker position to Youngblood’s wide receiver slot. Robinson is a returning starter who knows all the receiver positions in the Clemson offense. Freshman Roscoe Crosby moved to the starting flanker position that Robinson held.

This is the first time since 1994 that Clemson has lost two players for the season during preseason drills. That year reserve Rudy Currie suffered a broken wrist and was out for the year and linebacker Bernard Randolph suffered repeated concussions and was kept out for the season. Both of those players were reserves.

Herring Suffers Torn Achilles The same day that Altroy Bodrick suffered a torn ACL, defensive coordinator Reggie Herring suffered a torn Achilles tendon. Herring suffered the injury while exhorting his defense after a good play during the Aug. 18 scrimmage.

Herring, who never missed a game due to injury during his playing career at Florida State, will not miss a game this year. He will coach the Tigers defense from the press box until he is able to walk without crutches. At that point he will return to the sidelines, where he has worked since he came to Clemson in 1993.

Herring showed some intestinal fortitude on Aug. 22 when he had the surgery to repair the torn Achilles at 6:30 AM, then returned to practice that afternoon at 3:30 PM. He coached from the sidelines while sitting in a golf cart. He was helped during that day by pain killers, causing Tommy Bowden to comment, “That is the first time I had an assistant coach on morphine during practice.”

Leake Defender to Watch Coach Tommy Bowden spoke in the preseason about players who needed to step up their play on defense to make the Tigers successful in 2001. The Tigers lost seven defensive starters from last year so many 2000 reserves have an opportunity to make a difference.

One of the players who is taking advantage of an opportunity is star safety John Leake. The sophomore from Plano, TX is now starting at the star safety position. Defensive Coordinator Reggie Herring said he was Clemson’s top defensive player in the first two weeks of the preseason work. He was the team’s top tackler in both major scrimmages. He also had a team best three sacks. “His motor runs nonstop,” said Bowden. “He reminds you of Keith Adams the way he practices and plays all over the field.”

Leake did not play a single play from scrimmage last year, but was a top special teams tackler with nine stops. He then had a breakout spring, highlighted by a 10-tackle effort in the spring game, a total that led all tacklers. He also had a 57-yard interception return for a touchdown.

Changes from the Press Guide There have been some changes as far as personnel is concerned since the 2001 Clemson media guide was published in July. Three players on the press guide roster are no longer on the team. Freshman Micheaux Hollingsworth has decided to attend a junior college. Freshman Grant Oliver decided to leave Clemson a week into practice and has left school. David Ellis, a two-year letterman at defensive end, decided to leave the team a week into practice.

Five players have changed positions since the beginning of practice. Braxton K. Williams has moved from star safety to strongside linebacker. Tyrone Lee, a letterman as a reserve tight end last year, has moved to fullback. Eric Coleman, who came to Clemson as a linebacker this year, is now the backup star safety. Brian Carr has moved from quarterback to free safety and freshman Eric Coleman has moved from tight end to offensive tackle.

Seven players have changed uniform numbers:
New # Player Old #
14 Tony Elliott, WR 38
49 Britt Sheman, FB 44
44 Tyrone Lee, FB 87
76 Eric Coleman, OT 89
55 Anthony Williams, LB 57
93 Tif Miller, P 13
99 Maurice Fountain, DE 93

Zachery Needs 18 Yards for 2,500 For the second straight year, Travis Zachery opens the regular season having to prove himself after suffering a painful injury in a bowl game. The Doak Walker Award candidate suffered a broken ankle on a 23-yard scoring reception from Woodrow Dantzler in the Gator Bowl against Virginia Tech and that kept him out of the rest of the game and Spring practice.

But, he is back to full strength looking to improve on his 2000 totals when he rushed for 1,027 yards and scored a single season record 18 touchdowns. He had scored 16 touchdowns in 1999. For his career, he already has the Clemson record with 39 scores. He has 34 touchdowns in 24 games over the last two years.

Zachery enters this season with 2,482 career-rushing yards, fifth best in school history. He obviously needs just 18 yards to reach 2,500 for his career. The greatest receiving running back in Clemson history, he has a record 60 career catches for 643 yards. He has 3401 all-purpose running yards in his career, best in school history.

Zachery probably won’t catch Raymond Priester when it comes to the career rushing record (he needs 1484), but he will have a good chance to catch Priester in all-purpose yards. Priester had 4282 all-purpose yards (rushing, receiving and kick returns combined), just 881 yards ahead of Zachery. Zachery has had at least 997 all-purpose yards in each of his first three years at Clemson.

Young Looks for Landmark Accomplishment Clemson center Kyle Young has been named a first-team Academic All-American each of the last two years. If he is chosen for a third time at the end of the 2001 season he will become just the second offensive lineman in college football history to be chosen a first-team Academic All-American in three different seasons. He would also become just the second ACC player in history to be chosen three times.

The College Sports Information Directors of America have chosen the academic All-America team every year since 1952, so the 2001 team will be the 50th team selected. Players chosen to the team must have at least a 3.20 cumulative GPA. Young had a 3.98 career GPA and graduated in May, Summa Cum Laude.

Young will try to join former Colorado offensive lineman Jim Hansen as the only three-time first-team selections. Hansen was named in 1990, 1991 and 1992. The only other ACC player to be a three-time first-team selection, regardless of position, is Mike Diminick, a defensive back from Duke, who was named first team in 1986, 1987 and 1988.

Overall, 12 different football players have been named first-team academic All-American three times. Clemson’s Kyle Young will attempt to join that group in 2001.

Three-Time First-Team Academic All-Americans
Name Pos. School Years
Jon Abbott LB Arizona 1975-77
Ron Duncan TE Ball State 1985-87
Jim Hansen OL Colorado 1990-92
Mike Diminick DB Duke 1986-88
Dan Gregus DL Illinois 1980-82
David Patterson WR New Mexico State 1996-98
Joe Heap B Notre Dame 1952-54
John Bergren DL Stanford 1981-83
Scott Henderson LB Texas 1968-70
Kip Corrington DB Texas A&M 1985-87
Jason Hanson PK Washington St. 1989-91
Don Davey DL Wisconsin 1987-90

Clemson Has Strong Freshman Class Clemson’s recruiting class for the 2001 season was among the best in the nation according to many who rate recruiting classes. That group could have an immediate impact on the Tigers, especially at wide receiver, defensive line and the secondary.

It is a rarity for a first-year freshman to step right in and start in a non-special teams role. The last “true freshman” to start the season opener was Anthony Simmons, at linebacker for the first game of the 1995 season. He is now starting for the Seattle Seahawks. The last offensive first-year freshman to start the season opener was Anthony Downs, at tailback for the first game of the 1994 season. Only 10 first-year freshmen have started the season opener since freshmen became eligible for the 1972 season. Wide receiver Roscoe Crosby is listed as a first-team player this year and would be the first first-year freshman wide receiver to start his first game.

Here is a list of all first-year freshmen to start the season opener since that season:

1973 Ken Callicutt (TB)
Nelson Wallace (DT)
1974 Jeff Mills (DT)
1980 Jeff Wells (TE)
James Farr (C)
1987 John Johnson (LB)
1988 Chris Gardocki (PK)
1994 Anthony Downs (TB)
1995 Anthony Simmons (LB)
2000 Aaron Hunt (PK)

Clemson in the Preseason Polls Clemson is ranked 19th in the preseason Associated Press poll. This is the 18th time since 1936 that Clemson has been ranked in the preseason top 25 of that poll. This is the second straight year Clemson has been in the preseason top 20, as the Tigers were 17th in last year’s preseason poll. The Tigers improved on that by finishing 16th in the final AP poll. Clemson was 14th in the final USA Today poll for the 2000 season.

Clemson was 18th in the preseason USA Today/ESPN Coach’s poll. As far as other preseason polls are concerned, The Tigers have been ranked 20th by Sports Illustrated, 13th by ESPN the Magazine and 18th by The Sporting News.

Clemson’s highest preseason ranking in the history of the AP poll is a number-four ranking. Clemson had that lofty ranking in 1988 and 1984. The 1988 team finished 10-2 and ranked ninth in the final poll. The 1984 team finished 7-4 and was not ranked in the final AP poll. That team led by William Perry and Mike Eppley did finish 20th in the final New York Times computer ranking.

The preseason poll is not always an indication of future success or failure for the Tigers, although it was last season. The previous three seasons Clemson was ranked in the preseason top 25 it failed to finish in the top 25. The 1993 season was the last time prior to 2000 that Clemson was ranked in the preseason and the postseason poll in the seame year.

Last year was the 11th time Clemson was ranked in the Associated Press preseason poll and finished the season in the top 25. That includes a streak of five straight years between 1987-91. There have been nine seasons in which Clemson was unranked in the preseason poll, then finished the season ranked in the top 20. That includes the 1981 season when Clemson was unranked in August, then won the National Championship in January. The last time Clemson went from unranked in the preseason to a final top 25 ranking was 1986 when Clemson finished 17th after an 8-2-2 season.

Of the 17 times that Clemson has been ranked in the preseason poll prior to this year, Clemson has finished higher than the preseason ranking just five times (1958, 1978, 1982, 1990 and 2000). In one season, 1989, Clemson had the same preseason and final ranking.

Clemson in the Associated Press Preseason Poll
Year Pre Record Final
1958 18 8-3 12
1959 8 9-2 11
1960 9 6-4 NR
1978 18 11-1 6
1982 11 9-1-1 8
1984 4 7-4 NR
1987 9 10-2 12
1988 4 10-2 9
1989 12 10-2 12
1990 10 10-2 9
1991 9 9-2-1 18
1992 13 5-6 NR
1993 22 9-3 23
1994 25 5-6 NR
1996 25 7-5 NR
1997 18 7-5 NR
2000 17 9-3 16
2001 19

Here is a list of Clemson’s preseason rankings13th-ESPN The Magazine14th-Collegefootballnews.com, CNNSI.com18th-The Sports News, Football Writers Association, USA Today/ESPN19th-Preview Sports, Street & Smith, Associated Press20th-Athlon, Blue Ribbon, Sports Illustrated23rd-Lindy’s

Clemson in Openers Clemson has won 14 of its last 17 season openers. The only opening losses since 1983 took place in 1986 at Clemson when Virginia Tech and Coach Bill Dooley upset the Tigers, 20-14, at North Carolina in Chapel Hill in 1996 and in 1999 at home against Marshall. That 1986 game with Virginia Tech was a battle of eventual bowl teams, as the Tigers ended the year 8-2-2 and ranked 17th in the nation, while Virginia Tech was 9-2-1 and ranked 20th in the final poll. The 1999 13-10 loss to Marshall was also a battle of bowl teams.

Even though this is the 106th season of Clemson football, Clemson has had just 100 home openers in its history because five seasons Clemson did not play a game at home. In the 100 home openers Clemson has a 76-16-8 record against 27 different opponents. Clemson has nearly an identical record in terms of the first game of the season. The Tigers are 78-19-8, regardless of site, in their first game of the season.

Clemson Opening Day Records Two current Clemson players own opening day records in Clemson history, and both were set last year against The Citadel. Quarterback Woodrow Dantzler completed 16-17 passes for 192 yards and three touchdowns in that 2000 opener. He set the Clemson overall record (not just opening day) for completion percentage and efficiency rating in a single game.

Dantzler has always gotten his season off to a good start. For the three season openers he has played in his career he is 21-24 passing for 268 yards and three scores. Rushing, he has 28-123 yards. Chad Carson tied the Clemson opening day record for tackles with 18 against The Citadel last year. Jeff Davis also had 18 against Rice in the 1980 season opener.

Clemson Opening Day Individual RecordsTotal Offense: 297 by Billy Hair by Presbyterian, 1951Rushing Yards: 204 by Buck George vs. Presbyterian, 1952Passing Yards: 283 by Jimmy Addison vs. Virginia, 1966Pass Attempts: 34 by Brandon Streeter vs. Marshall, 1999Pass Completions: 23 by Brandon Streeter vs. Marshall, 1999Completion Percentage: .941 (16-17) by Woodrow Dantzler vs. The Citadel, 2000Passing Efficiency: 247.1 by Woodrow Dantzler vs. The Citadel, 2000Receptions: 11 by Rod Gardner vs. Marshall, 1999Reception Yards: 145 by Perry Tuttle vs. Furman, 1979All Purpose Yards: 246 by Buck George vs. Presyterian vs. Presbyterian, 1952Tackles: 18 by Jeff Davis vs. Rice, 1980 and by Chad Carson vs. The Citadel, 2000

Two of Nation’s Top Tacklers on Display While much of the talk about this game has centered around offense, there are some outstanding defenders on each team. In fact, two of the top four tacklers in the nation in 2000 will be on display this afternoon. Clemson’s Chad Carson had 146 tackles in the regular season last year and his 13.27 tackles per game ranked fourth in the nation. Tito Rodriquez, like Carson a senior this year, had 121 tackles in nine games and his 13.44 tackles per game ranked second in the country to another ACC player, Levar Fisher of N.C. State.

Carson is a standout on the field and in the classroom. He was a first-team Academic All-American in 2000 after earning second team honors in 1999. He has a chance to join teammate Kyle Young as the only three-time Academic All-America selections in Clemson history. On the field, Carson has 311 career tackles and enters the season ranked 12th in school history. He needs only six tackles against UCF to move all the way to ninth. He will quickly move ahead of Doug Brewster (312), Jim Stuckey (314) and Henry Walls (316). A model of consistency in all phases of his life, Carson has had double figures in tackles in 19 of his last 24 games, including each of his last six.

Rodriquez is a senior from Lehigh Acres, FL who missed the first two games of last year with a knee injury. He had just 57 total tackles in his first two years combined, then had 121 in the last nine games of 2000. Ten of his 121 tackles were tackles for loss and he had a season high 19 stops against Northern Illinois. He had 18 against Virginia Tech and 14 more in the win at Alabama.

2000 NCAA Tackle Leaders
Rk Player School GP Tot Tot /Game
1. Levar Fisher, Jr. N.C. State 11 163 14.82
2. Tito Rodriguez, Jr. UCF 9 121 13.44
3. Brian Leigeb, Sr. Central Michigan 11 147 13.36
4. Chad Carson, Jr. Clemson 11 146 13.27
5. Lawrence Flugence, So. Texas Tech 12 156 13.00
6. Dan Morgan, Sr. Miami (FL) 11 138 12.55
Keith Adams, Jr. Clemson 11 138 12.55
8. Levar Talley, Sr. Temple 11 135 12.27
9. Mario Haggan, So. Mississippi St. 11 132 12.00
10. Brandon Spoon, Sr. North Carolina 11 131 11.91
Regular Season statistics only
Clemson Career Tackle Leaders
Rk Player Pos Years No
1. Bubba Brown LB 1976-79 515
2. Anthony Simmons LB 1995-97 486
3. Jeff Davis LB 1978-81 469
4. Ed McDaniel LB 1988-91 489
5. Randy Scott LB 1975-78 382
6. Keith Adams LB 1998-00 379
7. Robert Carswell FS 1997-00 374
8. Tim Jones LB 1991-94 338
9. Henry Walls LB 1983-85 316
10. Jim Stuckey DT 1976-79 314
11. Doug Brewster LB 1987-90 312
12. Chad Carson LB 1998-01 311

Future Non-Conference Games 2002 Aug. 31 at Georgia Sept. 7 Louisiana Tech Sept. 14 Ball State Nov. 23 South Carolina

2003 Aug. 30 Georgia Sept. 6 Furman Sept. 13 Middle Tennessee Nov. 22 at South Carolina

Notes on Future Non-Conference Opponents Georgia and Clemson first played in 1897 in Athens and last met in 1995 at ClemsonS in the 1980s seven of the eight games were decided by seven points or lessS Georgia leads the series 39-17-4, but the Bulldogs hold just an 8-6-1 advantage since 1977S three of Clemson’s most thrilling victories in recent memory have taken place against Georgia in 1981 Clemson defeated a fourth-ranked Georgia team 13-3 in Death Valley on the way to a National ChampionshipS it remains the highest ranked win in Clemson history in Memorial StadiumS the Tigers won consecutive games in 1986 and 1987 on last second field goals by David Treadwell. Clemson’s 2002 game against Louisiana Tech will be the first meeting between the two teamsS Clemson defeated Ball State at Clemson in the season opener 1992 by a 24-10 scoreS Clemson’s 2003 game with Middle Tennessee will be the first meeting between the two schoolsS Clemson’s 2003 game with Furman will be the first between the two schools since 1998S. Clemson, like every other Division I school in the nation, will play 12 games in 2002 and 2003S Clemson will have seven at home and five on the road both seasonsS Clemson also has future non-conference home-and-home series scheduled with Auburn and Texas A&M.

Clemson Players on Preseason Lists Five Clemson players are ranked among the best in the nation at their positions according to various preseason publications and Internet sites. The list of Tigers in the rankings include quarterback Woodrow Dantzler, running back Kyle Young, offensive guard Will Merritt and linebacker Chad Carson.

Dantzler is ranked as the number-one quarterback in the nation by Lindy’s and Football News preseason magazine. The same publications rank him as a first-team All-American, the number-one candidate for the Davey O’Brien Award and the number-two candidate for the Heisman Trophy. The native of Orangeburg, SC is also listed as the number-two candidate for college football’s top award by cbssportsline.com.

Dantzler is also ranked as the number-four quarterback in the nation by collegefootballnews.com and the number-seven quarterback in the nation by The Sporting News. The Sporting News also selected Dantzler as the preseason ACC Player of the Year. He is one of five candidates at quarterback for the Heisman as listed by ESPN the Magazine, and is one the official list of candidates for the Davey O’Brien award as announced by their committee.

Center Kyle Young is a consensus top four center in the nation. He is ranked as the fourth best center in the land by Lindy’s, collegefootballnews.com and The Sporting News. Athlon Magazine ranks the native of Clemson as a third-team All-American and thus the third best center in the country.

Will Merritt, like Young, already a Clemson graduate, is listed as the seventh best offensive guard in the nation by Lindy’s, the 12th best at his position by The Sporting News. Runningback Travis Zachery is rated 11th among running backs in the nation by The Sporting News and 25th best at his position by Lindy’s.

Chad Carson is the only Clemson defender with a national position ranking. He is ranked as the 15th best outside linebacker in the nation by Lindy’s.

From a position standpoint, The Sporting News ranked Clemson’s backfield sixth in the nation, and listed Death Valley as the top stadium in the ACC. Lindy’s ranked Clemson’s backfield seventh best in the country. Collegefootballnews.com ranked Clemson’s quarterback contingent as the third best in the nation.

Clemson’s Greg Walker Chosen for Leadership Conference Clemson offensive lineman Greg Walker was selected as one of 300 student-athletes to participate in the 2001 NCAA Foundation Leadership Conference. The co-starter at right guard on Clemson’s 2001 football team attended the conference at Disney’s Wide World of Sports from May 28 through June 1.

Part of the CHAMPS/Life Skills Program, the NCAA holds the conference as a means to promote better communication among student-athletes, coaches, administrators and communities. The chosen athletes for the 2001 conference will represent all 22 NCAA sports and more than 20 countries. Walker was the only Clemson student-athlete who was chosen to attend.

A strong overall performance in spring practice earned Walker a co-starting spot on Clemson’s depth chart going into the 2001 season. Walker appeared in all 12 games last season, primarily on special teams. The native of Sumter, SC got off to a fine start in 2000, playing 81 of his 115 snaps over the first three games of the season. The rising red-shirt sophomore captured everyone’s attention against Duke, where he graded 100 percent for 17 plays – the highest grade for any Tiger lineman given a minimum of 10 plays in 2000.

Clemson Assistant Coaches Have Bowl Experience Clemson’s nine current assistant coaches and head coach Tommy Bowden have coached in a combined 82 bowl games entering the 2001 season. Of the current staff, Rick Stockstill has coached in the most bowl games, as the Gator Bowl against Virginia Tech was his ninth as a Clemson assistant. Defensive coordinator Reggie Herring has a lot of bowl gifts in his closet. He has coached in 15 as an assistant coach and played in three more at Florida State.

Two Clemson assistants have served as head coaches in bowl games. Brad Scott led South Carolina to its first bowl win in history when he defeated West Virginia in the 1994 Carquest Bowl. Mike O’Cain, hired as Clemson’s quarterbacks coach on Dec. 4, 2000, served as N.C. State’s head coach in three bowl games.

Name Position Player CU Bowl Overall
Tommy Bowden Head Coach 1 2 10
Rodney Allison Defensive Ends 3 2 7
Burton Burns Running Backs 3 2 3
Reggie Herring Inside linebackers 3 6 15
Jack Hines Defensive Backs 1 2 7
Mike O’Cain Quarterbacks 0 1 @9
Brad Scott Tight Ends 0 2 *14
Thielen Smith Defensive Line 2 2 4
Rick Stockstill Wide Receivers 3 9 9
Ron West Offensive Line 2 2 4
Totals 18 30 82
*Includes one bowl (win) as head coach of South Carolina
@Includes three games as head coach at N.C. State
Overall is total as a coach only

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