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Clemson Football Game Program Feature: NFL Tigers

Clemson Football Game Program Feature: NFL Tigers

Oct. 14, 2009

Gaines AdamsDE • Tampa Bay BuccaneersIn the NFL: Selected #4 overall in the 2007 NFL draft by the Buccaneers…considered one of the premier players in the 2007 draft class…first defender chosen in the draft…has appeared in 36 games, starting 28, including all 16 in the 2008 season and the first four in 2009 through October 10…led the Buccaneers with 6.5 sacks in 2008 and totaled 55 tackles along with two interceptions…had one interception returned for a touchdown (at Chicago)…played all 16 contests with eight starts as a rookie and started the playoff contest against the Giants…led all NFL rookies and was tied for second on the team with six sacks in 2007…finished the season with 55 tackles, six sacks, two caused fumbles, and four passes defended…posted the Buccaneers’ first blocked PAT since 1986…totaled six tackles against the Titans, including his first career sack…had five tackles and one sack of Eli Manning in the NFC Wild Card game against the Giants.

At Clemson: Tied for first (with Michael Dean Perry) in school history with 28 career sacks…had a sack in a school-record eight straight games as a senior…second in school history among defensive linemen with 21 pass breakups…second in school history for sacks in a season (12.5) as a senior…just the second unanimous All-American in Tiger history, joining Terry Kinard…ACC Defensive Player-of-the-Year as a senior…finalist for the Bronco Nagurski (best defensive player) and Ted Hendricks (best defensive end) Awards as a senior…returned a fumble 66 yards for a touchdown at Wake Forest in 2006 in a play that was a finalist for the Pontiac Game-Changing Performance-of-the-Year…earned his degree in 2006.

Chris ClemonsS • Miami DolphinsIn the NFL: Chosen in the fifth round of the 2009 NFL draft by the Miami Dolphins…listed as second-team strong safety on the Dolphins’ depth chart, but he has not appeared in a game in 2009.

At Clemson: Finished his career at Clemson with 323 tackles and five interceptions…started every game in each of his last three seasons…only player in school history to record a tackle in every game over a four-year career…part of a defense that finished in the top 25 in the nation in total defense, pass defense, and scoring defense from 2006-08…earned his degree in 2008.

James DavisRB • Cleveland BrownsIn the NFL: Chosen in the sixth round (#195 overall) of the 2009 NFL draft by the Cleveland Browns…in a preseason game on August 22, 2009, Davis had an 81-yard touchdown run against the Detroit Lions…played two games in 2009 before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury…had five carries and four receptions in his limited action.

At Clemson: Holds the Tiger record for rushing touchdowns in a career with 47…second in career rushing yards behind Raymond Priester…rushed for over 1,000 yards during his sophomore and junior seasons; he earned First-Team All-ACC honors in each of those years…as a sophomore, he set career highs for touchdowns (17) and yards (1,187)…rushed for 216 yards against #13 Georgia Tech in 2006, the most rushing yards by a Tiger since 1995…led Clemson in rushing four straight years, the only Tiger to accomplish that feat…second-team freshman All-American by…named MVP of the 2005 Champs Sports Bowl against Colorado.

Brian DawkinsS • Denver BroncosIn the NFL: Regarded as one of the top safeties in the NFL; he is a future NFL Hall of Fame candidate…debuted for the Denver Broncos in 2009…led the Broncos to a 4-0 start with 27 tackles and a recovered fumble…spent 13 seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles…seven-time Pro Bowl selection who is first on the Eagles’ all-time regular-season games played list (183)…one of just four players in NFL history to record at least 33 interceptions and 20 sacks…tied for first on the Eagles’ all-time interceptions list (34)…franchise leader with 109 career victories, including eight playoff wins…started a franchise-record 18 playoff games…earned Pro Bowl selections with the Eagles following the 1999, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2008 seasons…leads all former Tigers in Pro Bowl appearances…named the Eagles’ defensive MVP with a career-high 131 tackles in the 2002 season; he also recorded three sacks, two interceptions, and seven caused fumbles…against the Houston Texans in 2002, he became the first player in NFL history to have a sack, interception, recovered fumble, and receiving touchdown in a single game.

At Clemson: Second-team All-American as a senior in 1995; he had an ACC-high six interceptions, three of which came in one quarter against Duke…two-time All-ACC pick…in the top four in Clemson history in career takeaways (15)…finished his career with 234 tackles and 11 interceptions…Senior Bowl invitee…earned his degree in education…inducted into the Clemson Hall of Fame in 2009.

Nick EasonDT • Pittsburgh SteelersIn the NFL: In his third year with the Steelers…drafted by the Denver Broncos but never played in a game; he was on their practice squad…has 58 tackles in 46 career games…had 25 tackles and two sacks while playing all 16 games in 2005 with the Browns…has 26 tackles in 31 games with the Steelers since 2007…reserve defensive end in the 2008 NFL Playoffs…recorded a tackle in the AFC Championship Game…played on the Super Bowl Championship Steelers in 2008.

At Clemson: First-Team All-ACC pick in 2002 when he had 64 tackles and seven sacks as a defensive tackle…strength All-American during his senior season…in the top 20 on the Tiger career sack list (15)…played in the Senior Bowl in 2003…was a five-time winner of the ACC Top Six Award, given to student-athletes who exhibit extraordinary community service; he is the only five-time winner in Clemson history…earned his marketing degree in 2001, then earned his graduate degree in 2003.

Dustin FryC • Carolina PanthersIn the NFL: Drafted in the fifth round of the 2007 NFL draft by the Rams…made his NFL debut at Cincinnati in December of 2007…on the active roster for eight games during the 2007 season, as he played four games that year…returned to the practice squad in 2008…released and picked up by the Cleveland Browns…was a member of their practice squad for the remainder of the year…currently a member of the Carolina Panthers’ practice squad. At Clemson: Played 47 games (36 starts) in his four-year career (2003-06)…had 171 career knockdown blocks…first-team All-ACC by College Football News as a senior…became the first Tiger freshman to start a game at center since 1980…earned his degree in 2006.

Tyler GrishamWR • Pittsburgh SteelersIn the NFL: Signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers as an undrafted free agent in April of 2009…currently a member of the Steelers’ practice squad.

At Clemson: Played 50 games (23 starts)…had 132 receptions and eight touchdowns during his career…seventh in the ACC in receptions (60) as a junior…named a permanent co-captain of the team as a senior…earned his degree in 2009.

Michael HamlinS • Dallas CowboysIn the NFL: Selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the fifth round (#166 overall) of the 2009 NFL draft…listed as second-team free safety for the 2009 season, but he has not appeared in a game.

At Clemson: Started 43 games from 2005-08…totaled 326 tackles and 22 pass breakups during his career…his 14 interceptions are third-most in school history…registered eight tackles in his first start as a freshman…won the Iron Man award for defense during his sophomore season…tied for the team lead in takeaways (4) as a sophomore…named team captain during his junior and senior seasons…earned Second-Team All-ACC honors as a junior and First-Team All-ACC accolades as a senior…earned an All-America honorable mention after a career-high 110 tackles and six interceptions in 2008…earned his degree in 2008.

LeRoy HillLB • Seattle SeahawksIn the NFL: Selected in the third round (#98 overall pick) of the 2005 NFL draft by the Seahawks…played in the Super Bowl during his rookie year and started nine games; he had 72 tackles and eight sacks that season…started all 15 games played in 2006…finished third on the team with a career-high 92 tackles in 2006…had 81 tackles in 14 games in 2007…led the team in tackles in both 2007 postseason contests…recorded a career-high 12 tackles against San Francisco in 2008…ended the season with 84 tackles, third-most on the team…started the 2009 season-opener against the Rams, but suffered an injury and has not played since.

At Clemson: Two-time First-Team All-ACC pick…ACC Defensive Player-of-the-Year in 2004…first-team All-American by and third-team All-American by AP as a senior…had 48 tackles for loss and 16 sacks in his career…in the top 20 in Tiger history in sacks and tied for fifth in tackles for loss…in the top 20 in school history with 311 tackles, including 251 in his final two seasons.

Tye HillCB • Atlanta FalconsIn the NFL: First-round draft pick (#15 overall) of the Rams in 2006…had an interception against the Broncos in his first career game…had 42 tackles and a team-high three interceptions in his first season…named to the NFL All-Rookie team…had 30 tackles in 2007…missed eight games in 2007 due to a back problem and was placed on injured reserve in December…recorded 22 tackles in four games in 2008 before suffering a season-ending knee injury…traded to Atlanta before the 2009 season, but he has yet to play in a game.

At Clemson: First-team All-American as a senior when he was also a first-round draft pick and earned his degree; he was one of just seven Division I players to do all three that year…finalist for the Thorpe Award, the first Tiger to receive that honor…First-Team All-ACC in 2005…set the school record for pass breakups (21) in 2004, among the top-10 figures in the nation.

Phillip MerlingDL • Miami DolphinsIn the NFL: Selected with the first pick of the second round (#32 overall) in the 2008 NFL draft…played 15 games (one start) during his rookie season…recorded his first career interception off of Brett Favre and returned it for a score…became the first Dolphin rookie to return an interception for a touchdown since 1996…also totaled 26 tackles and one sack of Patriot quarterback Matt Cassel…had two tackles in the AFC Wild Card game against Baltimore…recorded four tackles in the 2009 season-opener…has played every game in 2009 and has registered one sack.

At Clemson: Played 38 games while starting his last 26…had 146 tackles with 12 sacks and 45 quarterback pressures in his career…added four caused fumbles, one recovered fumble, and seven pass breakups…Second-Team All-ACC pick as a junior…went pro after his junior year…fifth on the team with a career-high 78 tackles as a senior…first Tiger defensive lineman since 1983 to earn ACC Player-of-the-Week honors three times in one year…second-team freshman All-American and recipient of Clemson’s 12th Man Award for defense as a freshman.

Trevor PryceDT • Baltimore RavensIn the NFL: In his fourth year with the Ravens…has totaled eight tackles and three sacks in 2009…started 16 games in 2008 and recorded 35 tackles and 4.5 sacks…also had a career-high six pass breakups…played only five games in 2007 and registered 17 tackles and two sacks…one of the top defensive linemen in the NFL over the last 11 years; he is a four-time Pro Bowl selection…has 83 sacks in his career, including three in 2009…started all 16 regular-season games for the Ravens in 2006, registering a career-high 60 tackles and a team-best 13 sacks…named to Sports Illustrated’s All-Pro team in 2006…named captain of the Bronco defense in 2003 when he had 8.5 sacks and 44 tackles…selected to the Pro Bowl for the fourth straight year in 2002…started all 16 games at left defensive end in 2002 and had 55 tackles, including a team-high nine sacks, which tied for seventh-most in the AFC…voted to start in the Pro Bowl in 2001; he was second-team All-Pro by AP…had 13 sacks in 1999 when he was second in the AFC; it was among the top-10 figures in franchise history…member of two Super Bowl Championship teams in his first two seasons in the NFL.

At Clemson: Transferred from Michigan to play one year (1996) at Clemson…First-Team All-ACC selection in 1996…started off slow but flourished by the end of the season, as he had 20 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks…defensive MVP in the 1996 Peach Bowl against Louisiana State with three tackles for loss, a sack, and a caused fumble…played 20 games at Michigan in 1993,94…turned professional a year early out of Clemson and was a first-round draft pick.

Barry RichardsonOT • Kansas City ChiefsIn the NFL: Selected in the sixth round (#170 overall) of the 2008 NFL draft…saw action in six games on special teams in 2008…currently on the practice squad with the Chiefs.

At Clemson: Four-year starter at Clemson (2004-07)…appeared in 49 games (45 starts)…Clemson’s first first-year freshman to be considered a full-time starter on the offensive line since 1943…First-Team All-ACC pick as a junior and senior…became the first Tiger to win ACC Offensive Lineman-of-the-Week honors since 2001 after a stellar performance against All-American Mario Williams at N.C. State as a sophomore…earned his degree in 2007.

Dorell ScottDT • Saint Louis RamsIn the NFL: Selected in the fourth round (#103 overall) of the 2009 NFL draft…currently a member of the Saint Louis Rams; he has played one game in 2009…listed as the backup right defensive tackle.

At Clemson: Appeared in 50 games…started his final 38 games…recorded 161 tackles, nine sacks, and one interception in his career…also totaled 18.5 tackles for loss and 36 quarterback pressures.

Chansi StuckeyWR • Cleveland BrownsIn the NFL: Drafted in the seventh round (#235 overall) in 2007 by the New York Jets…spent 2007 on injured reserve…in 2008, he became the first wide receiver to catch a touchdown pass in each of his first three games in the NFL since 2002…caught the first touchdown pass thrown by Brett Favre as a member of the Jets…first New York Jets’ rookie to score a touchdown in his NFL debut since 1980…finished the season with 32 receptions and three touchdowns…played 15 games (two starts) in 2008…had 11 catches for 120 yards for the Jets in his first four games of 2009 before he was traded to the Cleveland Browns on October 7.

At Clemson: First-Team All-ACC pick in consecutive seasons (2005,06)…had 141 receptions for 1,760 yards and seven touchdowns in his career (2003-06)…became the first Tiger since the 1940s to score a touchdown via a pass, rush, punt return, and reception in a career…recorded seven 100-yard receiving games in his career…earned his degree in sport management in 2006.

Charlie WhitehurstQB • San Diego ChargersIn the NFL: In his fourth season as a reserve quarterback with the San Diego Chargers behind starter Philip Rivers…appeared in two games and scored a touchdown on a 14-yard run in his first professional game against the Tennessee Titans in the 2006 season…inactive in 2007 and 2008 as the Chargers’ third-string signal-caller…has not played in a game during the 2009 season.

At Clemson: Led Clemson to a victory over Colorado in the 2005 Champs Sports Bowl in his final game to give him 25 wins as a starting quarterback, second-most in Clemson history…four of his 25 career victories as a starter came against rival South Carolina, as he is the only quarterback in the history of the series to post a 4-0 record…had eight fourth-quarter comeback victories in his career, tied for most among Division I quarterbacks who were active in 2005…had seven career wins over top-25 teams, tying the school career record…Second-Team All-ACC selection in 2005…held 46 Clemson records when he graduated, including marks for season completion percentage, career passing yards, career completions, career completion percentage, and career passing touchdowns…had eight 300-yard passing games in his career, more than any other Tiger in history…finished his career third in ACC history in career passing yards and fourth in career total offense…earned his degree in 2005.

Summaries written by Greg Jansen, a junior from Columbia, SC and an intern in the Clemson Sports Information Office. All NFL stats through games of October 11, 2009.