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Tigers Open ACC Schedule Clemson opens its ACC schedule at Georgia Tech on Saturday evening at 7:00 PM. The Tigers will play their next eight games against ACC opponents before finishing the season against state rival South Carolina. This is the first time since 2000 and just the third time in the last 10 years that Clemson has played eight consecutive games against conference opponents. Clemson will have one open date in that eight-game stretch, September 27. The league finale and the final home game at Death Valley for Clemson’s seniors will take place November 15 against Duke. Clemson’s regular season finale will be at South Carolina on November 22.
This is the 51st ACC season and Clemson has a 30-19-1 record in its previous 50 ACC openers. Tommy Bowden is 3-1 in ACC openers as Clemson head coach. He defeated Virginia in 1999 in his league opener, also his first overall win at Clemson and his first win over a top 25 opponent, then downed Wake Forest in 2000. In 2001, Virginia upset a top 25 Clemson team in the ACC opener at Death Valley on the last play of the game. Clemson defeated Georgia Tech in its league opener last year at Clemson.
Clemson is 16-10 in ACC openers at home, 13-9-1 on the road and 1-0 at neutral sites. Clemson Has More ACC Wins than Any Other School Clemson was a charter member of the ACC in 1953 and this Saturday’s game against Georgia Tech begins Clemson’s 51st season in the league. Clemson has a record of 198-107-6 in conference play for its previous 50 seasons, a winning percentage of .647. Clemson ranks first among league teams in conference wins and obviously needs just two ACC wins to become the first conference school to reach 200 league wins.North Carolina is second with 177, Maryland is third with 175 and NC State is fourth at 171. Clemson has a winning record against every other ACC team since the league began with the exception of Florida State.
Clemson also leads the ACC in conference championships with 13. Florida State is second with 10, followed by Maryland with nine (this includes co-championships). NC State and Duke are tied for fourth with seven wins apiece. Every current league member has won the league title at least once. Of course Miami (FL) and Virginia Tech will join the ACC next season.
September Has Been Good Month For Tigers Clemson is 2-0 in the month of September, continuing a trend under Coach Tommy Bowden. The Tigers are 14-3 under Bowden in the month of September, including a 13-1 record in the month in the decade of the 2000s. Clemson’s only loss in September since the turn of this century was a 26-24 loss to Virginia on the last play of the game in 2001. The only other September losses under Bowden were to Marshall and Virginia Tech in 1999.
Clemson Veterans versus Georgia TechEric Coleman (DT) – Had two tackles and a pass breakup in last year’s 24-19 victory.Airese Currie (WR) – Has yet to catch a pass in 65 snaps against the Yellow Jackets in his two previous years.Tony Elliott (WR) – Had three receptions for 85 yards and a 44-yard touchdown catch against the Yellow Jackets in 2002.Maurice Fountain (DE) – Had two tackles in 18 snaps in the 2002 contest; had a sack and two tackles for loss as a freshman in 2001.Toure Francis (CB) – Had four tackles and a pass breakup in the 2001 meeting with Georgia Tech; had a blocked punt in the first quarter of the 2000 game that gave Clemson an early lead.Ben Hall (TE) – Had two catches for 14 yards in the 2002 win; played in 21 snaps but did not catch a pass in 2001.Derrick Hamilton (WR) – Had 256 all-purpose yards (including a 77-yard touchdown run and 79-yard punt return) in the 2002 contest, the fifth highest single-game output in Clemson history; had seven catches for 75 yards as a freshman in 2001.William Henry (OT) – Made his first career start against Georgia Tech in 2002 and responded with seven knockdown blocks.LeRoy Hill (LB) – Has totaled five tackles in limited snaps against the Yellow Jackets in his first two years at Clemson.Tye Hill (RB) – Had five carries for 13 yards and also had a special teams tackle in 2002.J.J. Howard (DE) – Had four tackles, including a sack and an additional tackle for loss, in the 2002 game; had two tackles in the 2001 contest.Aaron Hunt (PK) – Has made 1-4 field goals in his career against the Yellow Jackets, a 34-yard attempt last year. Has made all 12 extra point attempts in three years.Chad Jasmin (RB) – Had one carry against the Yellow Jackets in 2001; had two special teams tackles in 2000.Cedric Johnson (OG) – Led Clemson in film grade versus Georgia Tech in 2002.Yusef Kelly (RB) – Had 20 carries for 89 yards, and caught three passes in the 2002 win over the Yellow Jackets.John Leake (LB) – Had 11 tackles in the 2002 game; totaled 19 tackles, including one for loss, in the 2001 win in Atlanta.Justin Miller (CB) – Had five tackles and a pass breakup in just 20 snaps in 2002.DeJuan Polk (DT) – Had one tackle in 21 snaps last year.Eric Sampson (WHIP) – Had just two tackles, but made the game-clinching interception versus the Yellow Jackets in 2002; had three tackles in the 2001 game.Khaleed Vaughn (DE) – Had five tackles, two for loss and a sack in 2002; had eight tackles in the 2001 game; played in 28 snaps in the 2000 game.Gregory Walker (OT) – Had double-figure total in knockdown blocks in the 2002 contest.Donnell Washington (DT) – Had three tackles and a quarterback pressure in the 2002 game; also had three tackles in 2001.Bobby Williamson (TE) – Had two receptions for 17 yards and was the recipient of a flip toss from then quarterback Willie Simmons for a crucial touchdown just before half.Kevin Youngblood (WR) – Had four receptions in last year’s game; Had two catches for 10 yards and two special teams tackles in the 2000 contest.
Clemson-Tech Series Has Been Thrilling Georgia Tech has a 43-22-2 lead in the series with Clemson dating to a 23-0 Tiger win in Augusta, GA in 1898, just the 11th game in Clemson football history. In fact, Clemson won the first four games of the series, including games in 1902 and 1903 when John Heisman was at the helm. Clemson defeated Georgia Tech in Atlanta 73-0 in 1903 with Heisman as head coach. The series was incredibly close in the 1990s and that trend has continued in the 21st century. Each of the last seven games have been decided by five points or less. That includes a streak of six straight games decided by exactly three points from 1996-2001
That might be a first in college football history. We aren’t talking by three points or less, but exactly three points. Clemson has won the last two games, but Tech has won four of the last seven. Clemson was victorious last year by a 24-19 score and by a 47-44 score in overtime in Atlanta in 2001.
The Tigers have an 8-4 advantage in games at Clemson, but Georgia Tech leads 39-11-2 in games played in Atlanta. Every game between the two teams in the 1907-74 era was held in Atlanta. Clemson’s only wins in those 36 meetings came in 1907, 1936, 1945 and 1969. The 1969 victory was Frank Howard’s final season as head coach.
The first time Georgia Tech played in Clemson’s stadium was 1974, a 21-17 Clemson victory. Clemson has an 11-9 advantage in the series, regardless of site, since Tech joined the ACC in 1983. Tech actually joined for the 1979-80 academic year, but did not compete for the football championships until 1983.
Clemson had a four -game winning streak over Georgia Tech snapped in 1997 when Tech won in Atlanta, 23-20. Clemson then broke a four-game Tech winning streak last year with a 47-44 overtime victory.
Since Tommy Bowden has been the head coach, the Clemson vs. Georgia Tech games have been high scoring as the average score of 35.3-34.8 in Clemson’s favor. In those four games the total score has been 141-139 in favor of the Tigers.
Woodrow Dantzler had one of the best all-around games of his career with 164 yards rushing and 254 yards passing in the victory in 2001. He threw for two scores and ran for two, including a 38-yard “Hail Mary Run” on the last play of the first half to cut Tech’s lead to 19-14 at intermission. His 63-yard scoring pass to J.J. McKelvey with 1:58 left put Clemson ahead by three, but Tech tied the count with a 20-yard field goal with just six seconds left. Dantzler’s “walk-off” 11-yard touchdown in overtime gave Clemson the win.
Clemson has had just two games in its history in which both teams scored in the 40s. They have been the last time the two teams have met in Atlanta. Tech won 45-42 in 1999 and Clemson won 47-44 in 2001 in Atlanta. As you can see by the chart below, 11 of the last 13 meetings have been decided by five points or less and nine of those have been by three points or less.
Clemson vs. Georgia Tech Recent Thrillers
Year ResultEnding 1990 Tech 21-19 Gardocki missed 60 yard FGwith 1 minute left 1991 Clemson 9-7 Ronald Williams 2 yard run with2:06 left, Sisson missed 44-yard FG with 8 seconds left tipped byWayne Simmons 1992 Tech 20-16 Clemson never in Tech territory inlast 5 minutes 1993 Clemson 16-13 Tech’s Jarrett misses 41-yard FGwith 3:01 left 1996 Clemson 28-25 Nealon Greene 1 run with 4:10left 1997 Tech, 23-20 Chambers 20-yard FG with 1:54 left 1998 Tech,24-21 Joe Burns 1-yard run, 1:00 left 1999 Tech, 45-42 Hamiltonthrew for 5 TDs and 322 yards for Tech 2000 Tech, 31-28 Godseythrows TD pass to Watkins with 7 seconds 2001 Clemson, 47-44Dantzler scores on 11 yard run to end game in OT 2002 Clemson,24-19 Eric Sampson intercepts pass at Clemson 16 with 1:12 left.
Clemson has Made Offensive Improvement Clemson was shut out in its first game against Georgia, but the Tiger offense has made improvement over the last two games. Clemson has 65 points over the last two contests, including 55 in the first halves of victories over Furman and Middle Tennessee. The Tigers have averaged 453 yards of total offense in the two games combined, including nearly 300 yards per game passing.
Of course, Clemson will be challenged by an outstanding Georgia Tech defense that allowed just 17 total points to top 10 teams from Auburn and Florida State. The Yellow Jackets are 22nd in the nation in total defense, 16th in rushing defense and 19th in scoring defense entering Saturday’s game in Atlanta.
Heisman Coached at Both Schools John Heisman is a common denominator in the histories of both Clemson and Georgia Tech. He served as head coach at Clemson from 1900-03 and posted a 19-3-2 record. The .833 winning percentage is still the best in Clemson history given a minimum of 20 games coached. Heisman left Clemson and went to Georgia Tech for the 1904 season. He remained as head coach at Georgia Tech for 16 years, post a record of 102-29-7, a .779 winning percentage.
Heisman is the most successful coach in this series. He had a 12-2-1 record in the game, as he was 2-0 for Clemson against Georgia Tech and 10-2-1 coaching for Georgia Tech against Clemson. In 1903 he led Clemson to a 73-0 win over Georgia Tech. Two years later he led Tech to a 17-10 victory over Clemson.
Overall, Heisman coached at the college level for 36 years at Oberlin, Akron, Auburn, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Pennsylvania, Washington and Jefferson, and Rice. He posted a record of 185-70-17 for those 36 years. He was named to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1954.
Bowden Successful on ACC Road Clemson Head Coach Tommy Bowden enters his fifth ACC season with a 19-13 record in league play. He has had a better league mark on the road than at home, as his Tigers are 10-6 on the ACC road and just 9-7 in ACC home games since he became the leader of the Tigers in 1999. That league road record includes a 7-1 record on Tobacco Road (four North Carolina schools). Bowden has lost just once on Tobacco Road, at NC State in 1999 by a 35-31 score. He has won seven straight ACC road games in the state of North Carolina.
Between 1999-02, Clemson’s 19-13 ACC record is tied for second best in the league with Georgia Tech and Virginia. Florida State has the best league mark since Bowden came to Clemson (29-3). Maryland stands at 18-14, NC State is 16-16, North Carolina is 11-21, Wake Forest 10-22 and Duke 3-29.Last Year vs. Georgia Tech Linebacker Eric Sampson 35-yard interception return to midfield with under two minutes remaining thwarted a potential game-winning drive for the Georgia Tech offense and helped preserve a 24-19 victory for Clemson.
Before a crowd of 78,000 rain-soaked fans at Death Valley, Clemson earned both its second straight win of the season and over the Yellow Jackets, a feat the team had failed to accomplish since 1995.The Tigers improved their record to 3-1 in ACC season openers under Head Coach Tommy Bowden; and no member of the team deserved more credit for the victory than first-year defensive coordinator John Lovett. His game plan held Georgia Tech to 303 yards. In addition to the defensive effort, a number of Tigers had stellar individual performances that contributed to Clemson’s win.
One of those Tigers was receiver Derrick Hamilton, who had one of the best all-around performances in school history. Hamilton racked up 256 all-purpose yards, marking the fifth-best single-game total in school history. He finished the game with 97 rushing yards, including a 77-yard touchdown run that marked the longest scoring run by a Clemson player since 1993. He also had 96 yards on punt returns, including a 79-yard return deep into Georgia Tech territory that marked the longest punt return by a Tiger since Brian Mance returned a punt 88 yards against the Yellow Jackets in 2000.
Willie Simmons had a solid performance at the helm of the Tiger offense. He completed 18 of his 31 passes for 176 yards and two scores. His favorite receiving target was senior walk-on Tony Elliott, who had three catches for 85 yards and his first career touchdown reception in just 10 snaps of action. Tight end Bobby Williamson, who caught Simmons’ other touchdown pass, had his first career touchdown. Running back Yusef Kelly made a solid contribution of 89 rushing yards on 20 carries, including a 25-yard run around the left tackle as Clemson was trying to run time off the clock.
Senior defensive tackle Nick Eason led the individual efforts on defense. Eason seemed have a presence on every play as he tallied six tackles and two sacks. Rodney Thomas led the Tigers in tackles with 12 and recovered a fumble. His effort was complemented by teammates John Leake and Eric Meekins, who had 11 tackles each.
Clemson scored on its opening drive for the second consecutive game. Simmons completed four out of five passes en route to a 15-play, 53-yard drive that resulted in a 34-yard field goal by Aaron Hunt. After the Yellow Jackets were forced to punt, Hamilton took the next play around the right end and then back across the entire field for a 77-yard touchdown run that extended the Tigers’ lead to 10-0.
Georgia Tech running back Tony Hollings ran up the middle, bounced off would-be tacklers and raced around the left end for 72 yards and a touchdown on the next possession. Kicker Luke Manget was tackled in the backfield on the extra point attempt following a bad snap. Clemson’s offense struck one more time in the first half. Following Hamilton’s 79-yard punt return to the Georgia Tech five-yard line, Simmons rolled to his left on fourth-and-goal and connected on a two-yard “push pass” with Bobby Williamson with 38 seconds remaining. The extra point gave the Tigers a 17-6 halftime lead.
Clemson scored again early in the second half. After the Tiger defense forced another Georgia Tech punt, Simmons connected with Elliott on a 44-yard touchdown pass down the right sideline that gave Clemson its biggest lead of the game at 24-6 with 10:40 left in the third quarter. Clemson had 320 yards of total offense at this point in the game.
But, on the Yellow Jackets’ following drive, quarterback A.J. Suggs completed five out of six passes for 64 yards and guided the offense 78 yards down the field. His seven-yard touchdown pass to tight end John Foschi cut the Tigers’ lead to 24-13. After several scoreless stands by both defenses, the Yellow Jackets finally scored again with 3:43 remaining in regulation. Hollings capped off an eight-play drive with a one-yard touchdown run. Georgia Tech coach Chan Gailey elected to go for two points, and on the conversion attempt, Suggs’ completed pass to Foschi left him short of the goal line, where Meekins and Brian Mance promptly tackled him.
On the Tigers’ next drive, a bad snap from center resulted in a Clemson fumble just inside Yellow Jacket territory that was recovered by defensive back Ricardo Wimbush. Four plays later, with the Yellow Jackets driving to the Clemson 29-yard-line, Eric Sampson made a heroic effort by leaping into the air and intercepting Suggs’ pass at the 16-yard line. Sampson returned the ball close to midfield, and Clemson ran out the remaining 1:12 off the clock.
CU — Hunt 34 FG, 1st, 7:13, 15-53 CU — Hamilton 77 run (Hunt kick), 1st, 5:45, 1-77 GT — Hollings 72 run (Manget kick), 1st, 5:24, 1-72 CU — Williamson 2 pass from Simmons (Hunt kick), 2nd, 0:38, 4-5 CU — Elliott 44 pass from Simmons (Hunt kick), 3rd, 10:40, 6-66 GT — Foschi 7 pass from Suggs (Manget kick), 3rd, 4:55, 11-78 GT — Hollings 1 run (Manget kick), 4th, 3:43, 8-59 Att — 78,000
Rushing (Att – Yds – TD) CU — Hamilton 5-97-1, Kelly 20-89, T. Hill 5-13, Simmons 8-8, TEAM 3-(-12) GT — Hollings 23-147-2, J. Smith 1-4, Clinkscale 1-1, Suggs 7-(-50)
Passing (Com – Att – Yds – I – TD) CU — Simmons 18-31-176-1-2 GT — Suggs 17-31-201-1-1
Receiving (Rec – Yds – TD) CU — Youngblood 4-9, Elliott 3-85-1, Kelly 3-9, Hamilton 2-22, Williamson 2-17-1, Hall 2-14; Robinson 1-12, McKelvey 1-8 GT — Watkins 7-139, Clinkscale 4-5, Hollings 2-24, Foschi 2-14, Bridges 1-19, J. Smith 1-0
Interceptions (No – Yds) CU — Sampson 1-35 GT — Rhino 1-0
Punt Returns (No – Yds) CU — Hamilton 5-97 GT — Rhino 3-8
Kickoff Returns (No – Yds) CU — Hamilton 2-41, Robinson 1-18, Mance 1-12 GT — Watkins 2-26, Clinkscale 1-15
Clemson Defensive Stats Tackles– Rod. Thomas 12, Leake 11, Meekins 11, Eason 6, Mance 5, Miller 5, K. Vaughn 5, McNeal 5 Sacks–Eason 2-29, Howard 1-13, K.Vaughn1-9, McNeal 1-4 Tackles for loss– Eason 2-29, Howard 2-15, Vaughn 2-10, McNeal 2-5, Mance 1-14, Bodrick 1-3
Tigers Won Thriller Last Time in Atlanta Woody Dantzler’s decision in overtime to keep the ball and cut through the middle of the Georgia Tech defense resulted in a game-winning 11-yard touchdown run and a Tiger victory. The win over the Yellow Jackets was Clemson’s first against Tech since 1996, and continued an unbelievable streak of six straight years in which the annual contest between these schools has been decided by three points.
Clemson remained unbeaten in overtime games in school history, and by defeating the ninth-ranked Yellow Jackets in Atlanta, the Tigers accomplished their highest ranked road win since 1981when they defeated the eighth-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels en route to the National Championship.
Woody Dantzler finished with 164 yards rushing in addition to completing 18 of 32 passes for 254 yards, and in doing so eclipsed the 4,000 yard passing mark for his career. Dantzler became the all-time leading rusher among ACC quarterbacks on the winning score in overtime. His 418 yards of total offense fell short of only his 435-yard performance against Maryland in 1999 as the best performance in Clemson history.
Dantzler and the Tigers allowed Georgia Tech to draw first blood, when Luke Manget kicked a 22-yard field goal following a Travis Zachary fumble. Dantzler would complete all three of his passes on Clemson’s ensuing possession, and the Tigers would grab their first lead of the game when Travis Zachary plowed over the goal line for a three-yard touchdown run, making amends for his earlier fumble.
After Manget nailed a 47-yard field goal late in the first quarter, the Yellow Jackets would regain the lead when Will Glover caught George Godsey’s pass in the Tiger end zone for a 16-yard scoring effort. Tech would extend its lead to 19-7 when running back Joe Burns crossed the goal line from one yard out; the two-point conversion failed. Dantzler would lead the Tigers back into contention on the final play of the first half. Avoiding the Yellow Jacket pass rush, Dantzler broke up the middle, scampered to the outside of the field, and followed his blockers down the right sideline to the end zone for a 38-yard touchdown run as time expired, cutting the Tech lead to 19-14.
In the third quarter, Dantzler would waste little time picking up where he left off in the first half by connecting with Matt Bailey on a 55-yard completion, which also gave the Tigers their second lead of the game. Tech countered less than two minutes later when Godsey took advantage of the blitzing Tigers’ defense, throwing a 35-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Kelly Campbell to put the Yellow Jackets up by five 26-21. Dantzler would lead the Tiger offense on an ensuing possession that lasted over five minutes and covered 80 yards on 13 plays. The possession was finished off by Zachary’s second 3-yard touchdown run of the game, and Clemson led going into the fourth quarter by one, 27-26.
After forcing Georgia Tech to punt, Dantzler led the offense on an even more impressive drive, going 80 yards over 18 plays and taking 6:25 off the clock. Travis Zachary tasted the end zone for the third time at the end of the drive, and his two-yard run gave the Tigers their biggest lead of the game at 34-26. It was Clemson’s fourth straight touchdown drive of 79 yards or more. Joe Burns tallied his second one-yard score of the game on Tech’s next drive, and after the Tigers were forced to punt, Ford would put the Yellow Jackets back on top 38-34 with a 10-yard touchdown run with under four minutes to play in regulation.
The Tiger hopes of victory hung in the balance on their next offensive possession. Dantzler’s 63-yard completion to J.J. McKelvey on 4th-and-13 resulted in a touchdown and gave the Tigers their fourth lead of the game at 41-38. But Tech drove 87 yards in the remaining 1:58 and Manget’s third field goal would tie the game with six seconds to play in regulation, sending both teams into overtime.
Reggie Herring’s Tiger defense asked to be on the field first, and they did not disappoint. Luke Manget was forced to kick his career-high fourth field goal of the game after the Tigers stopped Joe Burns on 3rd down and 1 for a no gain. Clemson’s first and only possession will undoubtedly live on in the memories of many Tiger fans. Facing 3rd down and five, McKelvey added to his stellar performance with an acrobatic catch along the sideline for a first down at the 15. McKelvey’s catch helped set up the winning play, on which Dantzler kept the football on 3rd down and six, sliced up the middle following Travis Zachery , and finally scampered through the back of the end zone.
Clemson gained 502 yards of total offense on the day, second highest total ever against a ranked team. Dantzler was named national Player of the Week by USATODAY.com. John Leake led the defense with 19 tackles and Charles Hafley had 15 tackles and
Tigers from Georgia Georgia has been a top recruiting area for Clemson for many years. The Clemson campus is just 20 miles from the Georgia/South Carolina state line and, the distance between the Clemson campus and the Georgia campus is just about an 80-minute drive.
Clemson’s National Championship team of 1981 had 22 players from the state of Georgia and 23 from South Carolina. Recent Clemson All-Americans who came to Tigertown from the state of Georgia are Robert Carswell, Keith Adams (now with the Philadelphia Eagles), and Chris Gardocki (now with the Cleveland Browns). Carswell and Gardocki were from Stone Mountain, while Adams was from College Park. Nick Eason, Clemson’s only first-team All-ACC player last year, is now with the Denver Broncos and is from Lyons, GA.
This year is no exception when it comes to finding many Georgia natives on the Clemson roster. In fact, there are 23 players, four more than last year, including 22 currently on scholarship. Seven of the players are starters (including punter Cole Chason) and seven more are second team players. Fourteen of the players are freshmen.
This year’s list of Tigers from Georgia includes starting offensive tackle LeRoy Hill, starting offensive guard Cedric Johnson, starting center Tommy Sharpe, starting defensive end Khlaleed Vaughn and starting quarterback Charlie Whitehurst.
Clemson has four players who list Atlanta as there hometown: Khaleed Vaughn, Nigel Vaughn, Chip Myrick and Tim DeBeer. Vaughn is a starting defensive end and has 15 tackles, including three tackles for loss and two sacks.
Clemson Players from Georgia
Clemson Receiving Corps Among Nation’s Best Clemson’s group of wide receivers was ranked in the top 10 in the nation by various services during the preseason. They have lived up to that billing so far this season and have been a big reason for Clemson’s offensive surge the last two weeks. Clemson has passes for 599 yards in its last two games, both victories. The Tigers have three of the top 10 receivers in the ACC on a receptions per game and reception yards per game basis. All three are ranked in the top 75 in the nation in receptions per game.
Airese Currie, Derrick Hamilton have combined for 52 catches for 618 yards and four touchdowns so far this season. Currie leads the way with 20-261 and two scores, while Youngblood has 18-173. Hamilton has 14-184 and two scores. Both touchdown catches came against Middle Tennessee in Clemson’s 37-14 victory.
Currently, Currie is second in the ACC in receptions per game at 6.67 and he is second in yardage at 87 yards per game. He is also 23rd in the nation in catches and 39th in receiving yards. Youngblood is fifth in the league in catches and 10th in yardage, while Hamilton is seventh in catches and sixth in yardage.
Currie had his best career game against Middle Tennessee when he caught 12 passes for 133 yards. That broke the Clemson single game record for receptions in a game. The previous best was 11 by Phil Rogers against North Carolina in 1965 and by Rod Gardner against Marshall in 1999.
Youngblood had 10 catches against Furman, the second time in his career he has done that. There have now been 15 games in which a Clemson receiver has had at least 10 catches and eight of those performances have been under Tommy Bowden’s watch.
Youngblood Ties Career High Kevin Youngblood tied a career high with 10 catches against Furman on September 6. He had 10 catches against Louisiana Tech last year for 89 yards. Ironically, that was also the second game of the season. He now has 18 receptions for 173 yards this season.
Youngblood’s 10 receptions were the most ever by a Clemson player against Furman. He now joins J.J. McKelvey (2) as the only players in Clemson history to have two or more double figure reception games.
Youngblood has now caught at least one pass in 18 consecutive games dating back to the 2000 season. He won’t set that record as Jerry Butler holds the mark with 36 in a row, including every game he played over his last three seasons. Youngblood has had at least 100 yards in two of the last four games, as he had 7-134 in the Tangerine Bowl. The graduate student now has 90 career receptions, 13th on the Clemson career list. He has 173 receiving yards for the year and 989 for his career. Thus he needs just 11 yards to become the 20th player in Clemson history to reach 1000 receiving yards in a career.
Tigers Recorded 31 First Downs vs. Middle Tennessee Clemson’s offense ran off 31 first downs in the win over Middle Tennessee, the highest total for a Clemson team since 1981 when the Tigers had a record 35 first downs in a 82-24 win over Wake Forest. Clemson showed balance in that area, getting 12 first downs rushing, 16 passing and three via penalty. It was just the seventh time in Clemson history the Tigers had run off at least 30 first downs in a game. The total tied for third best overall. Clemson had 33 first downs in a win over Wake Forest in 1978. Saturday’s game tied the school record for a non-conference game. Clemson had 31 in a win over The Citadel in 1978.
Clemson Legend Jim Phillips Passes Away Jim Phillips, the legendary voice of the Clemson Tigers for 36 years, died early September 9 of an aneurysm of the aorta. Phillips was rushed to Greenville Memorial Hospital Monday evening. Surgeons performed seven hours of surgery before he passed away at 4:00 AM. Phillips had broadcast the Clemson vs. Furman game just two days prior to his death.
The dean of all broadcasters in the ACC, Phillips came to Clemson in 1968 and broadcast his first Tiger football game on September 21, 1968, a 20-20 tie between Clemson and Wake Forest. The Clemson vs. Georgia game of August 30, 2003 was his 400th Clemson football broadcast.
At 69-years-old, he was the only ACC play-by-play announcer to broadcast his school’s football, basketball, baseball and women’s basketball games. Over his career he broadcast over 2,000 Clemson sporting events.
Phillips also served as host of the Clemson football and basketball coach’s shows for many years, including this season. He broadcast his 1000th Clemson men’s basketball game at the 2002 ACC Tournament in Charlotte. He missed just one broadcast of a Clemson men’s basketball game in Littlejohn Coliseum, a time period that dates to November of 1968.
Phillips was one of the most honored broadcasters in his field. He was a five-time recipient of the South Carolina Broadcaster of the Year award. In 1992 he was presented the Master Broadcaster Award by the South Carolina Association of Broadcasters, the highest honor presented by that organization.
Phillips was inducted into the Clemson Athletic Hall of Fame in 1992 and attended the Hall of Fame induction banquet this past Friday evening. In 1998 he received the Skeeter Francis Award from the Atlantic Coast Conference Sportwriters Association for his contributions to ACC athletics. He was the first radio personality to receive the award.
In addition to his duties at Clemson, Phillips was the sports director at WYFF TV from 1968-80 and the sports director at WFBC Radio in Greenville for 25 years. He was also the voice of the Greenville Braves from 1984-90.
Born in Youngstown, OH on April 23, 1934, Phillips attending Ashland College in Ohio. He began his broadcasting career in 1953 at WATG Radio in Ashland, OH as a staff announcer. He worked for three more stations in the Buckeye State before becoming the voice of Kent State athletics in 1966. He was then hired by Frank Howard’s in the summer of 1968. Phillips is survived by his wife Ruth, son Jeff, daughter Terri, grand daughter Erica and sister Janine Regan.
Hill Continuing #43 Tradition The early season favorite for most improved player on the Clemson football team would be junior linebacker LeRoy Hill. The native of Haddock, GA leads the ACC in tackles for loss with eight and is among the league leaders in total tackles with 38 through just three games. He had 29 tackles all of last year in 13 games, now has exceeded that total in just three games in 2003. He has had at least two tackles for loss and one sack in each game this year.
Hill played in all 13 games last year, all in reserve. He was the top special teams tackler on the squad with 21, but played just 47 snaps from scrimmage at linebacker. He spent the 2002 season as a backup behind Eric Sampson. He has moved to middle linebacker and has flourished. He had just one tackle or loss last year and now has six this year. He has nine more tackles than any other Clemson player and has averaged a tackle every 4.05 plays.
Hill is carrying on the tradition of the number-43 at Clemson. Terry Kinard, who was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2001, wore that number between 1978-82. Kinard was a first-team AP All-American in 1981 and 1982 and was named one of the top 50 male athletes in ACC history. Keith Adams, who many compare Hill to in terms of his style of play as a linebacker, was an All-American at Clemson in 2000. He led the nation in tackles and tackles for loss in 1999. He had 35 tackles for loss that year to set a Clemson record.
Whitehurst Goes over 300 yards Clemson sophomore quarterback Charlie Whitehurst completed 23 of 28 passes for 298 yards and four touchdowns in Clemson’s win over Middle Tennessee. That computes to a passing efficiency of 219 for the game. According to NCAA statistics, that is the third best passing efficiency game so far this year in Division I college football (given a minimum of 20 attempts).
Whitehurst’s performance has moved him to number-one in Clemson history (ahead of Woody Dantzler) on Clemson’s passing efficiency list. He now has a rating of 135.6, better than Dantzler’s 132.46 figure. Whitehurst has an efficiency of 156.3 for this season, ahead of the Clemson single season record of 146 set by Mike Eppley in 1983. That figure is for a minimum of 15 attempts per game.
Whitehurst is also completing his passes at a 70.7 percent rate, ahead of the 63 percent rate of Brandon Streeter set in 1999. Whitehurst is now first in Clemson history in completion percentage and passing efficiency on a career basis. The native of Duluth, GA now has three separate games of at least four touchdowns passes, tying the school record. That is quite an accomplishment considering he has started just eight games in his career. He is already tied for ninth in Clemson history in touchdown passes with 16. Dantzler has that record with 41.
Whitehurst has completed 46 of his last 59 passes for 599 yards and six touchdowns against just one interception over the last two games, both Tiger victories. The 301-yard figure against Furman ranks as just the eighth 300-yard passing game in Clemson history for an individual, the second by Whitehurst. He actually holds the Clemson record with 420 passing yards at Duke last year in a 34-31 Clemson victory. He joins Streeter as the only quarterbacks in Clemson history with more than one 300-yard passing game. Streeter, now an assistant coach at Charleston Southern, had three during his career from 1997-99. Whitehurst went over the 2000-yard passing in the win over Furman and enters the Georgia Tech game with 2304. He is currently second in the ACC in passing yards per game and passing efficiency, trailing only Phillip Rivers of NC State.
Quarterbacks Have Flourished under Bowden Watching Charlie Whitehurst move up the Clemson career passing efficiency charts should be of no surprise. Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden has a history of developing outstanding quarterbacks since he became a head coach in 1997.
In his two years at Tulane, he guided Shawn King to many school and national records. In fact, in 1998, King led the nation with a passing efficiency rating of 183.3. That year he completed 223-328 passes for 3232 yards, 36 touchdowns and just six interceptions. That 183.3 rating remains the all-time NCAA record for passing efficiency rating over the course of a season.
One of the players Bowden recruited before he left Tulane was current Washington Redskins quarterback Patrick Ramsey. Ramsey played at Tulane through the 2001 season and is now the starting signal caller for the Washington Redskins. Ironically, one of his top receivers is former Tiger Rod Gardner. Ramsey was 17-23 for 185 yards in the Redskins season opening victory over the New York Jets.
Since Bowden has been at Clemson, 54 Clemson passing records have been set or tied. Brandon Streeter set the Clemson single season completion percentage in 1999 when he connected on 63.1 percent of his passes. Whitehurst is currently ahead of that pace at 70.7 percent for the season. In 2001, Woodrow Dantzler became the first player in college football history to pass for 2000 yards and rush for 1000 in the same season.
Walker, Johnson Lead Offensive Line Clemson’s offensive line has been led by graduate student Gregory Walker and junior Cedric Johnson. Walker, the starting right tackle had one of his best games as a Clemson Tiger in the win over Furman when he graded 93 percent from the offensive line coaches for his 67 plays. He had 12.5 knockdown blocks in the game six more than any other Clemson player. He also had two intimidation blocks and graded 99 percent in terms of effort grade. He was named the Clemson offensive player of the week by the Tiger coaching staff for the Furman game.
Walker is in his second year as a starter. He has started 16 consecutive games entering the Georgia Tech game. Last year he led the team in intimidation blocks with 24 and was second to Gary Byrd in knockdown blocks with 93. He led the team in film grade from the coaches seven times, more than any other Tiger offensive lineman. The native of Sumter leads the team in knockdown blocks this year through two games with 21.5.
Johnson has been Clemson’s highest graded offensive lineman in two of the three games so far this year. He had a 91 percent grade for the Middle Tennessee game last week and had a pair of knockdown blocks.Dean Contributing on Special Teams Clemson has played three first-year freshmen in each of the first three games. Brandon Pilgrim have both played on the offensive line in each game. Jad Dean has handled the kickoffs for the Tigers.
Clemson ranks second the ACC in kickoff return defense, allowing just 18.1 yards per kickoff return. Dean has had a lot to do with that. The opposition has had an average start of its own 23 yards line on 13 kickoffs so far this year. Dean has had four touchbacks. Clemson had just eight all of last year. Seven times this year the opposition has failed to get past the 21. Last year Clemson had just eight touchbacks on 67 kickoffs. The average start for the opposition was its own 29.Howard Scores touchdown J.J. Howard was a key reserve on three Clemson bowl teams from 2000-02. But, in his 15 plays per game, he usually came through with a big play. Regarded as one of the top athletes on the team, he is the first football player in school history to bench press 450 pounds, vertical jump 44 inches and run a sup 4.5 time in the 40 yard run.
Howard is now a starter in his final season, and the big plays have continued. He had the ultimate big play in the win over Furman when he picked up a fumble and raced 17 yards for a touchdown. It was the first takeaway (fumble or interception) of his Clemson career and it was the first touchdown by a Clemson defensive player since last year’s Georgia game when Bryant McNeal raced 55 yards for a score after a Bulldog fumble.
Howard had five total tackles, the fumble recovery and a seven-yard sack and was named the top defensive player by the Clemson coaches for the performance against the Paladins. For the first three games Howard has 10 tackles, including two sacks and five quarterback pressures.
Clemson Defense Holds Furman under 200 Yards Clemson’s defense held Furman to 174 yards of total offense in the Tigers 28-17 victory. It was the best total defense performance by the Tigers since Clemson allowed just 159 yards in a victory over Wake Forest in the 2000 season. Furman gained less than 100 yards rushing and less than 100 yards passing in last Saturday’s game. That was the first time Clemson held an opponent under 100 yards in both areas since the 2000 Citadel game. The Citadel had just 57 yards rushing and 48 passing in that game that was the opener of the 2000 season. Last Saturday’s game was just the sixth time in the last 10 years that Clemson has held the opposition to under 100 yards rushing and under 100 yards passing in the same game.
Leading the way defensively in terms of tackles for the second straight week was junior linebacker LeRoy Hill, who had 13 total tackles. Twelve of the tackles were first hits. For the second straight week, the native of Georgia had three tackles for loss. John Leake added 10 tackles in his 50 plays, while Travis Pugh and Jamaal Fudge added seven tackles apiece. Clemson’s defense collected 11 tackles for loss and three sacks. Clemson had four sacks in the season opener with Georgia.
Henry Catches Pass, Leads to Touchdown William Henry, and Curtis Baham each made their first career receptions in the victory over Furman on September 6. Baham, a sophomore from Louisiana, is a receiver, so no surprise there. But, Henry is an offensive tackle. He caught a deflected pass, ran five yards, fumbled, then Duane Coleman recovered and ran the final nine yards for a touchdown.
Henry was the first Clemson offensive lineman to catch a pass since Will Merritt did it against Marshall in 1999, the first game of the Tommy Bowden era. He was just nine yards from becoming the first Tiger offensive lineman to score a touchdown since the 1966 South Carolina game. That year Harry Olszewski scored when he recovered a fumble snap on the center-quarterback exchange, caught the ball and rambled 12 yards for a score.
In case you are wondering how that play was scored statistically…Henry was credited with a reception for five yards. Coleman was credited with nine reception yards and a reception touchdown, but no reception. Confused! Charlie Whitehurst was credited with 14 yards passing and touchdown pass. The reason Coleman does not get a catch is because you can’t credit two receptions on the same play. The catch always goes to the first receiver in a fumble situation.
Clemson vs. Georgia Review Georgia took advantage of three Clemson turnovers and went on to a 30-0 victory at Death Valley in the 2003 season opener. The game was played in front of 83,000 fans at Memorial Stadium, the largest home opening crowd in Clemson history. It was the first time Clemson had been shutout since the 1998 season at Florida State and the first time Clemson was shutout at home since the 1998 Virginia Tech game.
Georgia scored on its first possession on a 56-yard touchdown pass from David Greene to Fred Gibson. The Bulldogs scored on their second possession on a field goal that had been set up by Clemson fumble when Tiger center Tommy Sharpe became sick while centering the ball. Georgia scored another field goal that was set up by a Derrick Hamilton fumble after a completed pass from Charlie Whitehurst.
Clemson drove to the Georgia four-yard-line as Whitehurst completed 4-4 passes for 41 yards. But, a fourth-down-and-two pass attempt by tailback Duane Coleman that was intended for Whitehurst was broken up by the Bulldogs. That could have brought the score to 13-7 at halftime.
Georgia added a field goal in the third period and held a 16-0 lead heading into the final period. Clemson drove to the Georgia three early in the fourth period, but the drive stalled and David Pollock picked off a Whitehurst pass to keep Clemson off the scoreboard. The Bulldogs added two touchdowns in the last six minutes to put the game away.
Clemson was held to 35 yards rushing on 24 attempts, the second lowest total by the Tigers on the ground under Tommy Bowden. The Tigers had 199 yards total offense, also a low under Bowden and fewest by a Clemson team since the 1998 Florida State game. Duane Coleman led the Tigers in rushing with 12-29.
Charlie Whitehurst connected on 15 of his first 17 passes and ended the game 19-33 for 151 yards. Airese Currie was the top receiver with 7-56, while Derrick Hamilton added 5-46, all in the first half. Georgia was led by David Greene, who hit on 12-17 passes for 203 yards and a touchdown. Fred Gibson ended the game with 4-104 receiving, the only player in the game to have a 100-yard receiving or rushing game.
LeRoy Hill led Clemson defensively with 16 tackles, double any other Clemson player. He also had three tackles for loss in the finest all-around game as a Clemson player. Eric Sampson added eight tackles, while Khaleed Vaughn, Travis Pugh and John Leake had seven tackles apiece. Clemson’s defense did not force a turnover for just the second time in the last 14 games, but did record three sacks.
Clemson vs. Furman Review Clemson evened its record at 1-1 with a 28-17 victory over Furman in the second game of the season. Clemson jumped to a 28-7 lead in the first half behind the passing of Charlie Whitehurst and two scores on fumble returns.
Clemson scored on its opening possession when it went 85 yards in 14 plays, a drive that took 5:54 off the clock. Whitehurst connected with Kevin Youngblood five times on the drive, including a pair of key third-down plays. He hit the graduate student on a 26 yard pass on a third-and-12 from the Clemson 44. He hit Youngblood again on third-and-five from the Furman 12 for another first down. That set up Chad Jasmin five-yard run for Clemson’s first touchdown of the season.
Clemson scored again on its next possession, but this time it took just 10 seconds. Whitehurst connected with Airese Currie, an All-American on the Clemson track team, for a 72-yard score and a 14-0 Tiger lead. Furman came back to score a touchdown in the second period when quarterback Bo Moore connected with Brian Bratton on a 20-yard scoring pass. It was Furman’s first touchdown against Clemson since 1961, a span that covered nine games.
Clemson then took a commanding lead with two touchdowns that involved fumble recoveries over the last 5:08 of the first half. First, graduate student J.J. Howard recovered a bad Furman pitch and raced 17 yards for a touchdown. It was the first fumble recovery of Howard’s career. Then, Clemson scored with just 41 seconds remaining in the half when Duane Coleman picked up a loose ball after a fumble by offensive tackle William Henry, who had caught a batted pass to begin with. Coleman ran nine yards on a play that totaled 14 yards altogether.
Clemson had 264 yards total offensive in the first half, including 219 from quarterback Charlie Whitehurst, who was an impressive 16-18 in the first half against his father’s old school. Clemson held Furman to 89 yards total offense in the first half. Furman scored 10 points to none for the Tigers in the second half to make the final margin 28-17. Clemson missed two field goals in the second half. Penalties also cost the Tigers in the second half. Clemson had 11 penalties for 111 yards in the game. LeRoy Hill led the Clemson defense with 13 tackles, while John Leake added 10. Whitehurst finished the day 23-31 for 301 yards. Youngblood finished with 10 catches for 100 yards and Derrick Hamilton finished the day with 154 all-purpose yards. Coleman led Clemson rushers with 50 yards in 14 attempts, while Jasmin had 11-38 and a touchdown.Hamilton Now Third in All-Purpose Running Clemson junior wide receiver Derrick Hamilton had 154 all-purpose running yards against Furman and moved into third place on the Clemson all-time list. He moved ahead of Buddy Gore in the Furman game. He entered this season in sixth place on the list. He will remain in third place for a while, as Raymond Priester is next on the list at 4282 yards, ahead of Hamilton’s 3323 total. He added 136 all-purpose yards in the win over Middle Tennessee.
He now has 246 yards rushing, 1470 receiving, 1322 on kickoff returns and 421 on punt returns for his Clemson career. The all-purpose running record is 4391 by Travis Zachery from 1998-2001. Hamilton, who had an ACC sophomore record and league best 1883 yards last year, needs just 934 all-purpose yards to break Zachery’s record.
Hamilton led the ACC in kickoff returns as a freshman and led the league in all-purpose running as a sophomore. He had a career high 256 all-purpose yards in just 14 touches in the win over Georgia Tech last year at Death Valley. He also had games of at least 200 yards against Florida State, Virginia and Texas Tech. He had a 101-yard receiving game, a 97-yard rushing game, a 96-yard punt return game and a 113-yard kickoff return game during the 2002 season.
Hamilton is the first Clemson receiver in history to have at least 100 catches through the end of his sophomore season. He had four catches for 78 yards against Middle Tennessee and now has 119 for his career, seventh best in Clemson history. He needs just two catches at Georgia Tech to move into sixth place ahead of Tony Horne. He is also 11th in receiving yardage at 1470. Hamilton also holds the all-purpose running yards per game record for a career with 123.5 for his 28-game career as a Tiger.
Clemson All-Purpose Running Leaders
Clemson Career Reception Leaders
Clemson Depth Chart Breakdown Clemson has a balanced depth chart from a class standpoint. A look to the 22 starters shows that there are eight seniors, seven juniors, six sophomores and one freshman listed as first team players. The only freshman on the first team offense is guard Nathan Bennett who started against Georgia. He is the first freshman to start the season opener on the offensive line since 2000 when Jermyn Chester started at offensive guard against The Citadel in the season opener.
Clemson played 63 players against Georgia and 61 against Furman. The Tigers played 14 freshmen, 19 sophomores, 18 juniors and 12 seniors against the Bulldogs. That includes special teams players. On offense, Clemson played 28 players, including eight freshmen, 10 sophomores, five juniors and five seniors. Clemson played 23 players on defense, including two freshmen, six sophomores, 10 juniors and five seniors. Out of the 51 players who participated on scrimmage plays against Georgia, 10 were freshmen, 16 were sophomores, 15 were juniors and 10 were seniors.
Other Personnel Items of Interest from Georgia game: First-Year Freshman who played: (3) Brandon Pilgrim (OG), Jad Dean (PK)
Players who made first career start: (9) Nathan Bennett (OG), Duane Coleman (TB), Tye Hill (CB), Cole Chason (P)
Players who played in a game for the first time (18): Roman Fry (OT), Brandon Pilgrim (OT), Nathan Bennett (OG), Marion Dukes (OG), Chansi Stuckey (QB), Duane Coleman (TB), Reggie Merriweather (RB), Steven Jackson (FB), Michael Collins (WR), Kelvin Grant (WR), Anthony Waters (LB), Lionel Richardson (WHIP), Cole Chason (P), Jad Dean (PK), Buddy Williams (CB), Gaines Adams (DE)
Leake Named to Butkus Watch List Clemson linebacker John Leake has been named to the list of preseason Butkus Award candidates as announced by the Butkus Award committee. Leake is a senior from Plano, TX in his third season as a starting linebacker for the Tigers. The Award is named after all-time great college and pro linebacker Dick Butkus. The award will be presented to the nation’s top linebacker on December 12, 2003 in Orlando.
Leake was one of nine ACC players named to the preseason list. The others are Darryl Blackstock and Ahmad Brooks of Virginia, Michael Bouleware and Kendyll Pope of Florida State, Daryl Smith and Keyron Fox of Georgia Tech, Ryan Fowler of Duke and Joe Leon of Maryland.
Leake had 12 tackles in the win over Middle Tennessee, his high for the season so far, and now has 341 for his career, ninth on the Clemson all-time list. He moved ahead of former teammate Rodney Thomas in the Furman game with his 10 tackles. Next on the list is Robert Carswell at 374.
A starter in 28 consecutive games entering the Georgia Tech game, he reached double figures in tackles in 11 of the 13 games a year ago. He has 29 tackles so far this season, second on the club. Leake is one of three Clemson players on preseason award lists for 2003. Earlier, Justin Miller was named as a preseason candidate for the Jim Thorpe Award, which is given to the top defensive back in the nation, and Aaron Hunt was named to the Lou Groza Award list, which is given to the nation’s top placekicker.
Clemson Career Tackle Leaders
Clemson has Eight Graduates on RosterThe 2003 Clemson team has already tied a school record and the kickoff of the season opener has not even taken place. This year’s team has eight graduates on its roster, tying the Clemson record set by last year’s team. Now in his fifth year as Clemson head coach, Tommy Bowden has had 27 players earn degrees before the end of their eligibility, more than any other five-year period in Clemson history.
The current list includes two players, William Henry, who have actually had their degrees for over a year. They are playing their final two seasons as graduate students.
The current list is not filled with walk-ons. Seven of the eight players are starters, and wide receiver Tony Elliott can be a starter when Clemson goes to a four wide receiver lineup. He was among the team leaders in yards per catch last year. All eight graduate student-athletes on the Clemson roster this year are African American. Each year the NCAA issues a graduation rate report that breaks statistics down by race. In this year’s report, the 1996-97 academic year was used in its study. Clemson had a perfect 9-9 in African American graduation rate from that class and an 82.4 percent overall.
Clemson Graduates on 2003 Team
Hunt Fifth in Clemson History in Scoring Aaron Hunt enters the Georgia Tech game with 38 field goals in 54 career attempts. He made a 42-yarder in the win over Middle Tennessee in his only attempt. He has also kicked 134-139 extra points for a total of 248 career points. He is fifth in scoring in Clemson history on a career basis.
A year ago he was 17-22 on field goals. He had made 28 of his last 35 field goals. He has missed just one extra point each of the last three years (including this season) Hunt scored in each of the first 36 games he played in his career, a Clemson record. That streak was broken when Clemson was shut out by Georgia in the opener. Hunt missed a 52-yard field goal in that game and thus was charged with a game played, ending his streak.
He did not play against NC State last year when Clemson lost 38-6, as the Tigers did not attempt a field goal or extra point. He has 241 total points and needs 54 points to break Nelson Welch’s record. He has scored at least 74 points in each of his first three seasons with the Clemson program. He is also fifth in school history in career field goals. Welch holds the record, an ACC mark as well, with 72.
Clemson Career Scoring Leaders
Miller/Hamilton Both In top 30 in Kickoff Returns Clemson has one of the top kick return duos in the nation. Each of the last two ACC kickoff return champions have come from Clemson. Derrick Hamilton won the ACC kickoff return championship in 2001, while Justin Miller won the title last year. Miller had a 35.1-yard average last year on 13 returns. He did not have enough returns to rank nationally, but had enough to lead the ACC.
Both players could be involved in the punt return game as well. Hamilton averaged over 10 yards a return last year and has 400 career punt return yards. Hamilton has a 30.0 average so far this year to rank first in the ACC, while Miller is second with a 26.5 average. Both have also worked at returning punts so far this year. Both are ranked in the top 25 in the nation in kickoff returns this week, as Hamilton is 11th and Miller is 23rd.
Football Graduation Rate 11th in NationThe graduation rate for Clemson football players who entered the University during the fall of 1996 is 78 percent, 11th best in the nation among the 117Division I-A schools according to figures released by the NCAA this week. That includes a graduation rate of 89 percent among African Americans, the seventh best percentage in the nation among Division I-A schools.
The NCAA released its graduation rate data for student-athletes who entered school in the 1996-97 academic year. Clemson trailed only Rice, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, Northwestern, Hawaii and Notre Dame when it came to graduation rate among African American football players who entered that year. Boston College, Duke, Stanford and Penn State were among the schools below Clemson’s 89 percent figure.
Clemson would have had a 100 percent rate had it not counted a student-athlete who transferred just two weeks after school began and never suited up for a game. NCAA policies call for schools to count scholarship athletes who enroll and begin classes. The study also did not count two players, Mike Seth and Jason Gamble, who entered in January of 1996. Both of those student-athletes also graduated, but the NCAA does not count student-athletes who entered at mid-year.
NCAA figures examine scholarship athletes only. Student-athletes who transfer to other institutions, even if they leave in good academic standing and graduate from the second school, are classified as non-graduates for the initial institution.
As far as overall graduation rate among football players who entered that year, Boston College had the highest figure in the nation at 95 percent, while Notre Dame was second at 92 percent. Clemson was third among ACC schools with its 78 percent, trailing only Wake Forest (86 percent) and Duke (83 percent).
“These are good numbers, it is a testimony to the work that is being done by our staff at Vickery Hall,” said Clemson Head Coach Tommy Bowden. “Our coaches have emphasized academics since we came to Clemson and the results have been good. We certainly want to continue to improve and strive to have all of our players earn their degree from Clemson.”
Clemson has eight players, including seven starters on the 2003 team who already have their undergraduate degree, tying the school record for active graduates on the same team. Twenty-seven Clemson football players have earned their degree before the end of their playing career since Bowden came to Clemson in 1999. That is the high figure for any five-year period in Clemson history.
Clemson had a 66 percent graduation rate for scholarship student athletes in all sports who entered during the 1996-97 academic year, an increase of 19 percent over the previous year. The graduation rate for student-athletes who entered that year was just six percent below the 72 percent graduation rate of the overall Clemson student body.
Top Football Graduation Rates, Division I Institutions (Student-athletes who entered in 1996-97) Overall African Americans Rk School % Rk School % 1. Boston College 95 1. Rice 100 2. Notre Dame 92 Vanderbilt 100 3. Vanderbilt 91 Northwestern 100 4. Wake Forest 86 Hawaii 100 Penn State 86 Wake Forest 100 6. Rice 83 6. Notre Dame 92 Duke 83 7. Clemson 89 8. Stanford 82 8. Boston College 88 9. Northwestern 81 Duke 88 10. Tulane 79 Stanford 88 11. Clemson 78 11. Penn State 85 12. Western Michigan 76 12. Tulane 82 13. TCU 75 13. Washington 80 Baylor 75 Tulsa 80 Indiana 75 15. Baylor 75 Tulsa 75 Rutgers 75 Southern Miss. 75 Southern Miss. 75 Utah State 75
19 Tigers on NFL Rosters Clemson has 19 former players on NFL rosters, including three injured reserve players, according to rosters released by NFL clubs on September 1.
The list of active players includes rookie Bryant McNeal with the Denver Broncos, who was a starter for Clemson just last season. Nick Eason, who was drafted in the fourth round along with McNeal, is on injured reserve due to an Achilles tendon problem. Gary Byrd, a senior in 2002, is also on injured reserve, with the Buffalo Bills. Corey Hulsey (Oakland Raiders) is a third former Tiger on injured reserve.
The list of veterans includes Chris Gardocki, who is in his 13th year in the NFL as a punter. The former pro bowl punter is with the Cleveland Browns. Gardocki holds the career punting average record for both the Browns (44.1) and the Indianapolis Colts (44.8). Chester McGlockton (New York Jets), James Trapp (Jacksonville Jaguars) and Brentson Buckner (Carolina Panthers) are three other former Tigers who are in double figures in years of experience in the NFL. Trapp, who is a member of the Clemson Athletic Hall of Fame for his track accomplishments, is in his 11th year in the league, his first with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He was a member of the Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl Championship team two years back. Keith Adams, Rod Gardner, Woody Dantzler, and McNeal are four former Tigers who played for current coach Tommy Bowden who are on NFL rosters. Dantzler was cut by Dallas, but picked up by Atlanta in the first week of the season.
Former Clemson Players on NFL Rosters
# Injured Reserve; @ Practice Squad
Active Tigers Among Clemson Career LeadersClemson has some active players who already hold some school records and rank among the school’s career leaders in various categories. The following is a recap:
Derrick HamiltonClemson records Held: *Most all-purpose running yards in a season (1883, in 2002) *Most all-purpose running yards/game in career (121.9) *Most 200-yard all-purpose running games in a season (3, in 2002) *Most punt returns in a season (35, in 2002) *Most kickoff returns in a season (32, in 2002) *Most yards per rush in a season (9.9 in 2002) *Most kickoff return yards in a season (696 in 2002) *Career Rankings *7th in total receptions (119) *11th in reception yardage (1470) *3rd in kickoff return yards (1322) *5th in all-purpose running yards (3456)
Kevin Youngblood *Ranked 13th in Clemson history in receptions (90)
Charlie WhitehurstClemson Records Held: *Most passing yards in a game (420 vs. Duke, 2002) *Most completions in a game (34 vs. Duke, 2002) *Highest single game passing efficiency (241 vs. North Carolina, 2002) Career Rankings *Ranked first in Clemson history in career completion percentage (.614) *Ranked third in Clemson history in career interception avoidance (2.75 percent) *Ranked first in Clemson history in passing efficiency (135.6) *Min of 20 attempts
John Leake*Ranked 9th in Clemson history in career tackles (341)
Aaron Hunt Clemson Records Held *Most extra points in a career (134) *Most extra points in a season (45 in 2000) *Consecutive games scoring a point (36, 2000-02) Career Ranking *Ranked fifth in Clemson history in scoring (248 points) *Ranked fourth in Clemson history in kick scoring (248 points) *Fifth in career field goals (38)
Justin Miller *Most interceptions in a season (8 in 2002) *Highest kickoff return average in a season (35.1 in 2002)
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