Aug. 26, 2002
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Clemson vs. Georgia Saturday, Aug. 31, 2002 7:45 PM (EST) Sanford Stadium (86,250) Athens, GA
In the Rankings Clemson – Unranked Georgia – #8 AP, #12 USA Today/ESPN
Television: ESPNPlay By Play: Ron Franklin Color: Mike GottfriedSideline: Adrian Karsten
Radio: Clemson Tiger Sports PropertiesPlay By Play: Jim PhillipsColor: Mike EppleySideline: Rodney Williams
Series History: Georgia leads 39-17-4
First Career Start for Simmons Clemson’s starting quarterback against Georgia will be graduate student Willie Simmons. The native of Quincy, FL is in his fourth year with the program, but still has two years of eligibility, 2002 and 2003. He is a veteran of 14 games and has taken 331 snaps the previous two years, but is yet to start a game.
Simmons has significant experience, especially for a player who is yet to make a start. He played 233 snaps in 2000 when Woodrow Dantzler suffered with a high ankle sprain much of the season. Dantzler started every game, but many times had to come out of the game. One of these games was at North Carolina in 2000 when Simmons came off the bench in the second period and threw four touchdown passes, tying a Clemson single game record. Simmons threw eight touchdown passes that year as a backup, most in Clemson history for a non-starter and most by a freshman. For his career, Simmons has thrown 147 passes and 10 have gone for touchdowns.
Despite the experience, Simmons is still considered a first time starter entering this year. Each of the last three Clemson quarterbacks have lost in their first start. In fact, the only Tiger signal caller to win his first start over the last 10 years is Louis Solomon, who defeated Duke in 1992 in his first start. Woody Dantzler, Brandon Streeter and Nealon Greene all lost their first start. That is in direct contrast to the 1977-92 era. During those 16 years Clemson had eight quarterbacks start a game and all eight won their first start. Over the last 25 years Clemson quarterbacks are 9-4 in their first start.
As far as the entire season is concerned Clemson is 83-52-3 (.612) in seasons it has had a first-year starter at quarterback since 1976. With a starting quarterback who is in his second year or more as a starter, Clemson is 119-42-4 (.732) since 1976. Over the last 26 years Clemson has gone into a season with a veteran quarterback 14 years and, Clemson has gone to a bowl game in every year it has been eligible. Clemson has had a quarterback in its first year as a starter 12 times in the last 26 years and has gone to a bowl game in just six of those years. That includes the 2000 season when Woodrow Dantzler was in his first year as the starter for the course of the year and he took the Tigers to a 9-3 record and top 15 final ranking.
Tigers from GeorgiaGeorgia has been a top recruiting area for Clemson for many years. The school 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 (now with the San Diego Chargers), Keith Adams (now with the Dallas Cowboys), and Chris Gardocki (now with the Cleveland Browns). Carswell and Gardocki were from Stone Mountain, while Adams was from College Park.
This year is no exception when it comes to finding many Georgia natives on the Clemson roster. In fact, there are 19 players, including 18 of Clemson’s 83 players on scholarship who are from the Peach State. Six of the players are starters and four are second team players. Nine of the 19 are freshmen, six first-year and three red-shirt. This year’s list of Tigers from Georgia includes starting defensive tackle and team leader Nick Eason, starting linebacker Rodney Thomas, starting defensive end Khaleed Vaughn and starting offensive tackle Gary Byrd. As listed above, Clemson’s 2002 recruiting class features six players from Georgia. All six could be red-shirted this year.
Clemson Players from Georgia Name YrPos Hometown High School Nathan Bennett Fr. OGDallas Paulding County @Gary Byrd Gr OT Stone Mountain StoneMountain Brandon Cannon Fr. DT Stone Mountain Stephenson Brian CarrSo. FS Conyers Heritage Cole Chason Fr. PK Roswell Gr. AtlantaChristian Donnell Clark Fr. DT Griffin Griffin Tim DeBeer Fr. OT Atlanta Marist@Nick Eason Gr. DT Lyons Toombs County LeRoy Hill So. LB HaddockBaldwin @Cedric Johnson So. OG Barwick Thomas County Cent. @WynnKopp Sr. P Athens Clarke Central Brad Lee Fr. OT HephzibahHephzibah Chip Myrick Fr. OT Atlanta Lovett Tommy Sharpe So. CAlbany Westover @Rodney Thomas Sr. LB Cadwell W. Laurens @KhaleedVaughn Gr. DE Atlanta North Atlanta Nigel Vaughn So. LB AtlantaNorth Atlanta Rod Whipple Fr. DE Toomsboro Wilkinson County CharlieWhitehurst Fr. QB Duluth Chattahoochee @Denotes Starter
Kopp Returns to Sanford StadiumThe Clemson player most familiar with Sanford Stadium is punter Wynn Kopp. A native of Athens, Kopp was Georgia’s starting punter in 1998 and 1999 before transferring to Clemson prior to the 2000 season. He sat out that season due to the NCAA transfer rule, then served as Clemson’s starting punter last year.
At Georgia, Kopp played in 21 games and handled 82 punts for an average of 37.3 yards per boot. Last year at Clemson he started all 12 games and handled 49 of Clemson’s 51 punts for a 38.5-yard average. Kopp handled the punting in 11 games in Sanford Stadium in his two years at Georgia and had a 37.77 average on 53 punts in the facility. Georgia was 8-3 in those 11 games. Kopp was consistent over his two years in Sanford Stadium. In 1998 he averaged 37.774 on 31 punts in Sanford Stadium and in 1999 he averaged 37.773 on 22 punts in the facility.
For his career at Clemson and Georgia combined, Kopp averages 37.75 yards per punt and in his 11 games at Sanford Stadium he averaged 37.77. Kopp has played in three bowl games in his career and his team has won all three. He punted for the Bulldogs in their win over Virginia in the 1998 Peach Bowl, and served as the holder during Georgia’s comeback win over Purdue on the 1999 (season) Hall of Fame Bowl. He was Clemson’s punter in the 2001 Humanitarian Bowl.
Kopp has co-authored a book on punting with his father and brother. The book analyzes nearly 500 punts from the 2001 season, and it has been purchased by some of the NFL teams. Clemson has had some natives of Athens who have come back to haunt the Bulldogs over the years. In 1981, quarterback Homer Jordan led Clemson to victory over the Bulldogs in a game at Clemson. In 1986 and 1987 Clemson’s top tackler in the Georgia vs. Clemson game was Athens native and linebacker Norman Haynes.
Clemson vs. Georgia Series*Georgia holds a 39-17-4 advantage in the series that dates to the 1897 season. Georgia won that first meeting 24-0 in Athens in the season opener that year. It was the fourth game in Clemson history and the first time Clemson played a game outside the state of South Carolina. Georgia’s football history dates to 1892 and that first meeting with Clemson was the 25th in Bulldog history.*Georgia holds a 25-7-1 advantage in the series in games played at Georgia, including a 19-2 lead in games played at Sanford Stadium.*Georgia won the first three games of the series, all in Athens between 1897 and 1899. Clemson’s first win was a 39-5 triumph in Athens in 1900 behind head coach John Heisman. The victory gave Heisman a 4-0 record to open his first season. Heisman was a perfect 4-0 against Georgia as Clemson coach. Clemson actually won seven games in a row in the series between 1900-06.*Clemson won at Georgia in 1914 by a 35-13 count and then did not post a win in Athens again until 1977 when Charley Pell led the Tigers to victory 7-6.*The two teams were 8-8-1 against each other from 1897-1914, then Georgia went on a 21-1-2 run in the series between 1915-73. Clemson’s only win during that time was a 26-7 win in 1955. Clemson broke an eight-game losing streak in 1974 with a 28-24 win at Death Valley.*The two teams split 11 games between 1977-87, more on that below. Georgia has now won the last three meetings, in 1991, 1994 and 1995. The 1995 contest was a classic, a 19-17 Georgia win at Death Valley. Both teams went on to bowl games that year. Todd Kirtsey led Georgia with 38 carries for 195 yards in that game. It is the second most carries ever in a game against Clemson.*Clemson last defeated Georgia in 1990 by a 34-3 score under first year head coach Ken Hatfield. Clemson’s defense, led by future pros Levon Kirkland, Ed McDaniel, Brentson Buckner, Chester McGlockton and Robert O’Neal, held the Bulldogs out of the endzone all day.*This is the first of a two-game series between the two
schools. Georgia will open the season at Clemson next year on August 30th.
Clemson in Sanford StadiumClemson has won just two of 21 games played in Sanford Stadium, but both wins were landmark last second victories that catapulted Clemson to an outstanding season. In many ways the wins gave Clemson momentum that carried over for seasons to come.
Clemson’s two victories in Sanford Stadium took place in 1977 and 1986. The 1977 victory was a 7-6 triumph under first-year head coach Charley Pell. Clemson had lost the season opener at home against Maryland and was a heavy underdog against the defending SEC champions. Georgia scored with 20 seconds left, but a two-point conversion attempt failed and Clemson held on for the win. That was the first game of a seven game winning streak for the Tigers and Clemson went on to a Gator Bowl berth, its first bowl bid in 18 years.
Nine years later, Clemson was coming off a 6-6 season heading to Georgia after suffering a season opening loss at home to Virginia Tech. But, David Treadwell booted a career long 46-yard field goal as the final horn sounded, sending Clemson to a 31-28 victory. Clemson went on to post an 8-2-2 record and won the first of three straight ACC Championships. It was the first of six straight seasons with just two losses for the Clemson program.
Clemson vs. Georgia 1977-87The Clemson vs. Georgia series reached its high point during the 11 games played between 1977-87. The two teams were 5-5-1 against each other during that period and nine of the 11 contests were decided by seven points or less. During that time, Georgia scored 171 points and Clemson scored 159 so there were just 12 total points difference between the two teams over an 11-game period. The average margin of victory for the winner was just 4.7 points per game during those 11 years. The teams were fairly even in other categories also. Clemson averaged 311 yards per game during that period against Georgia and the Bulldogs averaged 286.3. Clemson had 11 more first downs in the 11 games combined. Here is a game-by-game short rundown of the games during that series. For a longer synopsis of the games turn to page 169 in the Clemson media guide.
1977 GA CU, 7-6 Georgia fails on 2-point play with 20 secondsleft 1978 GA GA, 12-0 Georgia shuts out Clemson offense that had 6future NFL starters 1979 CU CU, 12-7 Tigers rush for 306 yards,shut GA out until final minute 1980 GA GA, 20-16 CU outgains GA351-157, runs 90 plays, yet loses. GA Wins Nat. Title 1981 CU CU,13-3 Tigers force record 9 turnovers and defeats #4 GA on way toNat. Title 1982 GA GA, 13-7 Georgia wins battle of 1980 and 1981National Champions on blocked FG 1983 CU 16-16 Tie Both teamsattempt 60-yard+ field goals on last two plays of the game. 1984 GAGA 26-23 Kevin Butler boots 60-yard field goal with 11 secondsleft. 1985 CU GA, 20-13 First National network TV game fromClemson, GA rushes for 360 1986 GA CU, 31-28 David Treadwell boots46-yard field goal on last play of the game 1987 CU CU, 21-20Treadwell boots 21-yarder with two seconds left to win game.
Clemson has Eight Graduates on RosterThe 2002 Clemson team has already broken 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, a record for a Clemson team. The list includes three players who will travel to roster with two full seasons yet to play.
Clemson starting quarterback Willie Simmons, starting defensive end Khaleed Vaughn and reserve tackle William Henry are listed as graduates on the roster, but still have this year and 2003 in terms of eligibility. Simmons received his degree last May, accomplishing his course requirements in just three years and three summer schools. That is the earliest a Clemson scholarship football player has ever graduated. Vaughn and Henry both graduated this past August 10th and still have two years to play.
The list of graduates on the 2002 Clemson team includes starting wide receiver Jackie Robinson, starting roverback Altroy Bodrick, starting defensive tackle Nick Eason and starting offensive tackle Gary Byrd. Nathan Gillespie is a reserve offensive lineman who also has his Clemson diploma. Eason graduated in August of 2001, so he also had his degree with two years to play. The previous high for graduates on a Clemson football team was seven set just last year. By the end of the 2002 academic year 18 of the 22 seniors on the 2001 football team already had their degree. Two of those players are in school this year and plan to graduate by May of 2003.
Clemson Graduates on 2002 Team
Name PosGraduation Degree Jackie RobinsonWR Dec. 2001 Health Science Khaleed Vaughn DE Aug. 2002 MarketingWillie Simmons QB May 2002 Marketing William Henry OT Aug. 2002Sociology Altroy Bodrick ROV Aug. 2002 Rec. Park Adm. Gary Byrd OTAug. 2002 Rec. Park Adm. Nick Eason DT Aug. 2001 Sociology NathanGillespie OG Dec. 2001
Opening on the RoadThe Clemson vs. Georgia game in Athens will mark just the fourth time Clemson has opened on the road since 1975. The last time Clemson opened on the road was in 1996 when the Tigers lost 45-0 to a North Carolina team that would end the season with a 10-2 record. Clemson’s last win in an opening game played on the road took place in 1985 when a David Treadwell field goal on the last play of the game gave the Tigers a 20-17 win at Virginia Tech. The only other time Clemson has opened a season on the road since 1975 was at Georgia in 1982. The Bulldogs won that meeting of the 1980 and 1981 National Champions, 13-7 in a Monday night game that was shown on ABC TV.
In its history, Clemson is 10-10-2 when it opens the season on the road. Clemson’s first game in history was at Furman, a 14-6 win in 1896. Clemson opened its 1897, 1898, 1899 and 1903 seasons at Georgia and lost three of four. The 29-0 win at Georgia in 1903 was John Heisman’s last season at Clemson. Frank Howard opened his season on the road five straight years between 1959-63. His 1959 team defeated a 12th ranked North Carolina team 20-18 in Chapel Hill to open that season. He also opened on the road at Florida in 1961, at Georgia Tech in 1962 and at fourth ranked Oklahoma in 1963.
Seasons Clemson Has Opened on the Road (10-10-2)
Year OpponentW L TScore 1896 Furman W 14-6 1897 Georgia L 0-24 1898Georgia L 0-20 1899 Georgia L 0-11 1903 Georgia W 29-0 1904 AlabamaW 18-0 1912 Samford W 59-0 1914 Davidson T 0-0 1915 Furman W 94-01921 Centre L 0-14 1940 Presbyterian W 38-0 1959 North Carolina W20-18 1960 Wake Forest W 28-7 1961 Florida L 17-21 1962 GeorgiaTech L 9-26 1963 Oklahoma L 14-31 1968 Wake Forest T 20-20 1969Virginia W 21-14 1974 Texas A&M L 0-24 1982 Georgia L 7-13 1985Virginia Tech W 20-17 1996 North Carolina L 0-45
Clemson Opens vs. Ranked OpponentNot only is Clemson opening the season on the road for just the fourth time since 1975, Clemson will face a ranked opponent, a top 10 opponent in its first game of the season. This will mark just the sixth time in history Clemson has opened a season against a ranked foe. The Tigers are 1-4 in the previous season openers against a ranked team.
This is the first time Clemson has faced a ranked team in a season opener since 1982 when the Tigers faced a seventh ranked Georgia in Athens. Georgia won that contest 13-7 thanks to a blocked punt return for a touchdown. Clemson’s only season opening win in history over a ranked opponent took place at North Carolina in 1959, a 20-18 win over a 12th ranked North Carolina team for Frank Howard’s Tigers. The highest ranked opponent Clemson has faced in a season opener took place in 1963 when Frank Howard’s team lost at fourth ranked Oklahoma, 31-14.
Clemson Season Openers vs. Ranked Teams
Year OpponentRk St Result1959 North Carolina 12 A W, 20-18 1963 Oklahoma 4 A L, 14-31 1974Texas A&M 20 A L, 0-24 1977 Maryland 10 H L, 14-21 1982 Georgia7 A L, 7-13
Clemson’s Road Ranked WinsClemson will have a chance to add to its list of road wins over ranked teams this weekend at Georgia . The Bulldogs are ranked 11th in the preseason USA Today poll and eighth in the preseason Associated Press Poll. Clemson has a graveyard at its entrance to the practice field and erects a tombstone to document each road win over a ranked team.
Clemson added to the site last year when it won at ninth ranked Georgia Tech, 47-44 in overtime in one of the most exciting games in school history. That was the highest ranked team Clemson had beaten on the road in 20 years. A win at Georgia would trump that triumph as the Bulldogs are ranked eighth in the nation, the same ranking North Carolina had in 1981 when Clemson won 10-8 on the way to its National Championship season. That win in Chapel Hill is still the highest ranked team Clemson has defeated on the road in history. Overall, Clemson has 17 wins over ranked teams on the road in its history.
Clemson Wins over Ranked Teams on the Road
Year OpponentRk Score 1948 Wake Forest 19th21-14 1950 Wake Forest 17th 13-12 Miami (FL) 15th 15-14 1954Florida 14th 14-7 1959 North Carolina 12th 20-18 1977 Georgia 17th7-6 1978 Maryland 11th 28-24 1981 North Carolina 8th 10-8 1982Maryland 18th 24-22 1983 North Carolina 10th 16-3 1986 Georgia 14th31-28 1989 Florida State 16th 34-23 1992 Virginia 10th 29-28 1994North Carolina @12th 28-17 1996 Virginia 15th 24-16 1997 NC State@25th 19-17 2001 Georgia Tech 9th #47-44
@Coaches poll only #Overtime
Clemson’s Highest Ranked WinsA win for Clemson over eighth ranked Georgia would be the highest ranked Clemson win since 1981 when Clemson defeated fourth-ranked Nebraska in the Orange Bowl, a 22-15 victory that gave Clemson the National Championship. Three of Clemson’s top four wins in history took place during the 1981 National Championship season. Regardless of site, Clemson has nine wins over top 10 teams in its history, three in Death Valley. Clemson has had 21 wins over top 25 teams since 1986 and has had at least one ranked win in 14 of the last 16 seasons. Tommy Bowden has defeated at least one ranked team each of his first three years at Clemson. The Tigers defeated Virginia, 33-14, in 1999 when the Cavs were ranked 19th (USA Today), then downed a 25th ranked South Carolina team in 2000. The Tigers then defeated 9th ranked Georgia Tech in Atlanta last year.
Clemson’s Top 10 Victories
Year OpponentSite Rk Score1981 Georgia Clemson, SC 4 13-3 1981 Nebraska Miami, FL 4 22-151959 Texas Christian Houston, TX 7 23-7 1981 North Carolina ChapelHill, NC 8 10-8 2001 Georgia Tech Atlanta, GA 9 #47-44 1967 NCState Clemson, SC 10 14-6 1983 North Carolina Clemson, SC 10 16-31988 Oklahoma Orlando, FL 10 13-6 1992 Virginia Charlottesville, VA10 29-28 #Overtime
Clemson in OpenersClemson has won 15 of its last 18 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, Tommy Bowden first game as Clemson head coach. 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.
Clemson has won its last two openers and is 2-1 under Tommy Bowden in its first game of the season. Clemson defeated Central Florida last year 21-13 and stopped The Citadel 38-0 in the 2000 season. Marshall stopped Clemson 13-10 in the opening game of 1999, Bowden’s first year at Clemson. The Tigers are 79-19-8 (.783), regardless of site, in their first game of the season in its previous 106 seasons. Even though this is the 107th season of Clemson football, Clemson has had just 101 home openers in its history because five seasons Clemson did not play a game at home. In the 101 home openers Clemson has a 77-16-8 record against 28 different opponents. Clemson opens its home schedule September 7 vs. Louisiana Tech.
Clemson Opening Day RecordsBelow are Clemson’s top performances by individual category in the opening game of the season, regardless of site. Some of the records date back over 50 years:
Total Offense: 297 by Billy Hair by Presbyterian, 1951 Rushing Yards: 204 by Buck George vs. Presbyterian, 1952 Passing Yards: 283 by Jimmy Addison vs. Virginia, 1966 Pass Attempts: 34 by Brandon Streeter vs. Marshall, 1999 Pass Completions: 23 by Brandon Streeter vs. Marshall, 1999 Completion Percentage: .941 (16-17) by Woodrow Dantzler vs. The Citadel, 2000 Passing Efficiency: 247.1 by Woodrow Dantzler vs. The Citadel, 2000 Receptions: 11 by Rod Gardner vs. Marshall, 1999 Reception Yards: 145 by Perry Tuttle vs. Furman, 1979 All Purpose Yards: 246 by Buck George vs. Presyterian, 1952 Tackles: 18 by Jeff Davis vs. Rice, 1980 and by Chad Carson vs. The Citadel, 2000
Clemson Faces Tough Schedule in 2002In many ways this will be Clemson’s most difficult schedule. The 2002 Tigers have nine games against teams who had winning records last year and eight of the 2002 opponents played in bowl games last year. Nationally, Clemson is tied for third in number of games against teams who had winning records in 2001 and tied for fourth in number of 2001 bowl opponents on the 2002 schedule. Clemson has had some difficult schedules under Tommy Bowden. The 1999 schedule is listed as the 10th toughest in the nation according to the 2002 NCAA Record Book. In 2001, Clemson had five wins over teams with winning records, one off the Clemson single season record.
Most Difficult Schedules of 2002
Based on 2002 Opponents Who Played in 2001 Bowls
Rk Team 2002Games 2001 Bowl Opp 1. Florida State
Based on 2002 Opponents who had 2001 Winning Record
Rk Team 2002Games Winning Opp 1. Florida State
Hunt Has High PercentageDavid Treadwell was inducted into the Clemson athletic Hall of Fame four years ago and a big reason for his induction was his performance against Georgia. Treadwell kicked a pair of game winning field goals with two seconds to go or less, giving Clemson victories over top 20 Georgia teams.
Aaron Hunt hopes he can have similar success against the Bulldogs and continue Clemson’s tradition of outstanding placekicking. All Hunt needs to do is pick up where he left off last season. A year ago, Hunt made 10-12 field goals, .833, and connected on 44-45 extra points. His only PAT miss was from 35 yards out after a Clemson player was charged with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on a Tiger touchdown.
That means Hunt kicked the ball 57 times last year and it went through the uprights 54 times. He was most impressive from 40 yards or more as he hit 5-5 from that distance, after failing to connect from over 40 yards as a freshman. Hunt made five of his last six in 2000, including the game winner against South Carolina with three seconds left, and is now 15 of his last 18 over two years. He has continued his fine work in the spring and prefall. He made a 52-yard field goal in the spring game and consistently connected from 40 yards or more in scrimmages this fall.
First of Four Appearances on ESPN for TigersThe Clemson vs. Georgia game will be the first of four appearances for the Tigers on ESPN during the regular season. This will be the most live regular season appearances on ESPN for Clemson. Clemson has been on ESPN four times in a season in 1989, 1997 and 1999, but each of those seasons included a bowl game appearance on the world’s top sports network. Clemson was 4-0 in games on ESPN in 1989, 1-3 in 1997 and 0-4 in 1999.
Clemson is 13-21 in live broadcasts on ESPN over the years, but won its last outing on the network, the 49-24 win over Louisiana Tech in the Humanitarian Bowl. Clemson has played 24 games on a tape delayed basis on ESPN, all between 1979 and 1984. Clemson was 15-8-1 in those games. Thus, Clemson’s all-time record on ESPN is 28-29-1 lifetime. In addition to the Georgia game, the Clemson vs. Georgia Tech game will be shown on ESPN-2 on September 14th. The Clemson vs. Florida State game (Oct. 3) and Clemson vs. NC State game (Oct. 24) will be part of the ESPN Thursday night package.
Clemson Depth Chart BreakdownClemson has balance across its depth chart from a class standpoint. Of the top 44 players on the two-deep (not including punters and kickers), the Tigers have 14 seniors, 12 juniors, 13 sophomores and five freshmen. As far as starters are concerned, Clemson has 10 seniors, seven juniors, five sophomores and no freshmen. Offensively, Clemson starts just four seniors, but the Tigers have six seniors starting on defense. Last year, 35 of its top 44 players were underclassmen. Only Duke had more.
Leake Leads DefenseThe top returning tackler on the Clemson defense is junior John Leake. The native of Plano, TX had 134 tackles last year, an increase of 125 stops over his freshman year. Leake never played a snap on defense as a freshman, then played 687 last year when he ranked second for the course of the season behind the now graduated Chad Carson. Leake is ranked 23rd in the nation among linebackers by The Sporting News in its preseason publication. He ranked 11th in the ACC in tackles per game last year and led the team in tackles in five of the 12 games. He had a season high 19 tackles in the win over Georgia Tech in Atlanta. Leake has football in his blood. His father played for Wyoming as a wide receiver in the 1960s.
Mance/Hamilton Kick Return ComboClemson should have an outstanding specials teams this year. Clemson returns its starting punter (Wynn Kopp) and placekicker (Aaron Hunt) from last year, the first time that has been the case since Tommy Bowden has been the head coach. Clemson should also be outstanding in the return game. Two returning players, senior Derrick Hamilton, have ranked in the top 30 in the nation in the return game. Last year Clemson ranked 10th in the nation in kickoff returns. Hamilton was third individually with an ACC best 31.7 yard average. Mance was 26th in the nation with a 23.5 average on 25 returns.
Mance also has experience returning punts. He averaged 12.5 yards per punt return last year, 30th in the nation and second in the ACC. Mance was the only ACC player to rank in the top five in the conference in punt returns and kickoff returns last year.
Bowden Offenses Among Best in Clemson HistoryClemson Head Coach Tommy Bowden came to Clemson with the reputation of producing big numbers on offense. His Tulane team of 1998 averaged over 500 yards of total offense per game and was the only squad in the nation to average at least 300 yards passing and 200 rushing.
His offensive numbers have not been quite as striking at Clemson, but they have been noteworthy. Here is a list of the Bowden offensive stats as they relate to Clemson history in his three years at Clemson:
*3 of the top 4 completion totals in Clemson history *The top 3 passing yardage single season figures *The top three seasons in terms of passing yards/game *3 of the top four completion percentage figures *2 of the top 3 yards per play figures, and top two since 1950 *3 of the top 5 total offense per game figures *3 of the top 4 first downs/game figures *2 of the top 7 scoring teams in school history
Clemson Offense Averages 424.5 Yards Under BowdenClemson has a 22-14 record under Tommy Bowden and a consistent balanced offense has been a big reason. Over the his three years he has been the head coach the Tigers have averaged 424.5 yards per game in total offense.
Clemson has gained an average of 189 rushing and 235 passing over the 36 games. In an average game under Bowden the Tigers have averaged 30.8 points a game and scored four touchdowns. On average, the Tigers run the ball 44.6 times and throw it 32 times under Bowden. Clemson has scored 146 touchdowns in the 36 games, nearly four per game. Twenty-one of the 36 games Clemson has had at least 400 yards of total offense.
Clemson Offense in the Tommy Bowden Era (Figures are for 36 games)
Category Total PerGame Points 1107 30.8 Touchdowns 146 4.06 First Downs 81722.69 Rushing Attempts 1606 44.61 Rushing Yards 6827 189.6 PassAttempts 1158 32.2 Pass Completions 658 18.3 Passing Yards 8456234.9 Completion % .568 .568 Plays 2764 76.8 Total Offense 15,283424.5 Record 22-14 .611
Clemson Assistant Coaches Have Bowl ExperienceClemson’s nine current assistant coaches and head coach Tommy Bowden have coached in a combined 81 bowl games. Of the current staff, Rick Stockstill has coached in the most bowl games with the Tigers, as the 2001 Humanitarian Bowl was his 10th as a Clemson assistant. Brad Scott leads the way in total bowl games coached with 15 between his time at Clemson, Florida State and South Carolina.
Two Clemson assistants have served as head coaches in bowl games. 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 in December of 2000, served as NC State’s head coach in three bowl games. As you can see by the list below, eight of the 10 coaches on this staff have been together all three years of the Bowden era. Mike O’Cain has coached in two of the three bowl games. John Lovett is the only newcomer to the staff this year.
Name PositionPlayer CU BowlOverall Tommy Bowden Head Coach 1 3 11RodneyAllison Defensive Ends 3 3 8Burton Burns Running Backs 3 3 4JackHines Linebackers 1 3 8John Lovett Defensive Backs 0 0 5Mike O’CainQuarterbacks 0 2 @10Brad Scott Tight Ends 0 3 *15Thielen SmithDefensive Line 2 3 5Rick Stockstill Wide Receivers 3 10 10Ron WestOffensive Line 2 3 5Totals 1530 81
*Includes one bowl (win) as head coach of South Carolina @Includes three games as head coach at NC State Overall is total as a coach only
Clemson Personnel Notes for 2002Clemson has four players returning for 2002 who lettered in 2000, but did not play in 2001. All four players should have an impact on the success of the 2002 season. That is why there is a disparity between lettermen returning who played last year (46) and the total number of lettermen returning (50). The four players returning are Kevin Youngblood, Altroy Bodrick, Ronnie Thomas and Yusef Kelly.*Kevin Youngblood-missed all of last season due to a broken leg suffered in preseason practice. Was going to be a starting wide receiver replacing first round draft choice Rod Gardner. Youngblood had 13 catches for 225 yards and two scores in 2000 as a backup to Gardner. The 17.3 yards per catch led the team. Red-shirted the 2001 season, but returns in 2002.*Roscoe Crosby-Had “Tommy John Surgery” this past summer and will miss the entire 2002 season. Crosby played with the injury last year as a freshman when he caught 29 passes, but needed the surgery to continue his professional baseball career. He is in class at Clemson this semester and is expected to return to play football for the 2003 Tigers as a red-shirt sophomore.*Altroy Bodrick-Slated to be a starting linebacker in 2001 until he suffered a torn ACL in preseason practice. Will move to strong safety this year. Has played 29 games, five as a starter and had 86 career tackles entering his fifth year. Red-shirted 2001 and returns in 2002.*Yusef Kelly-Lettered as a reserve running back as a first-year freshman in 2000. Had 49-243 rushing and two scores, he had a 4.9 average. He red-shirted last year, but returns in 2001. Has changed his first name from Keith to Yusef. Yusef is his birth name.*Ronnie Thomas-Lettered as a reserve wide receiver as a first-year freshman in 2000. Had one reception. Was red-shirted in 2001. Suffered a wrist injury in the summer but has returned and will play vs. Georgia.*Marcus Houskin-Lettered as a strong safety last year. Suffered a broken neck against Virginia and was lost for the season. Has returned to school, but will not play football.*Todd McClinton-Lettered as a reserve tight end in 2001. Moved to defensive line in spring of 2002.*Mark Jetton-Red-shirted last season as a defensive lineman. Moved to offensive guard in the Spring of 2002.*Jermyn Chester-Saw action as a reserve center and guard in 2001. Moved to center and is listed as the starter for the 2002 season.*Jeff Scott-Reserve wide receiver and starting holder. Had been listed as a red-shirt sophomore last year, but has decided this will be his final year of football. Will graduate in May of 2003 and is now listed as a senior.
John Lovett New Clemson Defensive CoordinatorJohn Lovett, defensive coordinator at Auburn for the last three seasons, was named Defensive Coordinator at Clemson last spring. Lovett has been an assistant coach at the college level for 23 years, including 13 seasons as a defensive coordinator. He has experience working with all levels of the defense, but has spent most of his seasons in the game coaching the secondary and outside linebacker position. Lovett is coaching the secondary at Clemson. Jack Hines, who coached the secondary at Clemson the last three years, has moved to the linebackers.
Lovett helped Auburn to bowl games each of the last two years. His 2000 defense ranked 14th in the nation in total defense and 15th in rushing defense, helping the Tigers to a 9-4 record and a berth in the Citrus Bowl against Michigan. Auburn won the Western Division of the Southeastern Conference that season.
In 2001, his defense had a lot to do with Auburn’s berth in the Peach Bowl. One of Auburn’s victories was a 23-20 triumph over then #1 ranked Florida. Lovett’s defense held Florida to 20 points, -36 yards rushing and 328 yards of total offense, season lows in all three categories for Steve Spurrier’s team that finished the season ranked third in the nation. The Tigers also forced five turnovers in the game, including four interceptions of passes thrown by Heisman Trophy finalist Rex Grossman. Lovett’s defense also held Georgia’s high powered attack to but 17 points in a 24-17 Auburn triumph.
The 51-year-old coach, who was born in Nyack, NY, worked under Tommy Tuberville, the last seven years, four at Mississippi (1995-98) and three at Auburn (1999-01). He coached the secondary all four years he was at Mississippi, including the 1997 season when the Rebels had an 8-4 record, including a victory in the Ford Motor City Bowl. Prior to coming to Mississippi in 1995, Lovett worked as defensive coordinator at the University of Maine for two stints. He first went to Orono in 1985 and served as defensive coordinator and secondary coach from 1985-88. He also served as defensive coordinator for the Black Bears in 1994. The 1987 team won the conference championship and qualified for the Division I-AA playoffs.
Rambert Hopes to Start as he FinishedWhile this will be the first start for quarterback Willie Simmons, it will be just the fourth start for running back Bernard Rambert. The senior has been the backup to Travis Zachery each of the last three years, but will get his chance in his final season. Rambert has played 618 snaps in his career over 29 games and has three starts to his credit, all last season. Rambert has been outstanding when called on, especially as a starter. In his three previous starts combined, Rambert has 32 carries for 186 yards and two touchdowns. That computes to a 5.8 average per carry. He has a 3.9 average when he comes off the bench.
Rambert hopes to continue where he left off last year. Zachery was suspended for the Humanitarian Bowl game against Louisiana Tech and he responded with 101 yards rushing and 77 yards receiving. It was the most receiving yards in Clemson history for a player who gained at least 100 yards rushing in the same game. He scored one touchdown rushing and one receiving in recording 178 all-purpose yards, most in Clemson history in a bowl game.
Both Coaches Have Ties to Florida StateBoth head coaches in this Saturday’s game at Georgia have connections to Florida State, but neither played for the Seminoles. Clemson Head Coach Tommy Bowden is the son of Florida State Head Coach Bobby Bowden and served as an assistant for the sports second winningest Division I coach in 1978-79, 1981-82. He also played for his father at West Virginia in 1973-75.
Georgia Coach Mark Richt, a graduate of the University of Miami, served as a graduate assistant coach at Florida State from 1985-86, was a volunteer coach in 1987-88 and served as offensive coordinator from 1994-00. In fact, Richt replaced current Clemson offensive coordinator Brad Scott, as Florida State’s offensive coordinator when Scott left FSU to become the head coach at South Carolina. Scott was the offensive coordinator of Florida State’s 1993 National Championship team and Richt was the coordinator of the Seminoles 1999 National Championship team.
Eason Back to PracticeA week ago the status of Clemson starting defensive tackle Nick Eason was questionable. On Thursday, August 15, Eason reported he was experiencing an irregular heartbeat to Clemson’s medical staff at the end of the second practice. Eason missed both practices on Friday the 16th to begin tests. He had extensive tests and all the results were negative.
The severity of the tests forced Eason to miss a week of practice, but he returned to 100 percent participation on Saturday the 24th and should be ready for the Georgia game. “Nick has missed a lot of work, but I am not worried about him for the first game,” said Bowden. “He is experienced and knows our system. He is a team leader and makes a difference at practice. We are glad to have him back.”
Eason has had to battle injury problems since December of 2000 when he suffered a torn Achilles tendon during practice for the Gator Bowl game with Virginia Tech. He did not miss a game during the 2001 season, but was limited by a sprained ankle much of the season. He played just five snaps against Virginia and at NC State. For his career he has played 35 games, 23 as a starter. He has 91 career tackles, including 21 tackles for loss and eight sacks. Eason already has his undergraduate degree in sociology and is currently working on his master’s degree in human resource development. He was named to the American Football Coaches Association Goodworks team in 2001, one of just 11
players from across the nation selected. He has been named a Top Six Award recipient by the ACC for his community service activities, the only four-time recipient of that award from Clemson.
Some Tigers using New HelmetThe latest in equipment use in football at all levels is the Revolution Helmet manufactured by Riddell. Many Clemson players have switched to the new helmet for this season and Clemson equipment personnel estimate 30 players are using it this year. Many of the players are first-year freshmen. Among the veterans using the helmet are starting outside linebacker Khaleed Vaughn, starting middle linebacker and top returning tackler John Leake, and running backs Yusef Kelley, Chad Jasmin and Tye Hill. Linebacker David Dunham was troubled by a concussion early in preseason and switched to the Revolution. He has not had problems since.
The helmet is the result of five years of research conducted by the NFL, who concluded that 70 percent of concussions result from hits to the side of the head. The sides of the new helmet extend farther down toward the chin, creating a firm shell along the jaw line.
Francis Could be Walk-on StarterThe top competition for a starting position in the preseason has been at one of the cornerback slots where Toure Francis (pronounced TOO-Ray) has been in a battle with returning starter Kevin Johnson. The two juniors have gone back and forth between first team and second team all fall. It would be quite an accomplishment if Francis can secure a starting position because he is a walk-on. No Clemson original walk-on defensive player has held a starting position over the course of a season since 1991 when Rob Bodine started at middle guard. Bodine came to Clemson as a walk-on but was on scholarship by the 1991 season. In fact he led the nation in tackles for loss and was a first-team All-American that year.
The last original walk-on defensive back to start over the course of a season was A.J. Johnson who started all 12 games at free safety in 1985. The last walk-on defensive back to earn all-conference honors was Steve Ryan, a two-time All-ACC choice in 1977 and 1978. Ryan wore #26, the same number worn by Francis. Francis is not exactly coming out of nowhere. He started three games and played in all 12 last year at cornerback. He had 37 tackles and two interceptions, plus three pass deflections. For his career he has played in 24 games and has 47 tackles.
Currie All-American on the TrackSophomore wide receiver Airese Currie had a solid freshman season on the gridiron. The native of Columbia, SC and Richland Northeast High School played in all 12 games, three as a starter and had 18 catches for 320 yards, a 17.8 average. That 17.8 average was a Clemson record for a freshman. He had one touchdown receiving and one rushing, a 19-yard run for a score on a “Panther Play” against Louisiana Tech in the Humanitarian Bowl.
While Currie had a good year on the gridiron he was even better on the track where he made All-American. Currie was a member of Clemson’s 4X100 relay team that finished second in the nation at the NCAA Outdoor Championships at Baton Rouge, LA. He also had a strong year individually and finished sixth at the ACC Championships in the 100 meters. Currie hopes to follow in the footsteps of Clemson Hall of Fame athlete James Trapp, who was an NCAA Champion in track and still continues to play in the NFL for the Baltmore Ravens. Trapp won a Super Bowl Championship Ring two years ago and has been in the NFL since the 1993 season.
Tiger TeammatesClemson has 15 different sets of football players who went to the same high school or junior college. The list includes three schools that have sent Clemson three players apiece. Orangeburg-Wilkinson, the high school that sent 2001 senior Woody Dantzler to Clemson, still has three representatives on the current Clemson team in Jackie Robinson. Shanks High School in Quincy, FL sent the Tigers Willie Simmons and Ronnie Thomas in the 1999 recruiting class and has since added defensive back Charles Harper. Fork Union Prep has sent Clemson Eric Coleman, Maurice Fountain and Gaines Adams. Fountain was a high school teammate of wide receiver Kelvin Grant. The only brother combination on the list is the Vaughn brothers, Khaleed and Nigel, who both played at North Atlanta High in Atlanta, GA.
Clemson players who played together in high school or prep school:
High School CityState Players C.A. JohnsonColumbia SC Eugene Koon, Todd McClinton Camden Camden SC MauriceFountain, Kelvin Grant Easley Easley SC Eric Meekins, Josh SmithFairfield Central Fairfield SC Charles Bennett, Altroy Bodrick ForkUnion Prep Fork Union VA Eric Coleman, Maurice Fountain, GainesAdams James Island Charleston SC Ryan Charpia, Tony Elliott Lexington LexingtonSC Fletcher Anderson, Phillip Dieckmann Manning Manning SC Brian Mance, Travis Pugh NorthAtlanta Atlanta SC Khaleed Vaughn, Nigel VaughnOrangeburg-Wilkinson Orangeburg SC Ryan Hemby, Jackie RobinsonRichland Northeast Columbia SC Airese Currie, Toure Francis ShanksQuincy FL Charles Harper, Willie Simmons, Ronnie Thomas SummervilleSummerville SC Dustin Fry, Bernard Rambert SW Miss. CC Summit MSBrandon Jamison, Kelvin Morris Union Union SC
Kyle Browning, Roscoe Crosby
ACC Announces 50th Anniversary All-Time Football TeamClemson Leads All Schools With Nine SelectionsNine former Clemson football players have been named to the 50th Anniversary All-ACC team, the conference announced in July. Clemson’s nine selections are the most among ACC schools. Players who have been named to the team are Joe Bostic, Jerry Butler, Bennie Cunningham, Jeff Davis, Steve Fuller, Terry Kinard, William Perry, Michael Dean Perry and Anthony Simmons.
All nine players were All-Americans at Clemson. Five of them earned such honors on more than one occasion. The honorees have won 10 ACC titles collectively, with three of the players earning a National Championship ring in 1981. Eight of the nine players were named to Clemson’s All-Centennial team in 1996. Butler, Davis, Fuller and Kinard are also honored in Clemson’s Ring of Honor.
Each of the honorees has played in the NFL at some point after their Clemson careers. Anthony Simmons, the youngest Clemson player honored by the ACC, is currently a starting linebacker for the Seattle Seahawks. The group collectively has played 76 years in the NFL and combined to win five Super Bowl Championship rings. Joe Bostic was a four-year starter and two-time All-American between 1975-78 on Clemson’s offensive line. He is also in Clemson’s Hall of Fame. In 1999, A panel of Clemson historians ranked him as the 11th best player in Clemson history. Bostic went on to play 10 seasons in the NFL, all with the Cardinals organization.
Jerry Butler earned first-team Associated Press All-American honors in 1978 and was ranked as the 4th best player in school history in 1999. He was famous for a diving backward touchdown catch that helped beat rival South Carolina in 1977. Butler, also a member of Clemson’s Hall of Fame and Ring of Honor, played nine seasons for the Buffalo Bills in the NFL.
Bennie Cunningham, Clemson’s most decorated tight end, was a two-time All-American. He was a consensus first-team All-American as a junior in 1974 and a first-team choice by the Sporting News in 1975. He was also ranked among Clemson’s greatest players in 1999. Cunningham won two Super Bowl rings with the Pittsburgh Steelers between 1976-85.
Jeff Davis was an All-American in 1981, the year Clemson won the National Championship. Davis is the third leading tackler in Clemson history. “The Judge” is a member of Clemson’s All-Centennial team, Hall of Fame and Ring of Honor. He was inducted into the state of South Carolina Hall of Fame in 2001. He played for six seasons in the NFL with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Steve Fuller was a third-team All-American on the field in 1978 as well as a two-time Academic All-American. He was also the ACC Player-of-the-Year in 1977 and 1978, the only two-time selection in Clemson history. He was ranked as a top 5 player by Clemson historians in 1999, and is in the Hall of Fame and Ring of Honor. Fuller won a Super Bowl ring with the Chicago Bears in 1985.
Terry Kinard, perhaps Clemson’s most decorated athlete, was a two-time first-team AP All-American in 1981-82. He was a starting safety on Clemson’s 1981 National Championship team. He was named the 1982 National Player-of-the-Year by CBS. Kinard was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame last fall and the state of South Carolina Hall of Fame in 2002. He is still Clemson’s career leader in interceptions with 17, now a 20-year-old record. He won a Super Bowl with the New York Giants and played eight seasons in the NFL.
William Perry was a three-time All-American at middle guard for Clemson, a first in school history. He still ranks among Clemson’s career leaders in sacks and tackles for loss. Also a member of the 1981 team, Perry was named to the All-Centennial team and will be inducted into the Clemson Hall of Fame this fall. “The Refrigerator” won a Super Bowl ring in 1985 with the Chicago Bears.
Michael Dean Perry, Clemson’s career leader in both sacks and tackles for loss, was a first-team All-American in 1987 when he was an Outland Trophy finalist. A member of the All-Centennial team, Perry was inducted into the Clemson Hall of Fame in 2000. He went on to considerable success in the NFL as he played in six Pro Bowls and was a four-time All-Pro with the Cleveland Browns.
Anthony Simmons was Clemson’s second three-time All-American. He likely would have been just the second player in NCAA history to achieve such honors four times had he not left for the NFL after his junior year. He is second on Clemson’s career tackles list, an impressive feat to accomplish in only three years. Simmons is currently a starting linebacker for the Seattle Seahawks.
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