Sept. 1, 2003
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Whitehurst’s Father Played for Furman Furman and Clemson have had many common denominators over history dating to Halloween Day of 1896 when Furman was Clemson’s first opponent in football.
The name Whitehurst can be added to that list of common factors. Clemson starting quarterback Charlie Whitehurst is the son of former Furman quarterback David Whitehurst. David was a four-year starter (38 total starts) at quarterback for the Paladins from 1973-76. Charlie started the last five games of the 2002 season as a freshman for Clemson, and will be making his second start of 2003 on Saturday against his father’s old school.
David went on to play six years in the NFL with the Green Bay Packers, so any favorable comparison to his father is a positive for Charlie. Thus, it is interesting to do a “Tale of the Tape” on the collegiate careers of both Whitehursts on a per game basis. David played 39 games for Furman, but Charlie has played just 10 games so far for the Tigers. A look to comparable stats shows us that both Whitehursts currently rank 11th in passing efficiency on a career basis at their respective schools. David’s 114.07 figure is 11th in Furman history and Charlie’s 123.16 is 11th in Clemson history entering today’s game.
A further look to the chart below tells us that Charlie has the edge in completion percentage and touchdowns per game, but you have to give David the edge in touchdown passes per attempt and yards per completion.
Whitehurst Collegiate Tale of the Tape
Napier Knows Both Teams Well The one person in Death Valley on Saturday who will know both Clemson and Furman the best is Billy Napier. The former Furman quarterback is now a graduate assistant coach working with the Clemson offense.
Napier was a two-year starter for the Paladins between 1999-02. He led the Paladins to the championship game of the Division I-AA playoffs in 2001, then completed 68.5 percent of his passes in 2002 when he again took the Paladins to the playoffs, an all-time Southern Conference record. He was a second-team All-Southern Conference selection both years. His completion percentage was a Southern Conference record and his passing efficiency of 157.14 last year was second best in the nation among Division I-AA players. He completed 65 percent of his passes in his 37-game career.
Other Coaching Common Denominators Four head coaches in Furman history also coached at Clemson, including one who is a Clemson graduate. This is certainly logical considering the schools are just over 30 miles apart and have followed each other’s programs for years.
A.P. McLeod served as Clemson’s line coach in 1927 under Josh Cody and coached Clemson’s first All-American, center O.K. Pressley. At Furman, McLeod was an outstanding player and coach. He was Furman’s head basketball coach beginning with the 1928 season and still has the best winning percentage in the school’s basketball history with a 69-17 record. In 1932 he became Furman’s head football coach, a position he held until 1942. He is the last Furman coach to defeat Clemson (1936).
McLeod was followed in 1946 (Furman did not have a team from 1943-45 because of WWII) by Bob Smith, a 1934 Furman graduate. Smith was a star player at Furman from 1931-33.
He became the Furman head football coach for the 1946-47 seasons. In 1950 he came to Clemson to coach under Frank Howard. He served Clemson for 28 years as an assistant football coach and head baseball coach. In fact, it was Smith who won Clemson’s first ever ACC Championship in any sport when he led the Tigers to the 1954 ACC baseball championship. He is a member of the Athletic Hall of Fame at both institutions.
Art Baker was an assistant coach at Clemson under Frank Howard from 1965-69, then became head football coach at Furman from 1973-77. In fact, he was the head coach when David Whitehurst was the quarterback at Furman. Baker laid the groundwork for considerable success at Furman as he hired Dick Sheridan, Jimmy Satterfield and Bobby Johnson as assistant coaches. They all went on to become head coaches at Furman.
Johnson is a 1973 Clemson graduate who went on to become head coach at Furman from 1994-01. He coached against Clemson for Furman in 1994 and 1998. In 1993 he was Clemson’s defensive coordinator, helping the Tigers to a 9-3 season with an offense that finished last in the ACC in total offense. It is the only time in ACC history a team that was last in the league in offense, made it to a bowl game, never mind win nine games.
Johnson also was the academic advisor for Clemson in 1981, the school’s national championship season. As a player at Clemson, Johnson led the Tigers in interceptions in 1971 and 1972 and was named Academic All-ACC each season. Ben Hall on Both Sidelines Both teams will have a Ben Hall on their sidelines on Saturday. Clemson tight end Ben Hall will be a key contributor to the Clemson offense, while the Furman tight ends coach is also named Ben Hall.
Clemson’s Ben Hall is in his third year with the Tigers. The junior from Wellford, SC is the only Clemson player to score a touchdown in each of the last two bowl games. For his career he has 20 receptions for 240 yards and four touchdowns. He is a veteran of 26 games, 10 as a starter.
Furman’s Ben Hall played at Furman from 1996-99 as a four-year letterman and three-year starter as an offensive lineman. He was a consensus All-Southern Conference choice and recipient of the Jacobs Blocking Trophy in 1999 when he helped Furman to a 9-3 record and the Southern Conference Championship. He was one of the reasons Louis Ivory had such a productive 1999 season with over 1300 yards rushing.
Tigers and Paladins Shared Same Uniform Pants On October 8, 1960, Clemson and Furman shared the same uniform pants. In one of the most bizarre uniform stores in college sports history, both teams wore a special water repellant uniform that day to guard against the predicted severe weather.
Clemson wore the pants in defeating Virginia 21-7 in the afternoon, then had the pants shipped to Furman for a night game against William & Mary. Furman defeated William & Mary that night in Greenville 25-23. Furman Head Coach Bob King said after the game, “After those big Clemson boys got out of those pants, some of our guys had a hard time making them stay up. We had to tape the legs of the pants for several players.” The pants defeated two teams from the state of Virginia on the same day.
Bennett Worked for Both Schools Clemson Executive Secretary of IPTAY George Bennett is also a common denominator for both Furman and Clemson. Bennett was the athletic director at Furman from 1986-88. That includes the 1988 season when Furman won the Division I-AA National Championship. He has had a distinguished career at Clemson that dates to 1955 when he was a Clemson senior and head cheerleader. IPTAY has been regarded as the top scholarship fund-raising organization of its kind. He is a member of the Clemson Athletic Hall of Fame and won the University’s Distinguished Service Award in 1986.
Clemson vs. Furman Series Clemson has won 27 straight games against Furman dating to a 0-0 tie between the two schools at Furman in 1937. Furman’s last win over Clemson took place in 1936 by a 12-0 score in a November 26 game played in the snow. It is the only time on record that Clemson has had a home game played in the snow.
Overall, Clemson has a 39-10-4 lead in the series, including a 22-2 lead in games played at Clemson and a 16-0 advantage in games played in Clemson Memorial Stadium. This will be the first meeting between the two schools since 1998 when Clemson won 33-0. Clemson has not allowed a Furman touchdown since 1961 when Bill Canty scored on a three-yard run in the fourth quarter of a 35-6 Clemson victory. Furman scored six points against Clemson in 1994, but both scores were field goals. The Paladins have scored five field goals over the last 32 quarters against Clemson.
Clemson won the last meeting 33-0 in 1998. Clemson had 202 yards passing and 212 yards rushing behind quarterback Brandon Streeter. Streeter, now an assistant coach at Charleston Southern, completed 11-14 passes for 183 yards. Travis Zachery led the rushers with 73 yards in 15 attempts, while backup quarterback Woody Dantzler had 12-65 rushing. Clemson held Furman to 125 yards total offense on just 44 plays. Furman had just seven first downs.
This will be just the sixth meeting between the two schools since 1964. Clemson has outscored Furman by a 153-12 margin in those six games. The closest Furman has come to defeating Clemson since that 0-0 tie in 1937 took place in 1938 when Clemson won by a 10-7 score. The closest Furman has come t beating Clemson since 1950 was a 19-3 Clemson victory in 1996.
Both teams won national championships in the 1980s. Clemson won the Division I crown in 1981 and Furman won the Division I-AA title in 1988. Furman was the second winningest program in Division I in the 1980s, while Clemson was fifth for that decade among Division I schools.Clemson vs. Southern Conference Clemson has not lost to a Southern Conference school since the Tigers left the Southern Conference to help form the ACC in 1953. Clemson has won 36 games in a row over Southern Conference teams and 46 in a row over teams currently in the Southern Conference. Clemson last lost to a team in the Southern Conference in 1952 when South Carolina defeated the Tigers 6-0. Both Clemson and South Carolina were in the Southern Conference in those days. The last time Clemson lost to a team currently in the Southern Conference was 1936 when Furman defeated the Tigers 12-0. Twelve of Clemson’s last 15 victories over Southern Conference teams have been by shutout.
Clemson Undefeated vs. Division I-AA Teams Clemson is a perfect 18-0 against Division I-AA teams since the NCAA formed the division prior to the 1978 season. Southern Conference schools became I-AA in 1982. Clemson has outscored Division I-A teams by a 621-77 margin, an average victory of 34.5 to 4.3. This is Clemson’s first meeting with a Division I-AA school since 2001 when Clemson defeated Wofford 38-14. It will be just the third time Tommy Bowden has faced a Division-IAA opponent. His 2000 Clemson team defeated The Citadel by a 38-0 score to open the season.
Furman Update Furman enters Saturday’s game with a 1-0 record, a 24-7 victory over Elon in the season opener for both teams. In fact it was the first Southern Conference game for Elon. Furman used a balanced attack that gained 242 yards rushing and 221 yards passing, and a strong defense that held Elon to just one rushing touchdown.
Bo Moore made his first college start at quarterback a success. The junior from Madison, GA had thrown just 35 career passes in 20 games as Billy Napier’s backup entering this year. But, he was 15-26 for 221 yards and two scores in the opener. He also gained 19 yards rushing and punted three times for a 42.3 average. He was Furman’s starting punter in 2002 with a 38.7 yard average on 43 attempts.
Hindley Brigham had 110 yards rushing to lead the Furman ground attack against Elon. He had a 6.1 average. The 5-9 senior from Birmingham, AL went over the 1000-yard mark for his career against Elon He has a brother, Grant Brigham, who is a wide receiver on the Furman team and is a transfer from Vanderbilt.
Brian Stone and Brian Bratton are two outstanding receivers for the Paladins. They combined for 11 catches for 171 yards in the victory over Elon. Both caught scoring passes from Moore, who did not throw an interception in the opener. Mike Killian was the top tackler in the opener for Coach Bobby Lamb’s defense. That was no surprise considering he had 101 tackles last season when he took over the leadership at that position vacated by the graduation of 2001 Southern Conference Defensive Player of the Year Will Bouton.
Daniel South had six tackles and an interception in the opener, while Cam Newton had five tackles and an interception to go with a caused fumble. Danny Marshall leads the special teams as the placekicker. He has 239 career points entering this game, similar to the 237 points Aaron Hunt has accumulated for Clemson the last three years.
Hill Led Defense vs. Georgia One of the bright spots for Clemson in the opener against Georgia was the play of linebacker LeRoy Hill. The junior from Haddock, GA was making his first college start against a school from his home state and he responded with 16 tackles, including 13 first hits. He also had three tackles for loss in the contest.
Hill had played in 23 games over his first two years, all as a reserve. It was not the first time he led the Tigers in tackles however. In 2001 he had 11 stops in a victory over Duke at Death Valley. His three tackles for loss against Georgia were also a career high. In fact, he had just two career tackles for loss in the previous 23 games, then had three in his 24th game.Currie Establishes Career High Throughout the preseason, Clemson Head Coach Tommy Bowden commented on the improvement Airese Currie had made as a receiver. He proved Bowden to be correct in the opener against Georgia when he caught a career high seven passes for 56 yards. His previous career high was five catches for 59 yards against North Carolina in 2001.
Currie had five catches in the first half, so he actually reached his career high mark in the first half alone. Currie entered this season with a 17.7 yards per reception yardage for his career, fifth best in school history. The native of Columbia now has 41 career receptions for 658 yards.
Youngblood Steak Continues Wide receiver Kevin Youngblood had three catches for 24 yards in the opener against Georgia. It gives the graduate student 16 consecutive games with at least one reception. His streak includes the last three games of the 2000 season, all 13 games last year and the first game this year. He was the only Tiger to catch at least one pass in every game last year and thus is the only Clemson player to catch at least one pass in 13 different games in the same season. He will not set a school record, as Jerry Butler holds the mark with 36 in a row set between 1975-78.
Youngblood now has 75 receptions in his career, 19th best in Clemson history. But, if he can collect five receptions against Furman, he could jump all the way to 16th in school history. A five-catch game will move him past Antwuan Wyatt, Keith Jennings and Gary Cooper. A possession receiver by trade, Youngblood has 840 career yards and needs just 160 to reach the 1000-yard mark. When he gets 160 more yards he will be the 19th member of the 1000-yard reception yardage club.
Special Teams Show Improvement One of the goals for Tommy Bowden Tigers in 2003 was to improvement on special teams. While Clemson opened the season with a disappointing 30-0 loss to Georgia, there was improvement in terms of special teams.
That was the case when it came to the punting game. Freshman Cole Chason, playing in his first college game, had six punts for 248 yards, a 41.3 average. While a couple of his punts were not perfect spirals, they were effective. Georgia had just one punt return for 12 yards, meaning, Chason had a net punting average of 39.3 yards. It marked the first time in 17 games that a Clemson punter averaged at least 40 yards a punt for an entire game, the first time in 16 games that a Clemson punter had a net average of at least 39.3 yards a punt.
Clemson also did well in kick coverage, as Georgia had just 12 punt return yards and no kickoff returns yards, as freshman Jad Dean kicked the ball out of the endzone on his kickoff.
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 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.Hamilton Now Fourth in All-Purpose Running Clemson junior wide receiver Derrick Hamilton had 65 all-purpose running yards against Georgia and moved from sixth to fourth in Clemson history in that all-around category. He now has 3169 yards rushing (246), receiving (1332) , on kickoff returns (1191) and punt returns (400) for his career. The 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 1223 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 five catches for 46 yards in the opener against Georgia, giving him 110 receptions for his career. He moved ahead of Zachery and Phil Rogers into seventh place on Clemson’s all-time list in that areal. He is also 11th in receiving yards with 1332. Hamilton also holds the all-purpose running yards per game record for a career with 121.9 for his 26-game career as a Tiger.
Clemson All-Purpose Running Leaders
Clemson Career Reception Leaders
18 Tigers on NFL Rosters Clemson has 18 former players on NFL rosters, including three injured reserve players, according to rosters released by NFL clubs on Sunday. Sunday was the final day of cuts for the league, which will begin play this Thursday. 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. 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.
Former Clemson Players on NFL Rosters
# Injured Reserve
Four Players Return/Added to Roster While many teams are losing players during the preseason, Clemson has been adding to its roster. Since the end of spring practice, four players who did not figure to be with the program are now on the active roster for 2003.
Steven Jackson is a second-team fullback who has transferred from East Tennessee State. That program is dropping the sport at the end of this season, so the NCAA ruled he could play for Clemson immediately. He was a member of the All-Southern Conference rookie team last year as a defensive lineman. He played as a reserve fullback against Georgia in the season opener.
Eric Sampson was suspended at the end of last season for a violation of team rules related to academics. He did not participate in the spring and it was not known if he would return. But he is back on the squad and is currently the second team WHIP linebacker. He had 79 tackles to rank fourth on the team and started all 12 regular season games. He was second on the team in tackles in the Georgia game with eight.
Ben Hall was the starting tight end last year, but over the second semester did not go through spring practice and intended to transfer to another school. But, he reconsidered and is now back on the team. He caught a touchdown pass in the Tangerine Bowl and was a freshman All-American two years ago. Hall played as a reserve tight end against Georgia.
Finally, Roscoe Crosby is eligible to play this year. The red-shirt sophomore did not play last year after he withdrew from school for medical reasons. He received a medical waiver from the ACC and returned to the team on August 18. He has practiced since then, but will have very limited hitting opportunities prior to the Georgia game. He was a USA Today All-American in high school and started four games for the Tigers in 2001 when he had 27 catches for 465 yards. He was a second round draft choice by the Kansas City Royals out of high school and is still with the Royals organization in the off-season. Crosby played against Georgia, but did not catch a pass. He was the intended receiver just once.
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. 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, 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) Marion Dukes (OG), Brandon Pilgrim (OG), Jad Dean (PK)Players who made first career start: (9) Nathan Bennett (OG), Duane Coleman (TB), DeJuan Polk (DT), J.J. Howard (DE), Lionel Richardson (WHIP), Cole Chason (P)Players who played in a game for the first time (18): Nathan Bennett (OG), 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 seven tackles in the opener, and now has 319 for his career, 11th on the Clemson all-time list. He moved ahead of Henry Walls (316) and Jim Stuckey (314) in the Georgia game. He needs just three tackles against Furman to move ahead of former teammate Rodney Thomas into the top 10 in Clemson history. Thomas had 321 between 1999-02.
A starter in 26 consecutive games entering the Furman game, he reached double figures in tackles in 11 of the 13 games a year ago. 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 Preseason Honors 2003 Five different 2003 Clemson players are ranked among the top 20 players in the nation at their respective positions according to various preseason publications. The list includes wide receivers Kevin Youngblood, linebacker Aaron Hunt and cornerback Justin Miller.
The presence of Hamilton and Youngblood, along with returning starter and All-America track athlete Airese Currie, and red-shirt freshman Kelvin Grant, is a major reason Clemson’s receiving corps is ranked among the best in the nation. That list also does not include Roscoe Crosby, who had 27 catches in 2001 and just joined the team in mid-August.
Miller is ranked as the number-two cornerback in the nation by Sporting News and the number-four defensive back in the nation by collegefootballnews.com. That internet site also selects Miller as a first-team All-American and as the number-one rising star among defensive backs nationally. Collegefootballnews.com also ranks Miller as the 32nd best college football player in the nation regardless of position. He is on the Thorpe Award preseason list.
Miller, a native of Owensboro, KY, was a unanimous freshman All-American last year after leading the ACC and ranking fifth in the nation with eight interceptions. He tied the Clemson freshman record for passes defensed with 17 and the overall record for interceptions in a season, records set by Robert O’Neal in 1989. Miller also had 61 tackles and caused two fumbles during his freshman campaign. He led the ACC in interceptions and kickoff return average (35.1). His kickoff return average was the third highest in ACC history.
John Leake is ranked as the #17 outside linebacker in the nation by Lindy’s and is 18th by Sporting News. Collegefootballnews.com ranks Leake 22nd among all linebackers nationally. The Sporting News also says that Leake is the hardest hitting linebacker in the ACC. He is on the Butkus Award preseason list.
Hamilton is ranked #16 nationally among wide receivers by Sporting News, while Youngblood is ranked 19th among receivers according to Lindy’s. Athlon ranks Clemson’s receiving corps fourth in the nation, while collegefootballnews.com lists it fifth best, The Sporting News ranks it eighth and Lindy’s sees it as the 10th best group of receivers in the country.
Aaron Hunt is ranked s the 15th best placekicker in the nation by Sporting News, while collegefootballnews.com ranks Hunt 14th among all punters and placekickers in the nation. Charlie Whitehurst is listed as the number-six rising star among quarterbacks nationally. He is on the Lou Groza preseason list. He was a semifinalist for that honor last year.
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, Khaleed Vaughn and 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
Clemson’s Postgame Field PolicyClemson has modified its football postgame traditions in an effort to improve safety while maintaining fan access to the field. Called “Gathering at the Paw”, the new postgame tradition will begin at the conclusion of the game on August 30. At the final horn, Tiger Band will play the Clemson Alma Mater. Coaches and players will gather at the tiger paw at midfield after shaking the hands of the Georgia players and coaches. Clemson players will then meet with fans, as they have in years past, while the band performs. Event staff will be on hand to direct fans to designated field access areas near the east end zone.
Hunt Has High PercentageDavid Treadwell was inducted into the Clemson athletic Hall of Fame five 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 continue Clemson’s tradition of outstanding placekicking. Hunt enters his senior year with 37 field goals in 50 attempts. He has also kicked 126-130 extra points for a total of 237 career points. A year ago he was 17-22 on field goals. That was average a 10-12 season as a sophomore, so he has made 27 of his last 34 field goals entering 2003. He has made just one extra point each of the last two years.
Hunt has scored in each of the 36 games he has played in his career, already a Clemson record for consecutive games scored. 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. Entering this season, Hunt is fifth in school history in scoring, fourth among kickers. He has 237 total points and needs 65 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 Kick Return ComboClemson 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. Miller is yet to return a punt return in his career, but has done it in practice this fall.
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 *8th in total receptions (110) *12th in reception yardage (1332) *3rd in kickoff return yards (1191) *6th in all-purpose running yards (3169)
Kevin Youngblood *Ranked 19th in Clemson history in receptions (75)
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 second in Clemson history in career completion percentage (.575) *Ranked third in Clemson history in career interception avoidance (2.8 percent) *Ranked fourth in Clemson history in passing efficiency (128.3) *Min of 20 attempts
John Leake*Ranked 13th in Clemson history in career tackles (312)
Aaron Hunt Clemson Records Held *Most extra points in a career (126) *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 (237 points) *Ranked fourth in Clemson history in kick scoring (237 points) *Fifth in career field goals (37)
Justin Miller *Most interceptions in a season (8 in 2002) *Highest kickoff return average in a season (35.1 in 2002)
Airese Currie *Ranked fifth in Clemson history in yards per reception (16.0)
March 14, 2019