Note: The following appears in the UConn football gameday program.
Each summer, local radio personalities William Qualkinbush and Kelly Gramlich, two of my former student workers who have hit the “big time,” have a radio show on WCCP (105.5 FM) dedicated to the All-Name Team for college football for the coming season. Their research is extensive and very entertaining.
Among their All-Name Team selections in recent years have been Storm Duck (North Carolina), Baer Hunter (Appalachian State) and Bumper Pool (Arkansas).
After listening to their team, I thought it would make a good article to pick Clemson’s All-Time Name Team.
OT – Jeff Nunamacher, 1985-88He has the best offensive line name for a player who was always recording knockdown blocks. Surprisingly, he is one of just 17 lettermen in Clemson history whose last name starts with the letter N.
OT – Frank DeIuliis, 1985-88He was starter on the teams in the 1980s and Nunamacher’s classmate. He had the most misspelled name in Clemson history. But this is understandable. Who would think anyone would have the letter I in their last name three times, including one capitalized that is not the first letter of his last name.
OG – Harry Olszewski, 1965-67He was an All-America offensive guard and starter on three ACC championship teams who once scored a touchdown against South Carolina when he caught a fumble in midair. He had the most mispronounced name of any Tiger. He must have been related to Coach K, because the pronunciation of his last name was oh-CHEF-skee. Most announcers just called him Harry O.
OG – Eric Mac Lain, 2012-15He was one of my all-time favorites, because he was always willing to represent the team in media interviews. He turned that experience into a thriving career with ACC Network. He is the only Clemson starter in history to have a separation between letters in his last name, a fact I went to great lengths to confirm the day he signed a national letter of intent.
C – Wingo Avery, 1953-55He was a starting center for Frank Howard’s run-oriented teams, and Wingo was his real first name according to Clemson legend George Bennett, who was a classmate. He went on to a long career with Coca-Cola in Atlanta, Ga.
TE – States Right Gist Finley, 1916,17I never could find how Finley got such an unusual name, and I do not know if he played tight end, but I needed a tight end for this team. His parents were named David and Elizabeth, so there is nothing strange in his heritage. He graduated from Clemson in 1918 and had a long career in engineering.
WR – Ajou Ajou, 2020,21His name is a city in France, and it is the name of a university in South Korea. He is the only Tiger in history whose first name and last name are the same.
WR – Brian Wofford, 1996-99Oh, what could have been! Think of the fun we could have had with pictures if Clemson played Wofford during his playing career. However, the Tigers did not face the Terriers until 2001, and thus he missed the opportunity to be the first Tiger to play in a game where his name is on every opponent jersey.
QB – Nealon Greene, 1994-97He started for the Tigers at quarterback for four seasons. It occurred to me that his name was the goal for the team at the end of a game. When you have a game clinched, the quarterback takes a knee on the green grass, or kneel on green.
RB – Stumpy Banks, 1915-19I have seen pictures, and he was a little Stumpy. However, he still is the co-holder of the Clemson single-game touchdown record with five against Furman in 1917. He was also the first Tiger to letter five times.
RB – Kevin Mack, 1980-83He ran over opposing defenders from his fullback position like a Mack Truck. In his final game in Death Valley in 1983, he scored a touchdown on a 42-yard run on his final carry with just one shoe against Maryland, a play that gave him a career-high 186 rushing yards.
DE – Waldo Watts, 1969,70I can only theorize that he got his name from the 1960s ABC cartoon show “Hoppity Hooper.” The show had a character named Waldo Wigglesworth.
DT – John Price & Jeff Stocks, 1970-72Both were starters on the Clemson defensive lines of the early 1970s. They should have opened a brokerage firm together upon graduation.
DT – William Perry, 1981-84No nickname was more appropriate or famous than “The Fridge,” who was a three-time All-American and among the most popular players in school history.
LB – Wyndie “Dumb Dumb” Wyndham, 1948-50Frank Howard gave him that nickname in 1947 as a freshman because he had trouble learning the plays. He figured it out and was one of the toughest linebackers in Clemson history. According to legend, he once knocked out NC State ball carriers on three consecutive plays.
LB – Ben Boulware, 2013-16The most Southern football linebacker name I ever heard was Knox Culpepper, a standout for Georgia from 1981-84. He was once quoted as saying that he was 15 years old before he knew Clemson and Auburn were not states. Boulware follows in that tradition with a name that screams hard-hitting linebacker.
LB – Corico Hawkins/Wright, 2009-12He is the only player in my years at Clemson who changed his last name during his career. He played as Corico Hawkins from 2009-11, then legally changed his last name to Wright for his senior year in 2012. Someone tell the Clemson historian for the 2050 season that he is the same player. I don’t know if I will be here at 95 years old.
CB – Reggie Pleasant, 1981-84CB – Dextra Polite, 1997-99We are running Pleasant and Polite as a combination at cornerback. Can you think of two less appropriate names for defensive players? Pleasant was the last member of the 1981 Clemson team to retire from professional football. Polite was a junior college transfer who still co-holds the Tiger record for passes defended in a season (21) in 2004. You can win a lot of bar bets with that trivia.
S – Knobby Knoebel, 1950-52His real first name was Fred, and he was a legendary two-sport standout at Clemson during the early 1950s. When he graduated, he was the Tigers’ career leader in interceptions (15) on the gridiron and triples in baseball. Nearly 70 years after he played his final game in a Tiger uniform, only all-time great Terry Kinard has more career interceptions (17).
S – K’Von Wallace, 2016-19He is the only Clemson starting defensive back who had an apostrophe in his first name. Before every game, I met with announcers on how to pronounce his name (KAY-von, not kuh-VON). This two-time national champion is now in the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles.
PK – Obed Ariri, 1977-80His first name means “servant” and his middle name, “Chukwuma,” means “God only knows.” God only knew what he would do next. He was an All-ACC selection in soccer and football during his career. As a senior in 1980, he set the NCAA career field-goal record. In the fall of 1979, he played football and soccer on the same weekend.
P – Wynn Kopp, 2001,02He is the only Tiger in history whose first name is the team’s goal before every game (“Just Wynn, baby”). He transferred from Georgia and was the Tigers’ starting punter in 2001 and 2002.
Special Teams Player – Chinedu Ohan, 1987,88He was a freak athlete who ran a 4.6 in the 40 at 240 pounds, had a 35” vertical jump and once did 81 situps in 60 seconds. His most famous play took place against Georgia in 1987, when he miraculously saved a Rusty Seyle punt from going into the endzone, knocking the ball back to the one yard line, where John Johnson downed it. Clemson then got a safety a couple of plays later, followed by David Treadwell’s game-winning field goal with two seconds left for a 21-20 win.