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The Last Word – 2017 Seniors

The Last Word – 2017 Seniors

Note: The following appears in the The Citadel gameday football program. To purchase a copy of the program while supplies last, send a check for $7 to Clemson Athletic Communications; P.O. Box 31; Clemson, SC 29633 with your return address.

The best way to describe the 2017 Tiger senior class would be “small, but mighty.” There are only six scholarship players in this senior class, the smallest Clemson senior class of scholarship players since 1944, when the school’s entire junior and senior classes were fighting in World War II. The only year that comes close is the 1985 senior class that had just seven scholarship seniors.

The accomplishments of the Clemson football program over the last four years fulfills the “mighty” part. Here are a few numbers to back that up.

• The class has an overall record of 47-6. That 88.7 winning percentage is best in Clemson history and already the second-most wins for a senior class. The record for wins is 49 by the 2016 seniors. Three more wins and this class can set the ACC record for wins by becoming the first 50-win class in league history. Win out and it would tie the all-time FBS record for wins (51).

• The Tigers have a 26-1 record at home, and a win today would set the school record for home wins in a four-year period. The senior classes of 2014, 2015 and 2016 were all 26-2 at home.

• This group of seniors had a 28-4 ACC regular-season record, tying the record set by the 2015 and 2016 seniors. But including ACC Championship Games, this group has 30 wins, tying the mark set by the 2015 seniors. So a win in the ACC Championship Game on Dec. 2 would be a record 31st against ACC teams.

• In terms of wins over top-25 teams, this group already has the record with 14. This senior class is 14-3 against top-25 teams, including nine wins in a row, tied for the ACC record.

• The class has also been remarkable in close games, posting a 13-3 record in contests decided by seven points or less. That includes a 7-1 record last year on the way to the national championship with a 35-31 win over Alabama.

• The Tigers are 21-5 away from home the last four years, including an 18-2 mark the last three years. Clemson has three wins over top-25 teams on the road this year, the Tigers’ most in a season since 1950.

• When it comes to top-10 rankings, this group is second to none. The program is ranked in the top 10 in the nation for the 39th week in a row, tied for the longest active streak in the nation with Alabama. Clemson’s second-longest streak of top-10 rankings is just 14 straight polls in 2013.

Overall, this senior class has been in the top 25 for 57 of 61 weeks and in the top 10 for 41 of those polls. The Tigers have been ranked in the top 25 for 48 straight polls, just two polls away from tying the Tiger record of 50 straight set from 1989-92 and 2011-14.

So, high praise to the Tigers who will be running down the Hill for the last time today.

Praise for Ryan Carter, who had an interception and three pass breakups at No. 20 NC State two weeks ago, the first Tiger to have four passes defended in a game since 2014.

Praise for Tyrone Crowder, who is playing his 45th game and 37th as a starter today. He is headed to a third All-ACC season.

Praise for Marcus Edmond, who has had an injury-riddled senior season, but will live on forever in the history of Clemson football for his game-deciding plays against Louisville and NC State at Death Valley in 2016.

Praise for D.J. Greenlee, who has battled back from injury to be a key contributor in 2017 from the tight end position.

Praise for Maverick Morris, the most versatile offensive lineman on the team.

And praise for Dorian O’Daniel, the first linebacker in Clemson history to return two interceptions for touchdowns in a season. He has continued to improve every year and is an ACC Defensive Player-of-the-Year candidate.