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Tigers in the NFL

Tigers in the NFL

CLEMSON, S.C. – Thirty-five former Clemson football players are in NFL camps according to rosters on the NFL’s official website. The list includes eight members of the 2013 Clemson team, five that were drafted and three others that signed free agent contracts.

Below are some notes on the 35 former Tigers in NFL Camps:

  • The 35 players include 17 offensive players, 17 defensive players and one special teams player (Chandler Catanzaro).
  • Sixteen of the 32 NFL players have at least one former Tiger on a roster, led by the Buffalo Bills with six.  Those players are C.J. Spiller, Sammy Watkins, Chris Hairston, Antoine McClain, Jonathan Meeks and Darius Robinson. This is the first time an NFL team has had six former Clemson players on its roster at the same time.
  • While the Bills have six former Tigers, five others have three apiece. Those teams are the New York Jets, Arizona Cardinals, San Diego Chargers, Tennessee Titans and Houston Texans. The Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Pittsburgh Steelers and Washington Redskins have two apiece.
  • The veteran of the list below is Charlie Whitehurst, who has completed eight seasons in the NFL. He is with Tennessee, his first year with the Titans.
  • Of the 35 former Tigers on NFL rosters, 34 played for current Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney. That includes Chris Clemons of the Houston Texans, who was a senior in 2008, the year Swinney took over as an interim coach at mid-season.
  • As far as a breakdown by position, five of the players listed are wide receivers and five are cornerbacks. Four are defensive ends, three are offensive tackles, strong safeties, and linebackers. Two are running backs, tight ends, centers and defensive tackles. There is one offensive guard and one kicker.
  • Four of the five wide receivers played with Clemson within the last two years. Last year Jaron Brown and DeAndre Hopkins were rookies in the NFL and this coming year Sammy Watkins and Martavis Bryant will be rookies. Hopkins and Watkins were both first-round draft choices. Clemson is the first school with a first round draft choice at wide receiver in consecutive years since 2006-07 when Ohio State did it.
  • Twenty-three of the players listed below have played in an NFL game. That list is led by Chris Clemons with 72 games of experience, 48 as a starter. C.J. Spiller has played in 61 games, while Michael Palmer has the third most games played among active Tigers with 59. Four former Tigers have been on various regular season rosters, but have not gotten in a game. The eight who are considered rookies have not been through a regular season yet.
  • Barry Richardson and Philip Merling both played in NFL games a year ago, but they are currently free agents who have not signed on with a team as of yet and thus are not included in the list.
  • Three former Clemson players are coaches in the NFL Brentson Buckner is defensive line coach of the Arizona Cardinals, Jerome Henderson is defensive backs coach of the Dallas Cowboys and Nick Eason is an assistant defensive line coach with the Tennessee Titans.
  • Two other former Clemson players are in personnel staff positions with NFL teams. DeJuan Polk is Director of Pro Scouting for the Atlanta Falcons, while Jerry Butler is Director of Player Development for the Denver Broncos.
  • Former Clemson soccer player Jamey Rootes is the president of the Houston Texans.
Former Clemson Players on NFL Rosters(Source:, May 30, 2014)
No. Name Pos. Team #Years Years at CU !GP-GS
83 Dwayne Allen TE Indianapolis Colts 2 2009-11 17-17
65 Thomas Austin C Indianapolis Colts 4 2006-09 8-1
91 Da’Quan Bowers DE Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3 2008-10 39-8
3 Tajh Boyd QB New York Jets R 2010-13
90 Andre Branch DE Jacksonville Jaguars 2 2008-11 29-3
26 Bashaud Breeland CB Washington Redskins R 2011-13
13 Jaron Brown WR Arizona Cardinals 1 2009-12 16-0
93 Kourtnei Brown DE Detroit Lions 2 2007-11 DNP
10 Martavis Bryant WR Pittsburgh Steelers R 2011-13
20 Crezdon Butler CB San Diego Chargers 3 2007-10 25-0
7 Chandler Catanzaro PK Arizona Cardinals R 2010-13
20 Chris Clemons SS Houston Texans 5 2005-08 72-48
53 Kavell Conner LB San Diego Chargers 4 2006-09 52-36
38 Andre Ellington RB Arizona Cardinals 1 2009-12 15-1
19 Jacoby Ford WR New York Jets 4 2006-09 38-13
63 Dalton Freeman C New York Jets 1 2009-12 DNP
38 Marcus Gilchrist DB San Diego Chargers 3 2007-10 46-24
75 Chris Hairston OL Buffalo Bills 3 2007-10 25-15
93 Malliciah Goodman DE Atlanta Falcons 1 2009-12 14-1
10 DeAndre Hopkins WR Houston Texans 1 2010-12 16-16
99 Jarvis Jenkins DT Washington Redskins 3 2007-10 28-19
41 Byron Maxwell CB Seattle Seahawks 3 2007-10 34-5
73 Antoine McClain OL Buffalo Bills 2 2008-11 DNP
36 Jonathan Meeks S Buffalo Bills 1 2009-12 8-0
82 Michael Palmer TE Pittsburgh Steelers 4 2006-09 59-5
41 Darius Robinson CB Buffalo Bills R 2010-13
91 Ricky Sapp LB Houston Texans 4 2006-09 14-0
24 Coty Sensabaugh CB Tennessee Titans 2 2008-11 30-6
69 Tyler Shatley OG Jacksonville Jaguars R 2010-13
28 C.J. Spiller RB Buffalo Bills 4 2006-09 61-31
60 Brandon Thomas OT San Francisco 49ers R 2010-13
98 Brandon Thompson DT Cincinnati Bengals 2 2008-11 19-7
14 Sammy Watkins WR Buffalo Bills R 2011-13
12 Charlie Whitehurst QB Tennessee Titans 8 2002-05 13-4
49 Jonathan Willard LB Tennessee Titans 1 2009-12 DNP
# – denotes years completed on an NFL roster
! – denotes career