Clemson's Top Defensive Backs


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Clemson’s Top Defensive Backs
We continue our look at the top players by position that I have seen at Clemson (since 1974). Today is our look at defensive backs. Here are the top ten defensive backs I have seen at Clemson:

1. Terry Kinard
Kinard and Anthony Simmons are the two best defensive players I have seen at Clemson. Kinard was inducted into the college football Hall of Fame in 2001 and is in the Ring of Honor at Clemson. He was a 1981 first-team All-American and a 1982 unanimous first-team All-American. Kinard was the 1982 National Defensive Player of the Year. He was an ACC 50-year selection and All-ACC in 1981 and 82. Kinard still holds Clemson’s career record with 17 interceptions. His terrific junior season helped the Tigers to the national title in 1981.

2. Donnell Woolford
Woolford and Kinard are the only two Clemson defensive backs to be named first-team All-American twice. Woolford was a 1987 first-team All-American and a 1988 consensus first-team All-American. In 1987 and 1988 he was selected All-ACC. Woolford was a shutdown corner who holds Clemson career record with 44 passes broken up.

3. Brian Dawkins
Dawkins is perhaps Clemson’s finest professional football player. He could become the school’s first player to make it into the NFL Hall of Fame. At Clemson, he was a 1995 second-team All-American. Dawkins and Robert O’Neal are the only two Tigers to be named All-ACC three times. Dawkins was All-ACC in 1993, 94, and 95.

4. Dexter Davis
Davis would have had better stats, but few ever tested his side of the field. He was All-ACC in 1988 and 1989. He had ten career interceptions and one career fumble return for a touchdown. He had six picks as a senior in 1990.

5. Justin Miller
Miller finished his time at Clemson second in career interceptions with 13 and is still sixth on that list. He was a physical corner who doubled as one of Clemson’s best kick returners in school history. Miller was All-ACC in 2002 and 2004, and a was a second-team All-American in 2004.

6. Robert O’Neal
O’Neal had one of the finest freshmen seasons in school history when he recorded eight interceptions, which is still a single season school record. He was a three-time All-ACC selection making the team in 1989, 91, 92. O’Neal and Brian Dawkins are the only two Tigers to be named All-ACC three times. He is tied for seventh in career interceptions with 12.

7. Antwan Edwards
Edwards had a great career at Clemson including two interceptions against South Carolina in Columbia in 1997. The future first-round pick in the NFL draft was a 1998 third-team All-American. He was selected as an All-ACC performer in 1997 and 1998.

8. Tye Hill
Hill moved to cornerback after a short stint at running back. He set the Clemson record with 21 passes broken up in 2004. In 2005 he was a first-team All-American and All-ACC.

9. DeAndre McDaniel
McDaniel was a 2009 first-team All-American and a third-team All-American the following year. He is one of only three Clemson defensive backs to be named All-American twice in his career
2009,10 All-ACC. The Florida native is tied for second in school history for career interceptions with 15. He was tied for third in the nation in interceptions in 2009. McDaniel led the Tigers in tackles and interceptions as a senior.

10. Mackensie Alexander
Alexander made the list despite playing only two seasons at Clemson and despite not having an interception in his career. For those two seasons, teams simply wouldn't test Alexander often. He was a third-team All-American and an All-ACC selection in 2015.

Among the defensive backs that were considered but did not make the top ten were Robert Carswell, Brian Mande, Jayron Kearse, Cordrea Tankersley, Rod McSwain, Rex Varn, Ronald Watson, Delton Hall, James Lott, Andre Humphrey, Leomont Evans, Dexter McCleon, Charles Harley, Michael Hamlin, Rasheed Hall, Bashaud Breeland, Jamaal Fudge, Crezdon Butler, Jerome Henderson, Byron Maxwell and James Trapp.

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