TigerNet Top-5: Bowers goes from No. 1-rated recruit to nation's top defender


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Bowers is still the only Tiger to win the Nagurski Award as the nation's top defender.
Bowers is still the only Tiger to win the Nagurski Award as the nation's top defender.

Few recruits in Clemson history came in with as much hype as Da’Quan Bowers and the Bamberg product put it all together in his 2010 junior campaign.

Clemson’s legacy at D-end saw a significant boost after the turn of the century defensively. In the TigerNet Top-5 of the ACC era, Shaq Lawson occupies the No. 5 spot from the last decade and Gaines Adams checks in at No. 4 from the previous decade.

A No. 1-rated prospect who played in both is up next in the countdown:

TigerNet Top-5: DE

Played: 2008-10

Notable career stats: 45 TFLs, 19.5 sacks, INT, 179 tackles in 38 games (30 starts).

Why he’s here: Bowers earned unanimous first-team All-America honors and ACC defensive player of the year as a junior, where he tallied 15.5 sacks and 26 tackles for loss in 74 total stops.

Bowers became Clemson’s first Hendricks Award recipient, given to the nation’s top defensive end, and is still the only Tiger to win the Nagurski Award, which goes to the nation’s top defender.

The 2010 TFL and sack marks rank No. 1 among Clemson defensive ends all-time. He led the NCAA in sacks per game (1.19) and ranked second in TFLs per game (2) on a top-15 scoring defense in the Tigers’ 6-7 campaign (13th; 18.8 PPG).

Bowers, who missed time with injury issues as a Tiger, had his NFL draft stock hurt late with a knee ailment and that bumped him to a second-round selection to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2011. After spending time as a student assistant football coach at Clemson recently, he is now a defensive line coach for USF.

TigerNet Top-5: DE

Our formula weighs a number of factors, including national awards, All-America and conference honors as well as school single-game, single-season and career records. An impact rating on that team success and the intangibles involved are also judged in that mix. And wrapping up the college aspect, we take how NFL scouts judged them with their draft position.

5. Shaq Lawson

4. Gaines Adams

3. Da’Quan Bowers

(Stats compiled and written by Brandon Rink)

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