#19/18 Clemson Tigers vs. UCF Golden Knights
Saturday, Sept. 1, 2001
1:00 PM (EST)
Clemson Memorial Stadium (81,474)
In the Rankings
Clemson - #19 AP, #18 USA Today/ESPN
UCF - Unranked
Radio: Clemson Tiger Sports Network
Play By Play: Jim Phillips
* Color: Mike Eppley
* Sideline: Rodney Williams
Series History: First Meeting
Tickets: $25, Available
Special Day: IPTAY Day
Hiring Bowden Means Improvement
We are yet to find a coach in NCAA Division I-A history who has
accomplished what Tommy Bowden has done in his first four years as a
Division I head coach. In each of his first four seasons he has seen
his team make at least a three-victory improvement over the previous
year. In 1997 he took over a Tulane program that had been 4-7 the
year prior to his hiring, and he brought the program to a 7-4 season.
The following year he took Tulane to a perfect 11-0 campaign in the
In 1999 he took over a Clemson team that had been 3-8 in 1998 and
took the Tigers to six wins and a Peach Bowl bid. Last year there was
another three-win improvement, as Clemson finished the year 9-3 and
ranked 14th in the final ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll.
As far as Clemson history is concerned, the only previous coaches to
take the Tigers to a three-win improvement in consecutive years are
Josh Cody (1927 and 1928) and Charley Pell (1977 and 1978). No one in
Clemson history has done it three straight years. Bowden and UNLV
Head Coach John Robinson are the only coaches in the nation to take a
team to a three-win improvement each of the last two years.
Bowden can stand alone in one area if he takes the Tigers to a bowl
game this year. No Clemson coach as led the Tigers to a bowl game in
each of his first three years with the Tigers.
Battle of Productive Quarterbacks
Clemson's season opener promises to be quite a matchup of outstanding
quarterbacks. Clemson's Woodrow Dantzler (22nd) and UCF's Ryan
Schneider (ninth) both ranked in the top 25 in the nation in passing
efficiency in 2000. Dantzler completed 56 percent of his passes for
1,871 yards and 11 scores. Schneider completed 62 percent of his
passes for 2,334 yards and 21 scores. Dantzler is the more mobile of
the two, as he rushed for 1,028 yards, while Schneider had-88 on the
Schneider did not enter the lineup until the third game, replacing
former South Carolina quarterback Vic Penn, who was injured early in
the 2000 season. Schneider started the last seven games of the year
and took the Golden Knights to a 5-2 record. He passed for at least
250 yards in all seven of his starts. He threw for 283 yards and
three touchdowns at Alabama last year.
Dantzler's bid to become the first quarterback in NCAA history to
reach 1,000 yards rushing and 2,000 yards passing in the same season
hit a snag at North Carolina on Oct. 21 last year when was forced out
of the game with an injury. He had just 283 yards of total offense
over the next three games. Prior to the injury, Dantzler was
averaging 300 yards of total offense per game.
But, Dantzler finished strong against South Carolina. With two weeks
to rest, he had 80 yards rushing and 185 yards passing in the 16-14
win over the Gamecocks. He added 261 yards of total offense in the
Gator Bowl against Virginia Tech. It brought him to 2,899 yards of
total offense for the season, an all-time Clemson record.
Despite the injuries, Dantzler nearly reached the 1,000/2,000 season.
He reached 1,028 yards rushing and added 1,871 passing for the 12
games. With the injuries and blowout games he only played a little
over nine games in 2000.
Even though Dantzler has started just 18 games at quarterback in his
Clemson career, he is already fourth in school history in total
offense. He has 5,159 yards for his career. He went over the 5,000
yards mark against Virginia Tech in the Gator Bowl. Next on the
horizon is Rodney Williams, Clemson's winningest quarterback in
history, who had 5,510. Dantzler has played 27 games in his career
and now averages a school record 191 yards per game in total offense
for his career.
Dantzler needs 1,628 yards of total offense in 2001 to become
Clemson's career leader. Nealon Greene had 6,786 for his four-year
career between 1994-97. Dantzler needs just 38 yards rushing against
UCF to become Clemson's career rushing leader by a quarterback. He is
also expected to break the ACC record for that category this year.
Clemson wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator Rick
Stockstill came to Clemson in 1989 after serving at UCF as wide
receivers coach from 1985-88. In those four years at UCF he coached
among others, Shawn Jefferson, who went on to a long NFL career with
the New England Patriots and then the Atlanta Falcons.
The offensive coordinator on that UCF staff from 1985-88 was current
Golden Knights head coach Mike Kruczek. Kruczek also coached with
current Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden at Florida State in 1982.
That was Kruczek's first full-time college coaching job, just two
years removed from the end of his NFL career. Florida State finished
the season with a 9-3 record, a berth in the Gator Bowl and a #13
final AP ranking.
Two current fulltime coaches on the UCF staff were once graduate
assistants at Clemson. UCF secondary coach Gene Chizik and offensive
line coach Robert McFarland were both graduate assistant coaches at
Clemson for the 1988 and 1989 seasons under Danny Ford. The Tigers
were 10-2 in both seasons, ending each year with a bowl victory.
UCF Athletic Director Had Impact on Bowden's Career
UCF Athletic Director Steve Sloan had a positive impact on the
coaching career of Clemson Head Coach Tommy Bowden. In 1983, Sloan,
then the head coach at Duke, hired Bowden as his offensive
coordinator. It was Bowden's first job as a coordinator and the
experience certainly enhanced Bowden's career. In their first year
together, Ben Bennett led the Duke offense to a record setting season.
One of their most productive performances came against Clemson, a
38-31 Tiger win in which Bowden's offense gained 508 yards, including
367 passing. James Robinson had to deflect a fourth-down pass from
the Clemson nine-yard-line to preserve the win. The Tigers posted a
9-1-1 record that year.
Bowden coached under Sloan for four seasons, before both moved to
Alabama. Bowden became an assistant coach on Bill Curry's staff and
Sloan became the Alabama Athletic Director. Sloan has been the AD at
UCF since 1993.
The UCF Program
UCF is one of the rising programs of college football. In 1978, they
did not even have a football team. By 1998 they had posted a 9-2
record and boasted one of the top players in college football in
Daunte Culpepper, now the starting quarterback for the Minnesota
UCF started its program in 1979 at the Division III level. In 1982
they moved to Division II, then became Division I-AA in 1990. They
have been a Division I-A school since the 1996 season. Last season
they achieved a landmark victory by winning at Alabama on the Crimson
Tide's homecoming. Earlier in the year they nearly won at Georgia
Tech, before suffering a 21-17 loss.
UCF is one of the few independent schools in the nation. It allows
them to play a diverse schedule. In 2001, the Golden Knights might be
the only team in the nation to play a team from the ACC, the Big East
and the SEC. Overall, six different conferences are represented on
their 2001 schedule.
UCF Coach Mike Kruczek
Mike Kruczek is in his fourth year as head coach at Central Florida,
but his 17th season with the program overall. He served as offensive
coordinator for the Golden Knights from 1985-97, so he has been
affiliated with the school for 16 of the program's previous 22
Kruczek has quite a resume as a player and a coach. He was the
starting quarterback for Boston College between 1973-75 and is a
member of the school's athletic Hall of Fame. He was a second-round
draft choice of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1976. The first round pick
for the Steelers that year was former Clemson All-American Bennie
Kruczek played six years in the NFL, five with Pittsburgh and one
with the Washington Redskins He was a member of two Super Bowl
Championship teams (1978 and 1979 seasons) along with Cunningham in
Pittsburgh. In his rookie season (1976), he stepped in for an injured
Terry Bradshaw and led the Steelers to seven consecutive wins. He
completed 60 percent of his passes over his NFL career.
Kruzcek began his coaching career under Bobby Bowden at Florida State
in 1982. After two years at Florida State and one year as
quarterbacks coach of the Jacksonville Bulls of the now defunct USFL,
he moved to UCF. In 1998 he became the head coach developed
quarterback Daunte Culpepper into a first-round draft choice.
Seven Graduate Students to Start for Tigers
Clemson has seven graduate students slated to hold starting positions
for the season opener against UCF. That is an all-time record for
graduate students on the Clemson football team.
The list is led by Heisman Trophy candidate Woodrow Dantzler, who
received his degree in marketing from Clemson in August. Dantzler
hugged Clemson President Jim Barker when he was presented his diploma
on the stage at Littlejohn Coliseum.
Starting defensive back Charles Hafley and starting defensive tackle
Nick Eason both earned their degrees in sociology that same day.
Eason's graduation was especially impressive because he still has two
years of eligibility. He earned the degree in three years and three
summer sessions and plans to earn a master's degree before his
eligibility is up. He is the first Clemson football player to earn an
undergraduate degree with two years of eligibility remaining.
Four other Clemson players received their degrees prior to this past
August, and all four of them are starters on offense. Kyle Young,
starting center, and T.J. Watkins, starting guard, earned their
degrees in May. Young graduated Summa Cum Laude and is a two-time
first-team Academic All-American. Wide receiver Matt Bailey also
received his degree that day. Starting offensive guard Will Merritt
received his degree in December 2000, just a few days prior to the
Five Tigers on Preseason Award Lists
Five Clemson players have been named to various preseason award lists
for the 2001 season. Clemson quarterback Woodrow Dantzler is on the
preseason list for the Davey O'Brien Award, which is given to the top
quarterback in college football. Running back Travis Zachery is on
the Doak Walker Award list, which is given to the top running back in
college football. Zachery is one of just two ACC players on the list.
Clemson has two offensive linemen on the preseason Lombardi Award
list. Center Kyle Young and offensive guard Will Merritt are both
listed for the award that goes to the top lineman in college
football. Clemson and Miami (FL) are the only two schools with two
offensive linemen on the list. Defensive linemen and linebackers are
Chad Carson is the only Clemson defensive player on a preseason award
list. Clemson's top tackler from 2000 is on the preseason Butkus
Award Watch List. Carson ranked fourth in the nation in tackles a
year ago. Clemson linebacker Keith Adams was a finalist for the award
The only Clemson player to win a national award is Terry Kinard. The
two-time first-team AP All-American was named the national defensive
player of the year by CBS Sports in 1982. Kinard will be inducted
into the College Football Hall of Fame in December and will be
inducted into the Clemson Ring of Honor prior to the Clemson vs.
Florida State game on Nov. 3.
Tigers From Florida
Clemson has 14 players from the state of Florida, its highest roster
population from the Sunshine State in its history. The list includes
four players from Jacksonville, sophomore Kevin Youngblood, and
freshmen Tavaghn Monts, Jamaal Fudge and Eric Sampson.
Of the 14 players, only one is scheduled to start against UCF.
Charles Hafley (Pompano Beach) is the leader of the Clemson secondary
and will start at strong safety. Kevin Youngblood would have been a
starting wide receiver, but the 6-5 player broke a leg in practice on
Aug. 21 and is lost for the season.
Players from Florida have excelled at Clemson over the years. Between
1982-97 (16 recruiting classes), Clemson had 39 signees from Florida
and 25 went on to become starters. Ten of the 39 became first or
second-team All-ACC at last one season and 10 went on to play in the
NFL. Between 1996 and 1997 Clemson signed six players from Florida
and all six went on to become starters.
The recent list of Clemson signees from Florida includes Rod Gardner.
The native of Jacksonville was the #15 selection of the 2001 NFL
draft by the Washington Redskins. Philadelphia Eagles Pro Bowl safety
Brian Dawkins also came to Clemson from Jacksonville. In fact, he
came from the same high school as Gardner, Raines High School.
Tigers from Florida
Name, Pos Hometown High School
Willie Simmons Quincy Shanks
Kevin Youngblood Jacksonville Raines
Tavaghn Monts Jacksonville Ribault
Jamaal Fudge Jacksonville White
Clifford Harrell Tallahassee N. Florida Christian Acad.
David Dunham Lake City Columbia
Ronny Delusme Naples Lely
Charles Harper Quincy Shanks
Eric Sampson Jacksonville White
Tony Lazzara St. Petersburg Shorecrest Prep
Charles Hafley Pompano Beach Ely
Jermyn Chester Titusville Titusville
Bobby Williamson Tarpon Springs East Lake
Ronnie Thomas Quincy Shanks
Heisman Candidate Woodrow Dantlzer
Clemson quarterback Woodrow Dantzler has been omni present on many of
the preseason Heisman Trophy lists. The Clemson graduate is ranked as
the number-two candidate for the award by CBS.Sportsline.com, Lindy's
preseason annual, and Mel Kiper of ESPN. He is ranked eighth by The
Sporting News. He is also listed by USA Today as a candidate. That
publication listed 10 players in alphabetical order. He was also one
of six favorites mentioned by the ESPN GameDay crew.
Dantzler was also listed as the first- team preseason All-America
quarterback by Football News and Lindy's. Lindy's lists Dantzler as
the top candidate for the Davey O'Brien Award. Lindy's and Street &
Smith rank Dantzler as the number-one preseason candidate for ACC
Player of the Year, while Sporting News lists him as the preseason
Offensive Player of the Year.
IPTAY Establishes Fund Raising Record
IPTAY raised more than $20 million in pledges during the 2000-01
fiscal year according to data released by George Bennett, executive
secretary of Clemson's scholarship fund-raising organization. The
figure was more than doubled the previous record set last year.
The official dollar figure for pledges for IPTAY 2001 was
$20,278,795.80, shattering the previous record of $10,062,859.70 set
during the 1999-00 fiscal year. Bennett announced that the
organization had 24,879 members during the year that closed June 30,
2001, also a record.
Bennett said there were many other reasons for the increase,
including a change in the Life Member program, the Tiger Pride
campaign and the growth of the endowment program. He reported that
the Tiger Pride Campaign raised $7.5 million this past year (not
included in the above $20 million total) and now has raised $23
million. The Tiger Pride Campaign has a goal of $65 million.
"We have begun a lot of digging at our athletic facilities on campus
and raising money for the Tiger Pride campaign will be our emphasis
this year," said Bennett. Construction has already begun on the new
annex at Littlejohn Coliseum. Renovations to the South Side of
Clemson Memorial Stadium will be ready by opening day. Further
renovations to the West end of the stadium will begin after this
Season Tickets Near Record Total
Clemson has sold 57,350 season tickets for the 2001 campaign, 275
away from the school's all-time record, Associate Athletic Director
and Ticket Manager Van Hilderbrand said Aug. 25. The single season
record is 57,625 set in 1988, a season in which Clemson played both
South Carolina and Florida State at Death Valley.
This is just the fifth time Clemson has exceeded the 57,000 season
ticket mark. Season ticket figures do not include what is allotted to
the opposition, or Clemson student ticket sales. Over 75,000 people
are expected for the season opener against Central Florida.
Clemson sold 54,159 season tickets last year, an increase of nearly
4,000 over the previous year. Clemson sold 46,541 season tickets in
1998, the year prior to the beginning of the Tommy Bowden era at
Clemson. That means, season tickets have increased by nearly 11,000
since Bowden became Clemson coach for the beginning of the 1999
Clemson averaged 78,378 fans per game in 2000, its highest average
since the 1990 season. The school ranked seventh in the nation in
total attendance and 12th in average attendance for the 2000 season.
The 2000 season also saw an average of 11,050 students attend Clemson
home games, an all-time record.
Youngblood, Bodrick Out for the Season
Two Clemson starters were lost for the season during preseason
practice. First, on Aug. 18, starting linebacker Altroy Bodrick
suffered a torn ACL during a scrimmage in Death Valley. Three days
later, during the final scrimmage of the preseason, starting wide
receiver Kevin Youngblood was lost for the year with a broken leg.
Bodrick was a senior entering this year, but has never red-shirted
and thus will come back for a fifth year in 2002. Youngblood was a
red-shirt sophomore this year and thus will lose a year as a result
of the injury. He will still be eligible for 2002 and 2003.
As a result of the injury to Bodrick, Reggie Herring moved Braxton K.
Williams from star safety to Bodrick's linebacker position, a
position he has played the last two years. John Leake then moved to
the starting position at star safety. Leake had been Clemson's best
defensive player during the first two weeks of camp, according to
As a result of Youngblood's injury at wide receiver, Jackie Robinson
moved from his flanker position to Youngblood's wide receiver slot.
Robinson is a returning starter who knows all the receiver positions
in the Clemson offense. Freshman Roscoe Crosby moved to the starting
flanker position that Robinson held.
This is the first time since 1994 that Clemson has lost two players
for the season during preseason drills. That year reserve Rudy Currie
suffered a broken wrist and was out for the year and linebacker
Bernard Randolph suffered repeated concussions and was kept out for
the season. Both of those players were reserves.
Herring Suffers Torn Achilles
The same day that Altroy Bodrick suffered a torn ACL, defensive
coordinator Reggie Herring suffered a torn Achilles tendon. Herring
suffered the injury while exhorting his defense after a good play
during the Aug. 18 scrimmage.
Herring, who never missed a game due to injury during his playing
career at Florida State, will not miss a game this year. He will
coach the Tigers defense from the press box until he is able to walk
without crutches. At that point he will return to the sidelines,
where he has worked since he came to Clemson in 1993.
Herring showed some intestinal fortitude on Aug. 22 when he had the
surgery to repair the torn Achilles at 6:30 AM, then returned to
practice that afternoon at 3:30 PM. He coached from the sidelines
while sitting in a golf cart. He was helped during that day by pain
killers, causing Tommy Bowden to comment, "That is the first time I
had an assistant coach on morphine during practice."
Leake Defender to Watch
Coach Tommy Bowden spoke in the preseason about players who needed to
step up their play on defense to make the Tigers successful in 2001.
The Tigers lost seven defensive starters from last year so many 2000
reserves have an opportunity to make a difference.
One of the players who is taking advantage of an opportunity is star
safety John Leake. The sophomore from Plano, TX is now starting at
the star safety position. Defensive Coordinator Reggie Herring said
he was Clemson's top defensive player in the first two weeks of the
preseason work. He was the team's top tackler in both major
scrimmages. He also had a team best three sacks. "His motor runs
nonstop," said Bowden. "He reminds you of Keith Adams the way he
practices and plays all over the field."
Leake did not play a single play from scrimmage last year, but was a
top special teams tackler with nine stops. He then had a breakout
spring, highlighted by a 10-tackle effort in the spring game, a total
that led all tacklers. He also had a 57-yard interception return for
Changes from the Press Guide
There have been some changes as far as personnel is concerned since
the 2001 Clemson media guide was published in July. Three players on
the press guide roster are no longer on the team. Freshman Micheaux
Hollingsworth has decided to attend a junior college. Freshman Grant
Oliver decided to leave Clemson a week into practice and has left
school. David Ellis, a two-year letterman at defensive end, decided
to leave the team a week into practice.
Five players have changed positions since the beginning of practice.
Braxton K. Williams has moved from star safety to strongside
linebacker. Tyrone Lee, a letterman as a reserve tight end last year,
has moved to fullback. Eric Sampson, who came to Clemson as a
linebacker this year, is now the backup star safety. Brian Carr has
moved from quarterback to free safety and freshman Eric Coleman has
moved from tight end to offensive tackle.
Seven players have changed uniform numbers:
New # Player Old #
14 Tony Elliott, WR 38
49 Britt Sheman, FB 44
44 Tyrone Lee, FB 87
76 Eric Coleman, OT 89
55 Anthony Williams, LB 57
93 Tif Miller, P 13
99 Maurice Fountain, DE 93
Zachery Needs 18 Yards for 2,500
For the second straight year, Travis Zachery opens the regular season
having to prove himself after suffering a painful injury in a bowl
game. The Doak Walker Award candidate suffered a broken ankle on a
23-yard scoring reception from Woodrow Dantzler in the Gator Bowl
against Virginia Tech and that kept him out of the rest of the game
and Spring practice.
But, he is back to full strength looking to improve on his 2000
totals when he rushed for 1,027 yards and scored a single season
record 18 touchdowns. He had scored 16 touchdowns in 1999. For his
career, he already has the Clemson record with 39 scores. He has 34
touchdowns in 24 games over the last two years.
Zachery enters this season with 2,482 career-rushing yards, fifth
best in school history. He obviously needs just 18 yards to reach
2,500 for his career. The greatest receiving running back in Clemson
history, he has a record 60 career catches for 643 yards. He has 3401
all-purpose running yards in his career, best in school history.
Zachery probably won't catch Raymond Priester when it comes to the
career rushing record (he needs 1484), but he will have a good chance
to catch Priester in all-purpose yards. Priester had 4282 all-purpose
yards (rushing, receiving and kick returns combined), just 881 yards
ahead of Zachery. Zachery has had at least 997 all-purpose yards in
each of his first three years at Clemson.
Young Looks for Landmark Accomplishment
Clemson center Kyle Young has been named a first-team Academic
All-American each of the last two years. If he is chosen for a third
time at the end of the 2001 season he will become just the second
offensive lineman in college football history to be chosen a
first-team Academic All-American in three different seasons. He would
also become just the second ACC player in history to be chosen three
The College Sports Information Directors of America have chosen the
academic All-America team every year since 1952, so the 2001 team
will be the 50th team selected. Players chosen to the team must have
at least a 3.20 cumulative GPA. Young had a 3.98 career GPA and
graduated in May, Summa Cum Laude.
Young will try to join former Colorado offensive lineman Jim Hansen
as the only three-time first-team selections. Hansen was named in
1990, 1991 and 1992. The only other ACC player to be a three-time
first-team selection, regardless of position, is Mike Diminick, a
defensive back from Duke, who was named first team in 1986, 1987 and
Overall, 12 different football players have been named first-team
academic All-American three times. Clemson's Kyle Young will attempt
to join that group in 2001.
Three-Time First-Team Academic All-Americans
Name Pos. School Years
Jon Abbott LB Arizona 1975-77
Ron Duncan TE Ball State 1985-87
Jim Hansen OL Colorado 1990-92
Mike Diminick DB Duke 1986-88
Dan Gregus DL Illinois 1980-82
David Patterson WR New Mexico State 1996-98
Joe Heap B Notre Dame 1952-54
John Bergren DL Stanford 1981-83
Scott Henderson LB Texas 1968-70
Kip Corrington DB Texas A&M 1985-87
Jason Hanson PK Washington St. 1989-91
Don Davey DL Wisconsin 1987-90
Clemson Has Strong Freshman Class
Clemson's recruiting class for the 2001 season was among the best in
the nation according to many who rate recruiting classes. That group
could have an immediate impact on the Tigers, especially at wide
receiver, defensive line and the secondary.
It is a rarity for a first-year freshman to step right in and start
in a non-special teams role. The last "true freshman" to start the
season opener was Anthony Simmons, at linebacker for the first game
of the 1995 season. He is now starting for the Seattle Seahawks. The
last offensive first-year freshman to start the season opener was
Anthony Downs, at tailback for the first game of the 1994 season.
Only10 first-year freshmen have started the season opener since
freshmen became eligible for the 1972 season. Wide receiver Roscoe
Crosby is listed as a first-team player this year and would be the
first first-year freshman wide receiver to start his first game.
Here is a list of all first-year freshmen to start the season opener
since that season:
1973 Ken Callicutt (TB), Nelson Wallace (DT)
1974 Jeff Mills (DT)
1980 Jeff Wells (TE), James Farr (C)
1987 John Johnson (LB)
1988 Chris Gardocki (PK)
1994 Anthony Downs (TB)
1995 Anthony Simmons (LB)
2000 Aaron Hunt (PK)
Clemson in the Preseason Polls
Clemson is ranked 19th in the preseason Associated Press poll. This
is the 18th time since 1936 that Clemson has been ranked in the
preseason top 25 of that poll. This is the second straight year
Clemson has been in the preseason top 20, as the Tigers were 17th in
last year's preseason poll. The Tigers improved on that by finishing
16th in the final AP poll. Clemson was 14th in the final USA Today
poll for the 2000 season.
Clemson was 18th in the preseason USA Today/ESPN Coach's poll. As far
as other preseason polls are concerned, The Tigers have been ranked
20th by Sports Illustrated, 13th by ESPN the Magazine and 18th by The
Clemson's highest preseason ranking in the history of the AP poll is
a number-four ranking. Clemson had that lofty ranking in 1988 and
1984. The 1988 team finished 10-2 and ranked ninth in the final poll.
The 1984 team finished 7-4 and was not ranked in the final AP poll.
That team led by William Perry and Mike Eppley did finish 20th in the
final New York Times computer ranking.
The preseason poll is not always an indication of future success or
failure for the Tigers, although it was last season. The previous
three seasons Clemson was ranked in the preseason top 25 it failed to
finish in the top 25. The 1993 season was the last time prior to 2000
that Clemson was ranked in the preseason and the postseason poll in
the seame year.
Last year was the 11th time Clemson was ranked in the Associated
Press preseason poll and finished the season in the top 25. That
includes a streak of five straight years between 1987-91. There have
been nine seasons in which Clemson was unranked in the preseason
poll, then finished the season ranked in the top 20. That includes
the 1981 season when Clemson was unranked in August, then won the
National Championship in January. The last time Clemson went from
unranked in the preseason to a final top 25 ranking was 1986 when
Clemson finished 17th after an 8-2-2 season.
Of the 17 times that Clemson has been ranked in the preseason poll
prior to this year, Clemson has finished higher than the preseason
ranking just five times (1958, 1978, 1982, 1990 and 2000). In one
season, 1989, Clemson had the same preseason and final ranking.
Clemson in the Associated Press Preseason Poll
Year Pre Record Final
1958 18 8-3 12
1959 8 9-2 11
1960 9 6-4 NR
1978 18 11-1 6
1982 11 9-1-1 8
1984 4 7-4 NR
1987 9 10-2 12
1988 4 10-2 9
1989 12 10-2 12
1990 10 10-2 9
Year Pre Record Final
1991 9 9-2-1 18
1992 13 5-6 NR
1993 22 9-3 23
1994 25 5-6 NR
1996 25 7-5 NR
1997 18 7-5 NR
2000 17 9-3 16
Here is a list of Clemson's preseason rankings
13th-ESPN The Magazine
18th-The Sports News; Football Writers Association; USA Today/ESPN
19th-Preview Sports; Street & Smith, Associated Press
20th-Athlon, Blue Ribbon, Sports Illustrated
Clemson in Openers
Clemson has won 14 of its last 17 season openers. The only opening
losses since 1983 took place in 1986 at Clemson when Virginia Tech
and Coach Bill Dooley upset the Tigers, 20-14, at North Carolina in
Chapel Hill in 1996 and in 1999 at home against Marshall. That 1986
game with Virginia Tech was a battle of eventual bowl teams, as the
Tigers ended the year 8-2-2 and ranked 17th in the nation, while
Virginia Tech was 9-2-1 and ranked 20th in the final poll. The 1999
13-10 loss to Marshall was also a battle of bowl teams.
Even though this is the 106th season of Clemson football, Clemson has
had just 100 home openers in its history because five seasons Clemson
did not play a game at home. In the 100 home openers Clemson has a
76-16-8 record against 27 different opponents. Clemson has nearly an
identical record in terms of the first game of the season. The Tigers
are 78-19-8, regardless of site, in their first game of the season.
Clemson Opening Day Records
Two current Clemson players own opening day records in Clemson
history, and both were set last year against The Citadel. Quarterback
Woodrow Dantzler completed 16-17 passes for 192 yards and three
touchdowns in that 2000 opener. He set the Clemson overall record
(not just opening day) for completion percentage and efficiency
rating in a single game.
Dantzler has always gotten his season off to a good start. For the
three season openers he has played in his career he is 21-24 passing
for 268 yards and three scores. Rushing, he has 28-123 yards. Chad
Carson tied the Clemson opening day record for tackles with 18
against The Citadel last year. Jeff Davis also had 18 against Rice in
the 1980 season opener.
Clemson Opening Day Individual Records
Total Offense: 297 by Billy Hair by Presbyterian, 1951
Rushing Yards: 204 by Buck George vs. Presbyterian, 1952
Passing Yards: 283 by Jimmy Addison vs. Virginia, 1966
Pass Attempts: 34 by Brandon Streeter vs. Marshall, 1999
Pass Completions: 23 by Brandon Streeter vs. Marshall, 1999
Completion Percentage: .941 (16-17) by Woodrow Dantzler vs. The Citadel, 2000
Passing Efficiency: 247.1 by Woodrow Dantzler vs. The Citadel, 2000
Receptions: 11 by Rod Gardner vs. Marshall, 1999
Reception Yards: 145 by Perry Tuttle vs. Furman, 1979
All Purpose Yards: 246 by Buck George vs. Presyterian vs. Presbyterian, 1952
Tackles: 18 by Jeff Davis vs. Rice, 1980 and by Chad Carson vs. The Citadel, 2000
Two of Nation's Top Tacklers on Display
While much of the talk about this game has centered around offense,
there are some outstanding defenders on each team. In fact, two of
the top four tacklers in the nation in 2000 will be on display this
afternoon. Clemson's Chad Carson had 146 tackles in the regular
season last year and his 13.27 tackles per game ranked fourth in the
nation. Tito Rodriquez, like Carson a senior this year, had 121
tackles in nine games and his 13.44 tackles per game ranked second in
the country to another ACC player, Levar Fisher of N.C. State.
Carson is a standout on the field and in the classroom. He was a
first-team Academic All-American in 2000 after earning second team
honors in 1999. He has a chance to join teammate Kyle Young as the
only three-time Academic All-America selections in Clemson history.
On the field, Carson has 311 career tackles and enters the season
ranked 12th in school history. He needs only six tackles against UCF
to move all the way to ninth. He will quickly move ahead of Doug
Brewster (312), Jim Stuckey (314) and Henry Walls (316). A model of
consistency in all phases of his life, Carson has had double figures
in tackles in 19 of his last 24 games, including each of his last six.
Rodriquez is a senior from Lehigh Acres, FL who missed the first two
games of last year with a knee injury. He had just 57 total tackles
in his first two years combined, then had 121 in the last nine games
of 2000. Ten of his 121 tackles were tackles for loss and he had a
season high 19 stops against Northern Illinois. He had 18 against
Virginia Tech and 14 more in the win at Alabama.
2000 NCAA Tackle Leaders
Rk Player, School GP Tot /Game
1. Levar Fisher, Jr. N.C. State 11 163 14.82
2. Tito Rodriguez, Jr. UCF 9 121 13.44
3. Brian Leigeb, Sr. Central Michigan 11 147 13.36
4. Chad Carson, Jr. Clemson 11 146 13.27
5. Lawrence Flugence, So. Texas Tech 12 156 13.00
6. Dan Morgan, Sr. Miami (FL) 11 138 12.55
Keith Adams, Jr. Clemson 11 138 12.55
8. Levar Talley, Sr. Temple 11 135 12.27
9. Mario Haggan, So. Mississippi St. 11 132 12.00
10. Brandon Spoon, Sr. North Carolina 11 131 11.91
Regular Season statistics only
Clemson Career Tackle Leaders
Rk Player, Pos Years No
1. Bubba Brown, LB 1976-79 515
2. Anthony Simmons, LB 1995-97 486
3. Jeff Davis, LB 1978-81 469
4. Ed McDaniel, LB 1988-91 489
5. Randy Scott, LB 1975-78 382
6. Keith Adams, LB 1998-00 379
7. Robert Carswell, FS 1997-00 374
8. Tim Jones, LB 1991-94 338
9. Henry Walls, LB 1983-85 316
10. Jim Stuckey, DT 1976-79 314
11. Doug Brewster, LB 1987-90 312
12. Chad Carson, LB 1998-01 311
Future Non-Conference Games
Aug. 31 at Georgia
Sept. 7 Louisiana Tech
Sept. 14 Ball State
Nov. 23 South Carolina
Aug. 30 Georgia
Sept. 6 Furman
Sept. 13 Middle Tennessee
Nov. 22 at South Carolina
Notes on Future Non-Conference Opponents
Georgia and Clemson first played in 1897 in Athens and last met in
1995 at ClemsonŠ in the 1980s seven of the eight games were decided
by seven points or lessŠ Georgia leads the series 39-17-4, but the
Bulldogs hold just an 8-6-1 advantage since 1977Š three of Clemson's
most thrilling victories in recent memory have taken place against
Georgia in 1981 Clemson defeated a fourth-ranked Georgia team 13-3 in
Death Valley on the way to a National ChampionshipŠ it remains the
highest ranked win in Clemson history in Memorial StadiumŠ the Tigers
won consecutive games in 1986 and 1987 on last second field goals by
David TreadwellŠ Clemson's 2002 game against Louisiana Tech will be
the first meeting between the two teamsŠ Clemson defeated Ball State
at Clemson in the season opener 1992 by a 24-10 scoreŠ Clemson's 2003
game with Middle Tennessee will be the first meeting between the two
schoolsŠ Clemson's 2003 game with Furman will be the first between
the two schools since 1998Š. Clemson, like every other Division I
school in the nation, will play 12 games in 2002 and 2003Š Clemson
will have seven at home and five on the road both seasonsŠ Clemson
also has future non-conference home-and-home series scheduled with
Auburn and Texas A&M.
Clemson Players on Preseason Lists
Five Clemson players are ranked among the best in the nation at their
positions according to various preseason publications and Internet
sites. The list of Tigers in the rankings include quarterback Woodrow
Dantzler, running back Travis Zachery, center Kyle Young, offensive
guard Will Merritt and linebacker Chad Carson.
Dantzler is ranked as the number-one quarterback in the nation by
Lindy's and Football News preseason magazine. The same publications
rank him as a first-team All-American, the number-one candidate for
the Davey O'Brien Award and the number-two candidate for the Heisman
Trophy. The native of Orangeburg, SC is also listed as the number-two
candidate for college football's top award by cbssportsline.com.
Dantzler is also ranked as the number-four quarterback in the nation
by collegefootballnews.com and the number-seven quarterback in the
nation by The Sporting News. The Sporting News also selected Dantzler
as the preseason ACC Player of the Year. He is one of five candidates
at quarterback for the Heisman as listed by ESPN the Magazine, and is
one the official list of candidates for the Davey O'Brien award as
announced by their committee.
Center Kyle Young is a consensus top four center in the nation. He is
ranked as the fourth best center in the land by Lindy's,
collegefootballnews.com and The Sporting News. Athlon Magazine ranks
the native of Clemson as a third-team All-American and thus the third
best center in the country.
Will Merritt, like Young, already a Clemson graduate, is listed as
the seventh best offensive guard in the nation by Lindy's, the 12th
best at his position by The Sporting News. Runningback Travis Zachery
is rated 11th among running backs in the nation by The Sporting News
and 25th best at his position by Lindy's.
Chad Carson is the only Clemson defender with a national position
ranking. He is ranked as the 15th best outside linebacker in the
nation by Lindy's.
From a position standpoint, The Sporting News ranked Clemson's
backfield sixth in the nation, and listed Death Valley as the top
stadium in the ACC. Lindy's ranked Clemson's backfield seventh best
in the country. Collegefootballnews.com ranked Clemson's quarterback
contingent as the third best in the nation.
Clemson's Greg Walker Chosen for Leadership Conference
Clemson offensive lineman Greg Walker was selected as one of 300
student-athletes to participate in the 2001 NCAA Foundation
Leadership Conference. The co-starter at right guard on Clemson's
2001 football team attended the conference at Disney's Wide World of
Sports from May 28 through June 1.
Part of the CHAMPS/Life Skills Program, the NCAA holds the conference
as a means to promote better communication among student-athletes,
coaches, administrators and communities. The chosen athletes for the
2001 conference will represent all 22 NCAA sports and more than 20
countries. Walker was the only Clemson student-athlete who was chosen
A strong overall performance in spring practice earned Walker a
co-starting spot on Clemson's depth chart going into the 2001 season.
Walker appeared in all 12 games last season, primarily on special
teams. The native of Sumter, SC got off to a fine start in 2000,
playing 81 of his 115 snaps over the first three games of the season.
The rising red-shirt sophomore captured everyone's attention against
Duke, where he graded 100 percent for 17 plays - the highest grade
for any Tiger lineman given a minimum of 10 plays in 2000.
Clemson Assistant Coaches Have Bowl Experience
Clemson's nine current assistant coaches and head coach Tommy Bowden
have coached in a combined 82 bowl games entering the 2001 season. Of
the current staff, Rick Stockstill has coached in the most bowl
games, as the Gator Bowl against Virginia Tech was his ninth as a
Clemson assistant. Defensive coordinator Reggie Herring has a lot of
bowl gifts in his closet. He has coached in 15 as an assistant coach
and played in three more at Florida State.
Two Clemson assistants have served as head coaches in bowl games.
Brad Scott led South Carolina to its first bowl win in history when
he defeated West Virginia in the 1994 Carquest Bowl. Mike O'Cain,
hired as Clemson's quarterbacks coach on Dec. 4, 2000, served as N.C.
State's head coach in three bowl games.
Name Position Player CU Bowl Overall
Tommy Bowden Head Coach 1 2 10
Rodney Allison Defensive Ends 3 2 7
Burton Burns Running Backs 3 2 3
Reggie Herring Inside linebackers 3 6 15
Jack Hines Defensive Backs 1 2 7
Mike O'Cain Quarterbacks 0 1 @9
Brad Scott Tight Ends 0 2 *14
Thielen Smith Defensive Line 2 2 4
Rick Stockstill Wide Receivers 3 9 9
Ron West Offensive Line 2 2 4
Totals 18 30 82
*Includes one bowl (win) as head coach of South Carolina
@Includes three games as head coach at N.C. State