Three Tigers on National Award Lists
Three Clemson players are on preseason lists for top awards at
their respective positions. Keith Adams is on the Butkus Award Watch List,
the top candidates for the award given to the nation's top linebacker. He
will also be a prime candidate for the Bronko Nagurski Award, which is
presented to the top defensive player in the nation.
Senior Robert Carswell is on the preseason list of candidates for
the Jim Thorpe Award, which is presented to the top defensive back in the
nation. He will also receive prime consideration for the Nagurski Award.
Senior receiver Rod Gardner is one of the preseason candidates for the
Biletnikoff Award, the honor given to the top receiver in the nation.
Clemson is one of just 12 schools nationally to have at least one
candidate for all three awards. The other schools with this preseason
award trifecta are Brigham Young, Florida State, Florida, Kansas State,
Marshall, Miami (FL), Nebraska, Pittsburgh, Southern Cal, Tennessee, and
It is easy to see why the aforementioned Clemson players are on
these respective lists. Adams led the nation in tackles (186) and tackles
for loss (35) and was second in sacks (16) for the 1999 season, quite an
accomplishment for a sophomore.
Adams performance last year shows you that someone can be absent
from the preseason lists, then make All-American at season's end. Adams
had played just 176 snaps in 1998 and was not close to being a preseason
All-ACC candidate. By the end of the year he was a first-team All-American
and the ACC Defensive Player of the Year.
Carswell is in his fourth year as a starter for the Tigers and is
coming off a season in which he broke a school record for tackles by a
defensive back. He was also 10th in the nation in interceptions. He is a
first-team preseason All-American. Gardner set Clemson records for
receptions and reception yards last year, becoming the first 1000-yard
receiver in Clemson history.
No Clemson player has ever won a national position award. Terry
Kinard was named National Defensive Player of the Year by CBS Sports in
1982. The Thorpe Award did not exist in those days. That is the highest
single postseason national honor received by a Clemson football player.
It is interesting to note that Adams, Carswell and Gardner are
roommates. They may need to clear out a storage area in that apartment to
store all the trophies and certificates they will accumulate this year.
Clemson in the Preseason Polls
Clemson is ranked in the top 25 of just about every preseason Top
25 poll. The highest ranking Clemson has received gained the most
publicity. The Tigers are ranked eighth by Sports Illustrated. Associated
Press, the oldest and one of the two major weekly polls, has Clemson 17th.
The USA Today Coaches poll has Clemson 19th in its preseason rankings.
Here is a list of Clemson's preseason ranking by major ranking
12th--Fansonly Network; Football News
13th--Athlon; College Football News; Game Plan
14th--College Football Digest; Preview Sports
17th--Associated Press; ESPN The Magazine
18th--Street & Smith
19th--USA Today/ESPN Coach's Poll
23rd--The Sporting News
Clemson's Preseason AP Poll History
Clemson is ranked 17th in the preseason Associated Press poll.
This is the 17th time since 1936 that Clemson has been ranked in the
preseason top 25 of that poll. Clemson's number-17 ranking is its highest
preseason ranking since the 1992 preseason. It is the first time Clemson
has been ranked in any Associated Press poll since September 22, 1997 when
Clemson was also 17th.
A victory or two would move Clemson into the top 15 in the
rankings. Clemson has not been ranked in the top 15 in the nation since
September 9, 1992 when the Tigers were 15th. Clemson has not been in the
top 10 of the AP poll since October 6, 1991 when Clemson was sixth after a
3-0 start. That is the last time Clemson started the season 3-0.
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. Each of the last three times Clemson has been
ranked in the preseason top 25, Clemson has failed to finish the season in
the the poll. Clemson has not finished in the final top 25 since 1993 when
Ken Hatfield's final team was 23rd in the final poll. That is also the
last time Clemson was ranked in the top 25 of the preseason and postseason
Ten times Clemson has been 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 16 times that Clemson has been ranked in the preseason poll
prior to this year, Clemson has finished higher than the preseason ranking
just four times (1958, 1978, 1982 and 1990). In one season, 1989, Clemson
had the same preseason and final ranking.
Clemson in the Associated Press Preseason Poll
Year Pre Rank Final Rec Finak RK
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
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 ? ?
Clemson in Openers
Clemson has won 13 of its last 16 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 last year 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. Of course, last year's 13-10 loss to
Marshall was also a battle of bowl teams.
Even though this is the 105th season of Clemson football,
Clemson has had just 99 home openers in its history because five seasons
Clemson did not play a game at home. In the 99 home openers Clemson has a
75-16-8 record against 27 different opponents. Clemson has nearly an
identical record in terms of the first game of the season. The Tigers are
77-19-8, regardless of site, in their first game of the season.
Opening Day Records
Clemson had three opening game records set last year against
Marshall. That includes current senior Rod Gardner who had 11 catches
against the Thundering Herd. That total also tied Clemson's overall record
for catches in a game.
Here is a list of top performances by Clemson players in the
opening games of the season:
Total Offense: 297 by Billy Hair vs. 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
Passing Efficiency: 235 by Patrick Sapp vs. UNLV, 1993
Receptions: 11 by Rod Gardner vs. Marshall, 1999
Rec Yards: 145 by Perry Tuttle vs. Furman, 1979
All-Purpose Yards: 246 by Buck George vs. Presbyterian, 1952
Tackles: 18 by Jeff Davis vs. Rice, 1980
Clemson vs. The Southern Conference
Clemson has won 34 straight games against Southern Conference teams
dating to a 6-0 loss to South Carolina in 1952. Both Clemson and South
Carolina were in the Southern Conference in those days. Both joined the
ACC the following season.
Clemson has won 43 in a row over teams currently in the Southern
Conference. Clemson has not lost to a team currently in the Southern
Conference since October 9, 1943 when the Tigers lost to VMI in Roanoke,
VA, 12-7. Clemson last lost at home to a team currently in the Southern
Conference on November 26, 1936 when Clemson beat the Tigers 12-0, a game
that was played in the snow. That is also the last time Clemson has played
a game in the snow. Clemson has never lost at home to a team currently in
the Southern Conference.
Eleven of the last 13 Southern Conference teams have failed to
score a touchdown against Clemson. This will be Clemson's first game
against a Southern Conference team since 1998 when the Tigers opened the
season with a win over Furman, 33-0.
The closest a Southern Conference team has come to beating the
Tigers since Clemson moved to the ACC in 1953 is two points. In 1973
Clemson beat The Citadel, 14-12 at Death Valley. In 1976, Clemson gained a
10-7 victory over The Citadel. Those are the only two occasions since 1953
that a Southern Conference team has come within a touchdown of the Tigers.
Clemson has won 16 in a row over Southern Conference teams since
1982, the year the NCAA adopted a 1-AA division. Clemson has outscored
the opposition 541-63 or an average of 34-4 in the 16 games against
Southern Conference teams since 1982.
Records Held by Active Tigers
Six current Clemson players collectively hold a total of 23 school
records. This list of record holders is led by Keith Adams with 11, all
marks he set last year as a sophomore. Rod Gardner is second with six
records. Woody Dantzler holds three, while Robert Carswell and Chad Speck,
classmates who play the same position, hold one apiece. John McDermott
said a record for plays in a season player year.
Carswell's total will soon increase by one as he is on the
precipice of breaking all-time great Terry Kinard's record for tackles by a
defensive back. He needs just 13 more tackles to do that. He averaged
over 10 a game last year, so that could go by the boards next week against
Missouri. Speck is in range of breaking the Clemson record for career
special teams tackles. He has 29 and the record is 45 by Ashley Sheppard
Here is a list of records held by current Clemson players:
Keith Adams (11)
*Tackles in a game: 27 vs. South Carolina, 1999
*First hits in a game: 18 vs. South Carolina, 1999
*Sacks in a game: 4 vs. Duke, 1999
*Tackles for loss in a game: 6 vs. Duke, 1999
*First hits in a season: @119 in 1999
*Tackles in a season: 186 in 1999
*Sacks in a season: 16 in 1999
*Tackles for loss in a season: 35 in 1999
*Consecutive games with a sack: @5 in 1999
*Consecutive games with a tackle for loss in season: @12 in 1999
*ACC Player of the Week selections: 5 in 1999
Rod Gardner (6)
*Pass Receptions in a game: 11 vs. Marshall, 1999
*Pass Receptions in Death Valley: 11 vs. Marshall, 1999
*Receptions in season: 80 in 1999
*Reception yards in season: 1084 in 1999
*Receptions/game in season: 6.67 in 1999
*Reception Yards/Game in season: 90.3 in 1999
Woodrow Dantzler (3)
*Yards rushing by a quarterback in a game: 183 vs. Maryland, 1999
*Total offense yards in a game: 435 vs. Maryland, 1999
*Consecutive 200-yard total offense games: @3 in 1999
Robert Carswell (1)
*Tackles in a season by a defensive back: 129 in 1999
John McDermott (1)
*Snaps from scrimmage in a season: 923 in 1999
Chad Speck (1)
*Special teams tackles in a game: 7 vs. Georgia Tech, 1999
@ Denotes tied record
Carswell Chasing Kinard's Record
Senior safety Robert Carswell will soon eclipse a record held by
one of Clemson's all-time greats. Carswell has 282 career tackles
entering The Citadel contest, just 12 behind the career total recorded by
former All-American Terry Kinard. Kinard was a two-time consensus
All-American at Clemson, including a unanimous selection in 1982 when he
was National Defensive Player of the Year. Kinard was named Clemson's
greatest player of the 20th Century by Sports Illustrated earlier this
That said, Carswell certainly should take pride in this record. He
had 129 tackles last year to set the Clemson record for stops by a Tiger
defensive back. But, Carswell can do more than just tackle, he had six
interceptions last year to tie for the ACC statistical championship in that
category. He was named a preseason first-team All-American by Playboy,
Clemson's first Playboy All-American since Anthony Simmons.
Top Career Tackle Totals by Clemson Defensive Backs
Rk Player Years Tot
1. Terry Kinard 1978-82 294
2. Robert Carswell 1997-00 282
3. Robert O'Neal 1989-92 252
4. Brian Dawkins 1992-95 251
5. Gene Beasley 1985-88 241
Gardner Countdown to Clemson Records
While Robert Carswell is on the verge of breaking a Clemson record,
classmate Rod Gardner will be chasing a couple of Clemson records this
season. With his record 80 catches for a record 1084 yards last year,
Gardner has vaulted from virtual obscurity to a record challenger.
Gardner enters his senior season with 108 receptions for 1448
yards. He ranks sixth in career receptions and 10th in reception yardage.
If Gardner has 55 catches for 1233 yards this season, he will break both
records, marks held by former All-ACC receiver Terry Smith. Smith had 162
catches for 2681 yards in his career.
Coming into last year Gardner had just 28 catches for 364 yards.
An 80-catch season will obviously put him over the top, but the yardage
record will be a challenge. Entering this season, the native of
Jacksonville, FL trails only Smith, Perry Tuttle, Jerry Butler, Brian
Wofford and Tony Horne in receptions.
Horne reached the final 10 of the Biletnikoff Award in his senior
year (1997) when he had 70 catches. Gardner broke his record for a season
last year. Horne, now the top kickoff return player in the NFL with the
St. Louis Rams, is the only Clemson receiver in school history to reach
the final 10 of the Biletnikoff Award voting. (The award did not exist
when Butler and Tuttle played).
Clemson career Reception Leaders
Rk Player Years Rec
1. Terry Smith 1990-93 162
2. Perry Tuttle 1978-81 150
3. Jerry Butler 1975-78 139
4. Brian Wofford 1996-99 138
5. Tony Horne 1994-97 120
6. Rod Gardner 1997-00 108
7. Phil Rogers 1965-67 106
8. Mal Lawyer 1996-99 99
9. John McMakin 1969-71 93
10. Terrance Roulhac 1983-86 92
Watts Seeks Fifth Letter
An accomplishment should be realized this year by a Tiger gridder
that has not been achieved since 1919. Clemson wide receiver Justin Watts
should obtain his fifth varsity letter in football this year, something no
Tiger gridder has done since 1915-19. Stumpy Banks is the only other
Clemson football player in history with five varsity letters.
Watts played in 10 games as a reserve in 1996, then played 101 over
the first three games of 1997. He suffered a knee injury in the third game
against Florida State and was lost for the year. He was granted another
year of eligibility because of the injury, but he had played enough snaps
to warrent a letter. He then played 218 plays in 1998 and 634 snaps last
year as a starting wide receiver. He is slated to be a starter again this
We aren't sure how "old Stumpy" got to play five years. In those
days there weren't as many rules. Banks was one of six brothers to
graduate from Clemson and he is in the Clemson Hall of Fame. He once
scored five touchdows in a game, still tied for the school record. A
longtime Clemson fan, he saw all but three Clemson vs. South Carolina games
between 1909 and 1961. He was a member of the sideline chain crew for
Clemson home games for 35 years.
Hunt Could Start Opener
Clemson freshman Aaron Hunt is slated to be Clemson's starting
placekicker heading into this week's game with The Citadel. If he does
start, he would be the first Clemson first-year freshman to start the
opening game of the season since 1995 when Anthony Simmons started the
season opener against Western Carolina.
In the last 10 years, only Simmons and Anthony Downs (TB, 1994)
have been first-team freshmen who have started the first game of the
season. Robert Carswell started six games at safety in 1997 as a
first-year freshman and was considered the starter over the course of that
season, but he did not start the opener. Tony Lazzara, who is competing
for the placekicking chores with Hunt, was the starting kicker last year,
but he was a red-shirt freshman.
Clemson started 19 first-year or red-shirt freshmen over the course
of the season in the decade ofthe 1990s. Ten were first-year freshmen and
nine were red-shirt freshmen. The last first-year freshman to be the
starting kicker was Chris Gardocki, in 1988. Gardocki handled both the
punting and placekicking and is now the highest paid kicker in the NFL with
the Cleveland Browns.
Clemson vs. The Citadel Series
This is the 35th meeting between Clemson and The Citadel dating to
a 17-0 Clemson victory at Charleston in 1909. Clemson won the first five
games of the series, including the first three by shutout. The Citadel's
first victory came in 1916 by a 3-0 score. The only tie in the series was
a 7-7 score in 1921 in a game played in Orangeburg.
Clemson has won the last 13 meeting between the two teams. The
Citadel's last victory took place in 1931, a 6-0 win in Florence, SC.
After that game, Head Coach Jess Neely, who was in his first year, met with
Clemson administrators to see what could be done to improve the Clemson
program. IPTAY, Clemson's athletic scholarship fund-raising organization,
was the product of taht meeting.
The two teams have met just once the last 22 years, a 24-0 Clemson
win at Clemson in 1986. In that game, The Citadel's Kip Allen attempted 57
passes, the most ever attempted by a player against Clemson and the most
pass attempts by any individual in a game in Death Valley. The Tigers had
18 passes broken up that day, an all-time Clemson record for that category.
Clemson had its greatest team passing game in history against The
Citadel in 1978. Steve Fuller and Billy Lott were a combined 15-17 on the
day for 245 yards an a touchdown. That .882 completion percentage is best
in school history. Fuller was 9-9 on the day, the highest single game
perfect passing game by a Tiger in history.
Another Clemson highlight in the series took place in 1954.
Clemson defender Walt Laraway returned an interception 30 yards for a score
and returned a blocked punt 39 yards for a touchdown. It is the only time
in history that a Clemson player has had two returns for touchdown in the
While The Citadel has not beaten Clemson since 1931, they have come
very close on two occasions. In 1973 and 1976, Clemson won consecutive
games by 14-12 and 10-7 scores, respectively. The Citadel was coached in
those games by current Detroit Lions mentor Bobby Ross. Clemson had to
use a Ciro Piccirilli 23-yard field goal with 54 seconds left to beat the
Bulldogs in 1976.
Clemson and The Citadel Common Coaches
A check to the coaching history at The Citadel and Clemson reveals
many common denominators. In fact, no less than nine former Citadel
Coaches were also either former Clemson players or former Clemson coaches.
That list includes four Clemson graduates who were coaches at The
Citadel. The list is led by Mike O'Cain, current offensive coordinator at
North Carolina, who was an assistant at The Citadel from 1978-80. He was
Clemson's team MVP in 1976. The other Clemson grads who were The Citadel
assistants are Rick Gilstrap, Bob Patton and Billy Wingo. Wingo was a
baseball and football standout at Clemson in the mid-seventies.
Current Clemson assistant head coach Brad Scott was an assistant
coach at The Citadel in 1981. Other assistant coaches who are common
denominators in each school's coaching history are Dwight Adams, Ellis
Johnson, Jimmy Laycock and Danny Smith.
The Citadel Scouting Report
Don Powers Citadel Bulldogs return 18 starters from last year's
team, including nine starters on defense. The point prevention unit is
led by defensive tackle Mario Richardson and linebacker Denny Haywood.
Richardson earned second-team all-conference honors in 1999 after
registering 63 tackles, while Haywood enters the season with 247 career
tackles, more than any other player in the Southern Conference.
Tight end Jason Barley is atop the list of returning veterans for
The Citadel's offense, which uses the flexbone offense, an attack that has
not been seen in Death Valley since Ken Hatfield used it to defeat Virginia
near the end of the 1993 season. Barley was an all-conference pick in
1998 and caught 17 passes for 194 yards in 1999.
Sophomore Joe Call figures to get the call at quarterback. He
played in just five games in 1999, but was an efficient 28-48 for 257 yards
and a score. The leading rusher is Maurice Murphy, who gained 547 yards
from the fullback position last year. Kenyon Doyle is a player to watch
at tailback, as he won the 100 and 200-meter track championships in 1998.
Two-year starter Omar Nesbit leads the offensive line.
Head Coach Don Powers is a veteran of 30 years as a coach and
student-athlete in college football. He has been the head coach of the
Bulldogs since 1996 and has been on the school's staff since 1989. He was
the defensive coordinator at The Citadel in 1992, the year the Bulldogs
posted an 11-2 record and led Division I-AA in scoring defense.
He was the defensive coordinator at Western Carolina in 1983 when
the Catamounts posted an 11-3-1 record and advanced to the Division I-AA
National Championship game. One of their three losses was at Clemson that
year, 21-10. Obviously his Catamount defense had a pretty good day against
a Clemson team that finished the season with a 9-1-1 record, ranked 11th in
Clemson Returns Staff in Tact
Clemson's coaching staff returns in tact from last year, a rarity
in this day of coaching. This is the first time since 1991-92 that Clemson
has had the exact same nine full-time assistant coaches and head coach in
consecutive years. Clemson is one of three ACC teams that did not make an
assistant coaching change in the off-season. Duke and Virginia also return
their staffs in tact from last year.
Clemson has one of its most experience staffs in history. In
addition to the experience of Head Coach Tommy Bowden, his assistant
coaching staff includes two coaches who have been head coaches. Rich
Rodriguez was a head coach at Glenville State from 1990-96 and Brad Scott
served as head coach at South Carolina from 1994-98.
Defensive coordinator Reggie Herring actually has coached and
played in the most bowl games out of all of Clemson's coaches. He has been
to 11 as a coach, including five with Clemson, and also participated in
three others when he was a player at Florida State. Brad Scott has been
to 13 bowls, 12 as an assistant coach and one as the head coach at South
Carolina. He is the only Gamecock head coach in history to win a bowl game.
Overall, Clemson's 10 coaches have been involved in 67 bowl games,
22 during their playing days and 45 as coaches.
High School Teammates Reunite at Clemson
One of the secrets to recruiting success at Clemson the last couple
of years has been to go back to fertile areas. There are nine different
high schools represented on the Clemson 2000 roster with at least two
players listed. There are 115 players, including walk-ons on Clemson's
roster and 24 of those come from those nine schools.
Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School in Orangeburg, SC has supplied
Clemson with four players to lead the way. The former Orangeburg-Wilkinson
players on the Clemson team include starting junior quarterback Woodrow
Dantzler, sophomore wide receiver Jackie Robinson, freshman defensive back
Kevin Johnson and freshman defensive back Ryan Hemby.
Four high schools, Stone Mountain (Georgia), Raines (Jacksonville,
FL), Shanks (Quincy, FL) and Summerville (SC) all have three former players
on the current Clemson team. The three players from Raines High School in
Jacksonville, FL include top receiver Rod Gardner and starting cornerback
Darrel Crutchfield. They compete against each other in practice eveyday
and that competition has made Crutchfield a much improved player for 2000.
Raines High also supplied Clemson with current NFL players Patrick Sapp
(Indianpolis Colts) and Brian Dawkins (Philadelphia Eagles).
Active Clemson Players who were High School Teammates
School, (State) Players
Orangeburg-Wilkinson (SC) Woodrow Dantzler, Ryan Hemby,
Stone Mountain (GA) Robert Carswell, Gary Byrd, Matt Bailey
Raines (Jacksonville, FL) Rod Gardner, Darrel Crutchfield,
Shanks (Quincy, FL) Willie Simmons, Ronnie Thomas, Charles Harper
Summerville (SC) Bernard Rambert, Bo Charpia, Marcez Mitchell
Marietta (GA) Terrance Huey, Travis Zachery
Peach County (Fort Valley, GA) Kenzi Ross, Terry Jolly
Dorman (Spartanburg, SC) Jamie Somaini, Russel Stuermann
S. Florence (Florence, SC) Justin Watts, Morgan Woodward
Compiled by Tim Bourret