Clemson March Madness: Past, current Tiger greats meet in second round
|Saturday, March 28, 2020, 2:00 PM-|
TigerNet’s version of March Madness reaches round two, using the extra time at home now to recognize the best competitors in Clemson athletics history.
This exercise, which is measuring their top accomplishments while a collegiate athlete, is meant to be fun and a celebration of Clemson athletes across the decades.
The second round for the Sikes and Jervey regions feature a trip the furthest back in time for the bracket with Banks McFadden (1936-39) to the present with starting QB Trevor Lawrence.
Part one of the second-round voting didn't feature any major upsets, with 5-seed Sammy Watkins taking three of the four voting platforms over Clemson basketball legend and 4-seed Tree Rollins -- and 5-seed Travis Etienne sweeping the votes over three-time Clemson baseball All-American Seth Beer. Barbara Kennedy-Dixon, C.J. Spiller, Jeff Davis, William Perry, Shawn Crawford and Deshaun Watson also moved through.
Here's the full Clemson March Madness bracket:
Debate for your favorites in the bracket and examine the profiles for your pick of this elite group of Tigers. Without further ado, vote below (Voting deadline at 10 a.m. on 3/29)!
Sikes Hall Region
Tournament road: The multi-sport All-American McFadden advanced past 2016 title-game hero Hunter Renfrow in the first round, while Wilkins won out in a battle of Dabo Swinney era ballers with DeAndre Hopkins.
Case for McFadden
* Two-time All-American in basketball (1938-39) and Clemson’s first AP All-American for football (1939). McFadden helped lead the Tigers to the school’s only conference tournament victory (1939, SoCon) and the program’s first bowl win (Cotton Bowl, 1940).
* AP athlete of the year for 1939 and earned three letters out of basketball, football and track from 1936-39. College Football Hall of Fame member.
* No. 4 overall pick from the NFL’s Brooklyn Dodgers, which ties Clelin Ferrell, Gaines Adams and Sammy Watkins for the highest-drafted Clemson football players. Still holds the Clemson season record in punts of 50-plus yards (22) and the longest rush in school history (90 yards; tied by Travis Etienne in 2019).
Case for Wilkins
* Wilkins became Clemson’s second three-time, first-team All-American, following in Sammy Watkins’ footsteps (2011-13). Wilkins earned unanimous All-American status as a senior for only the fifth time in school history. He won the Willis Award as a junior, given to the nation’s top defensive lineman.
* Wilkins logged 2,441 snaps, including action at defensive end and tackle and also was a constant on special teams units and the Tigers’ ‘Fridge package’ -- where he caught a touchdown pass and rushed for two scores.
* A first-round pick for the NFL’s Miami Dolphins (No. 13 overall), Wilkins also won the ‘Academic Heisman’ Campbell Trophy as a senior.
TigerNet staff vote: 100% McFadden
Tournament road: Perry topped 1981 All-ACC and All-ACC Tourney forward Larry Nance in the first round. Elden Campbell moved through to the second round against 2006 ACC defensive player of the year and first-team All-American Gaines Adams.
Case for Perry
* Earned first-team All-American honors and captured ACC Player of the Year in 1987 after totaling 24 tackles for loss and 10 sacks as a defensive tackle, in addition to 74 total stops and three pass breakups.
* Left Clemson as the ACC’s career leader in sacks (28) and tackles for loss (61) and still holds the TFL mark in school history.
* Finalist for the Outland Trophy in 1987 (nation’s best interior lineman) and a first-team All-ACC member in both 1986 and 1987.
Case for Campbell
* Honorable-mention All-America and first-team All-ACC in Clemson’s regular-season title run in 1990.
* Campbell ranked third in the ACC in scoring as a sophomore (18.8) and led in field goal percentage (62.9) and blocked shots per game (3.1). Also led the ACC in blocked shots a game in 1989 (3) and 1990 (2.8).
*Top-10 in the ACC career-wise in blocked shots (334/8th) and blocked shots per game (2.7/10th). Clemson’s all-time leader in double-figure scoring games (97), field goals (754) and dunks (160).
TigerNet staff vote: 80% Campbell
Tournament road: Greene advanced over two-time, first-team golf All-American Lucas Glover, while Murray moved past two-time NCAA champion and 16-time All-American swimmer Mitzi Kremer.
Case for Greene
* Earned multiple national player of the year and All-American honors for a monster 2002 season, where his marks in doubles (33; NCAA-leading that season), home runs (27), RBIs (91), slugging percentage (.877), hits (134; NCAA-leading that season) and total bases (250; NCAA-leading that season) still lead the Clemson record books.
* He holds the Clemson career marks in hits (403), doubles (95), extra-base hits (154), RBIs (276) and total bases (668).
* Tied for being the fourth highest-drafted Tiger with a 13th overall selection to the San Diego Padres.
Case for Murray
* Named the nation’s top men’s soccer player in 1987 (Hermann Trophy) and a two-time All-American.
* A National Soccer Hall of Famer, Murray scored the winning goal in three NCAA Tournament games for the Tigers on the way to a 1987 national championship. Murray was also a key contributor in the Tigers’ 1984 national title.
* Accounted for a goal or an assist in 56 of his 84 games at Clemson to be the first Tiger to join the 40-40 club (48 goals; 46 assists).
TigerNet staff vote: 100% Greene
Tournament road: Krebs advanced to the second round after matchup with two-time All-ACC forward and top-10 NBA draft pick Sharone Wright. Adkins moved past two-time, first-team All-ACC running back Terry Allen.
Case for Adkins
* First three-time All-American in Clemson baseball history, in the 1965-67 seasons.
* Holds the ACC’s longest hitting streak of 41 games, between the 1965-66 seasons, which was an NCAA record at the time (tied for seventh-longest now). He hit .444 without a single strikeout in 126 at-bats over the 1965 season (fourth-best average all-time). Had a .379 career average with a wooden bat.
* One of two baseball reps in the Clemson Ring of Honor with former coach Bill Wilhelm.
Case for Krebs
* Three-time NCAA champion with the indoor 1,000-yard run (1983) and 1,500-meter indoor run (1983 and 1985). Four-time ACC Champion in the 800m.
* Earned six All-American honors (three indoor and three outdoor). Also placed fifth at the NCAA Cross Country Championships in 1984 and seventh in 1983.
* First Clemson track athlete inducted into the Clemson Ring of Honor. Held the Clemson indoor record in the mile for 21 years (4:38.30) before Grace Barnett bested it in 2017 (4:33.86) and the Clemson mark in the 800m outdoor run for 22 years (2:02.07) before Natoya Goule topped it in 2015 (1:59.63). Also won the Frank Howard award in 1986 for the best athlete in bringing honor to Clemson University.
TigerNet staff vote: 100% Adkins
Tournament road: Lawrence toppled 1-seed Brianna Rollins in round one, a three-time NCAA champion and winner of the Bowerman Award for the nation’s top track athlete. Cunningham won three of the four voting platforms as well to beat out Clemson’s lone individual NCAA golf champion, Charles Warren.
Case for Cunningham
* Two-time first-team All-American, including earning consensus status in 1974.
* Two-time first-team All-ACC honoree who held the Clemson TE single-season scoring record until 2011 with seven TDs in 1974.
* A first-round NFL draft pick by the Pittsburgh Steelers (28th overall), Cunningham was the first African-American in school history to both make an All-American list and win the Frank Howard Award (the athlete who was best that year in “bringing honor to Clemson”).
Case for Lawrence
* Led Clemson to the first 15-0 season in modern college football history and to 25 consecutive wins as a starter overall, which is the sixth-longest streak in CFB history for a starting QB.
* A two-time Manning Award finalist (nation's top QB), Lawrence, a consensus freshman All-American, was the first true freshman to lead a team to a national title since 1985.
* Ended the 2019 season on a streak of 239-straight games without an interception, a school record, and added a running threat with 698 yards gained and the second-most rushing TDs on the team (9).
TigerNet staff vote: 80% Lawrence
Tournament road: Davis eased past two-time baseball All-American Matthew LeCroy in the first round. Benson was one of four Clemson baseball athletes to make it through to round two, over two-time All-ACC and four-time Clemson-leader in scoring, Greg Buckner.
Case for Benson
* 1996 national player of the year, All-American and ACC athlete and player of the year.
* His 7.56 strikeout to walk ratio in 1996 still ranks best in Clemson history. He won 15 consecutive starts over the 1995-96 seasons. His four shutouts in the 1996 season is still a conference record.
* No. 1 overall pick in the 1996 MLB Draft (Pittsburgh Pirates). 204 strikeouts in the 1996 season, which is second in Clemson history.
Case for Davis
* Honorable mention All-America and three-time All-ACC pick, earning first-team honors in the Tigers’ 1990 ACC regular-season title run.
* Davis, a 1990 first-round NBA draft pick (Indiana), averaged a double-double over his upperclassmen seasons with 16.5 points and 11.7 rebounds per game.
* His 1,216 rebounds ranks ninth in ACC history and his field goal percentage (.588) in the top-20 (17th).
TigerNet staff vote: 100% Benson
Tournament road: Simmons pulled the upset versus two-time, first-team All-American Jeff Baker in the first round. Grant advanced over 1987 first-team baseball All-American Bill Spiers.
Case for Grant
* Consensus All-American and ACC player of the year in 1987 after averaging 21 points and 9.6 rebounds.
* Led the ACC in rebounds per game in both 1986 (10.5) and 1987 (9.6). Also led the conference in field goal percentage (65.6) in 1987.
* ACC 50th-year anniversary team member with Tree Rollins as Clemson’s reps. No. 10 pick in the 1987 NBA Draft (Chicago). Clemson’s all-time leader in field goals made (256).
Case for Simmons
* 2019 Butkus Award winner (nation's top LB; Clemson's first) and just the sixth unanimous football All-American in school history.
* Posted team-leading tackle totals in both 2019 (107) and 2018 (97), in addition to team-best 2019 bests in tackles for loss (16), QB pressures (15), pass breakups (10) and sacks (8) while playing a number of defensive positions.
* A letterwinner for the 2017 track and field team in the long jump with a 13th-best finish at the ACC indoor championships.
TigerNet staff vote: 60% Grant
Tournament road: Boyd was a fan favorite in the first round in advancing past Trevor Booker, a two-time All-ACC forward and first-team 2008 All-ACC Tourney. Kinard moved to the second round over former first-team All-American outfielder Tyler Colvin.
Case for Kinard
Terry Kinard - Football
* First Clemson player to earn first-team AP All-American honors in consecutive seasons (1981-82).
* Named national defensive player of the year by CBS Sports and earned unanimous All-American honors in 1982, a Clemson first.
* A College Football Hall of Famer and All-Century team member, Kinard was picked with the 10th selection in the 1983 draft by the New York Giants.
Case for Boyd
* First-team All-America and ACC Player of the Year in 2012 and first-team All-ACC as a sophomore and second-team All-ACC as a senior.
* ACC-record holder with 13,069 total yards, 133 total and 107 passing touchdowns.
* First in school history in passing yards (11,904) and completions (901). Has three of the top-5 single-game passing performances in Clemson history and the best single-season completion percentage (68.5).
TigerNet staff vote: 100% Kinard