Clemson making a case for Defensive End University


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Vic Beasley was a first round draft choice in 2015
Vic Beasley was a first round draft choice in 2015

Co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach Jeff Scott has coached some of the best receivers in the nation over the last several seasons, and Scott isn’t shy about taking to social media and proclaiming Clemson as WRU (Wide Receiver University).

His claim is valid – DeAndre Hopkins and Sammy Watkins were first round NFL draft picks, and Jaron Brown, Adam Humphries, Jacoby Ford and Martavis Bryant have all taken NFL snaps in the last few seasons. Charone Peake was selected by the New York Jets last week, and current wide receivers Mike Williams and Artavis Scott might get their shot next season. That’s a lot of talent to head to the NFL at one position.

However, the Tigers might also lay claim to DEU, or defensive end university.

Following the draft, TigerNet photographer David Grooms walked into the press box at Doug Kingsmore Stadium and jumped in the middle of a conversation about Clemson’s wide receivers and defensive backs. He likes to do research, and he told me that he had taken some time to look at Clemson’s history of defensive ends and the NFL.

Shaq Lawson was selected 19th overall in the first round of the recent draft and Kevin Dodd went early in the second round, meaning that three of Clemson’s last four starting defensive ends were drafted in the first 33 picks, with Lawson and Dodd joining first rounder Vic Beasley.

That prompted the following email from Grooms:

Below is a list of all DE's to play at Clemson going back to 2000, I had to cut it off somewhere that are now in the NFL. So essentially every player to start at DE or OLB for Clemson to at least 2000 made at least a game day roster. I'll put Rennie Moore (who was moved to DT) here and not in the list below because he made four pre-season rosters but not regular season roster.

So not including Rennie, that is 20 DE's from Clemson to play in the NFL that came to Clemson in or before 2013. Thus 20 DE's Clemson has produced in 13 years. We have good WR's but we aren't WRU....Clemson is DE-U!!!!!!!!!

Indeed, the Tigers have had 10 defensive ends drafted since Bryant McNeal started the current run in 2003. But I went in and asked Tim Bourret - Clemson’s SID extraordinaire – to fact-check Groom’s email.

Here are the Clemson defensive ends that have taken snaps in an NFL game since 2000 and the years they played in the NFL:

Gaines Adams (2007-2009)
Charles Bennett (2006-2008)
Da’Quan Bowers (2011-2014)
Andre Branch (2012-current)
Lorenzo Bromell (who played in the NFL til 2004)
Kourtnei Brown (2014)
Mallaciah Goodman (2013-current)
Bryant McNeal (2003-2006)
Phillip Merling (2008-2013)
Ricky Sapp (2010-2014)
Khaleed Vaughn (2004, 2005)
Vic Beasley (2015-current)
Tavaris Barnes (2015-current)

That doesn’t include Corey Crawford (Redskins practice squad).

Add in Barnes and Dodd, and that’s a lot of players the Tigers can boast of at one position.

WRU? Yes, they can make the claim, but it looks like DEU is also a claim that can be made.


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