Clemson vs Alabama Game Notes

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Clemson vs. Alabama Series

Clemson and Alabama have two of the top football traditions in the South. Both have won National Championships and both programs have the most league titles in their respective conference histories. Clemson has won 13 ACC titles to lead ACC institutions, and Alabama has 21 to lead SEC institutions.

The two schools have not met on the gridiron since 1975 when Alabama defeated Clemson 56-0 in Tuscaloosa. Alabama has an 11-3 lead in the series that dates to a 35-0 Clemson victory in 1900. College football Hall of Fame Coach John Heisman was Clemson’s coach that day. Clemson won the first three games of the series, as the Tigers followed with shutout wins in 1904 and 1905. Alabama has won the last 11, so Clemson has not beaten Alabama since 1905.

Alabama did not score on Clemson in the first three meetings, then Clemson did not score on Alabama in four consecutive games played between 1934-1966. Alabama won a bat¬tle of strong teams in 1935, as Clemson entered the game with a 5-1 record and the Crimson Tide stood with a 5-1-1 mark. Alabama won the game played at Tuscaloosa, 33-0.

The two schools met four consecutive years from 1966-69. It was a series arranged by good friends Frank Howard of Clemson and Bear Bryant of Alabama. Howard was a 1931 Alabama graduate who went to Clemson the fall after he graduated and never left until his death in 1996. They decided late in Howard’s career to have a four-game home-and-home series. Clemson went to Alabama in 1966 and 1968 and Alabama came to Clemson in 1967 and 1969. The 1969 season was Howard’s final year as head coach.

The 1966 game was a contest between eventual conference champions. Ala¬bama finished that season with an 11-0 record and won the SEC with a 6-0 conference mark. Clemson finished with a 6-4 record, but had a 6-1 record in the ACC. That year Clemson played ninth-ranked Georgia Tech, fourth-ranked Alabama and fifth-ranked Southern California, all on the road, as its non-conference schedule.

Bear Bryant came to Clemson for the first time in 1967 and the two teams did not dis¬appoint the sellout crowd or 49,500 at Clemson Memorial Stadium. The contest ended with a 13-10 Alabama victory. Ken Stabler hit on 9-15 passes for 135 yards, including four connections for 110 yards to All-American Denis Homan. Clemson was led by Buddy Gore, the ACC Player of the Year that season, who had 23-73 rushing. Total offense was as close as the score, 276 for Alabama and 275 for Clemson.

Clemson had the ball in Alabama territory twice in the last eight minutes, but could not get on the scoreboard. “I hate to see a good bunch of boys go out against top competition and lose like that,” said Howard after the game in which Clemson missed two field goals. “We just beat them on defense, but they got what counts….the score. That pass receiver Homan is what really hurt us. We contained him better than I expected, but he made a couple of big plays that hurt us.”

Clemson came close again in 1968, but an Alabama team that finished with an 8-3 record and top 15 national ranking, beat Clem¬son at Tuscaloosa, 21-14. The following year, Clemson ran up and down the field, but lost, 38-13. Clemson had a 200-yard passer (Tommy Kendrick), a 100-yard rusher (Ray Yauger) and a 100-yard receiver (Charlie Waters), yet lost the game by 25 points.

After the game, then Alabama captain and future Clemson head coach Danny Ford presented Coach Bryant with a game ball that included a sticker with the number 100 on it. ( It was the 100th year of college football and teams wore a 100 logo, so all he had to do was take if off of his helmet.” The victory was Bryant’s 100th win at Alabama.

Howard and Bryant both died on Janu¬ary 26, Bryant in 1983 and Howard in 1996.

Alabama Grads Have Coached at Clemson

No less than four Alabama graduates have served as Clemson head coaches over the years. The list includes the two winningest coaches in Clemson history, and a third who led Clemson to its resurgence in 1977. Clemson has had four coaches named ACC Coach of the Year twice apiece and three are Alabama gradu¬ates.

Frank Howard was a member of Alabama’s 1930 undefeated team that downed Washington State in the 1931 Rose Bowl. He then came to Clemson in 1931 when Jess Neely became Clemson head coach. Neely came to Clemson after having served on Wallace Wade’s staff at Alabama.

Howard served as the line coach under Neely at Clemson between the 1931-39 seasons, then became the Clemson head coach in 1940 when Neely left for Rice. Howard was Clemson head coach from 1940-69 and won eight conference championships, two Southern Conference and six ACC. He had a record of 165-118-12, and is still number-one in Clemson history in total victories.
In December of 1969 after Howard retired, Clemson administrators hired another Alabama graduate, Hootie Ingram. Ingram is a 1955 Alabama graduate and he served as Clem¬son head coach from 1970-72. He posted a 12-21 record. He later served as Athletic Director at Florida State and Alabama.

Charley Pell, a 1961 Alabama gradu¬ate, served as Clemson head coach from 1977 through the regular season of 1978. He took the Tigers to the Gator Bowl in 1977, ending an 18-year run without a bowl appearance for the Clemson program. Pell then coached the Tigers to a 10-1 regular season in 1978. He took the head coaching position at Florida in December. He was the ACC Coach of the Year in both 1977 and 1978 and finished with an 18-4-1 record for his two years.

Pell was succeeded by his offensive line coach, Danny Ford, another Alabama gradu¬ate. Ford played for Bear Bryant from 1967-69 and graduated from Alabama in 1970. He had a 96-29-4 record at Clemson and the 96 wins rank second to Howard in Clemson history. Clemson was the fifth winningest team in college football in the 1980s and Ford coached every game in that decade.
He coached Clemson to the National Championship in 1981, the only national title in school history. He owns the school record for coaching wins over top 20 teams with 20 and also coached Clemson to a 6-2 record in bowl games. He won five conference titles, all ACC titles in the 1980s. He led Clemson to a 30-2-2 record between 1981-83.

Bowden and Saban Have Always Been Bowl Eligible

Two of the most consistent coaches in college football will be on the sidelines when Clemson faces Alabama in the season opener
at The Georgia Dome. There are two active Division I coaches in college football who have coached at least 10 years and never had a losing year, Clemson’s Tommy Bowden and Alabama’s Nick Saban.

Bowden is in his 12th season as a head coach, two at Tulane and his 10th year at Clemson. He had records of 7-4 and 11-0 in his two years at Tulane for an 18-4 overall mark. At Clemson he has a 69-42 record. He has had a break even record just once, a 6-6 ledger in his first year at Clemson, 1999. Every other year has ended with more wins than losses.

Saban is in his 13th year as a Division I head coach and has a 98-48-1 record for a .670 winning percentage. He had a 9-2 record in one year at Toledo in 1990. He then coached five years at Michigan State, five years at LSU and has completed one year at Alabama. He had a pair of 6-6 records at Michigan State (1996 and 1998) and that is the closest he has come to a losing season in terms of final record. He was 7-6 in his first year at Alabama with a victory in a bowl game against Colorado.

Saban coached two years with the Miami Dolphins, 2005 and 2006. Both Bowden and Saban have also gone their entire careers without a losing season in conference play.

Clemson Ninth in AP Preseson Poll

Clemson is ranked ninth in the pre¬season Associated Press and US Today college football polls released on August 16. It is the highest preseason ranking for the Tigers pro¬gram since 1991 when Clemson was also ninth.

“I hope our team takes this ranking as a motivating factor, as something to uphold, then it is a positive,” said Bowden. “If they think we have arrived, believe we have accomplished something and become complacent, then it is a negative. We won’t shy away from it, but it will put a target on us. I am sure it will motivate Alabama.”

The Crimson Tide also made the As¬sociated Press preseason poll with a number-24 ranking. This means Clemson will face a ranked team as a ranked team in the season opener for just the third time in school history. Clemson defeated a 12th ranked North Caro¬lina team as an 18th ranked AP team to open 1959, and came away with a 20-18 victory. The only other battle of top 25 teams to play in the opening game of a Clemson season came in 1982 when 11th ranked Clemson lost to seventh-ranked Georgia in Athens, 13-7.

This will be just the 10th time in Clemson history that the Tigers have opened a season against a top 25 team, but the fifth time a Tommy Bowden coached Clemson team has done it. Clemson has won each of its last two openers against a top 25 team, a 25-24 win over 17th ranked Texas A&M in 2005, and a 24-18 win over 19th ranked Florida State last year.

This is the 20th season Clemson has been ranked in the preseason top 25 by The Associated Press. The first occurrence took place 50 years ago when Clemson was ranked number-18 top open the 1958 season according to AP. Clemson finished 8-3 that season and won the Atlantic Coast Conference title. The Tigers finished 12th in the AP poll that year, 13th by the UPI Coaches poll.

This is the seventh time Clemson has been ranked in the top 10 of the preseason AP poll, the first since 1991. Clemson’s highest preseason ranking in any poll was a number-four rating in 1984 and 1988. Clemson finished 7-4 in 1984 and 10-2 in 1988. Clemson was ninth in the final AP poll in 1988.

The preseason poll has not been much of an indicator for Clemson in the last few years. Each of the last three years Clemson has not been ranked in the preseason poll (2003, 2005, 2007), Clemson has finished in the top 25 of both polls. Each of the last two years Clem¬son was ranked in the preseason top 25 (2001 and 2006), the Tigers have not finished in the top 25.

Seven times Clemson has been ranked in the preseason top 25 and gone on to win the Atlantic Coast Conference title. The last time that happened was 1991. That was also the last time Clemson was ranked in the top 10 in the preseason poll.

Clemson’s highest final ranking in a season it was not in the preseason poll came in 1981 when the Tigers won the national cham¬pionship. The 1989 season is the only year Clemson’s preseason poll matched its final poll. Clemson was 12th in the preseason and 12th in the postseason polls that year. Clemson’s highest finish in a year it has been ranked in the preseason top 25 came in 1978 when Clemson was 18th in the preseason and finished sixth.

Clemson’s Preseason Poll History

     Preseason           Final
Year AP-Coach Final Rec. AP-Coach
1958 18-NP 	*8-3   	12-13
1958 18-NP 	*9-2   	11-11
1960 9-NP  	6-4    	NR-NR
1978 18-NP 	*11-1  	6-6
1982 11-9  	*9-1-1 	8-NR
1984 4-8   	7-4    	NR-NR
1987 9-NP  	*10-2  	12-10
1988 4-4   	*10-2  	9-8
1989 12-NP 	10-2   	12-11
1990 10-NP 	10-2   	12-11
1991 9-NP  	*9-2-1 	18-17
1992 13-NP 	5-6    	NR-NR
1993 23-NP 	9-3    	23-22
1994 25-21 	5-6    	NR-NR
1996 25-23 	7-5    	NR-NR
1997 20-21 	7-5    	NR-NR
2000 17-19 	9-3    	16-14
2001 19-18 	7-5    	NR-NR
2006 18-18 	8-5    	NR-NR
2008 9-9   	??     	??

NP denotes no poll taken

*Denotes won ACC Championships

Clemson and Alabama in AP top 25

The season opener with Alabama will be a battle of top 25 teams. Clemson is ranked ninth by both Associated Press and USA Today, while Alabama is ranked 24th by Associated Press. Clemson had a 9-4 record last year, while Alabama was 7-6, but all six of Alabama’s losses were by seven points or less.

This is the 10th time Clemson has opened the season against a ranked opponent, but it is the fifth time since 2002. Each of the last two times Clemson has faced a ranked team in the opener the Tigers have won. In 2005, Clemson opened at home against a 17th ranked Texas A&M team at Clemson and came away with a 25-24 victory. Last year Clemson opened the season at home with a 24-18 win over a 19h-ranked Florida State team.

As said, both of those games were at Clemson. Clemson has defeated a top 25 team away from home in the season opener just once, the 20-18 win over 12th ranked North Carolina in 1959.

This will be Alabama’s eighth game as a ranked team against a ranked team to open the season. Alabama has a 4-3 record in the previous seven. Overall, Alabama is 5-5 against ranked teams in the season opener.

This is just the second time since 1987 that Alabama has opened the season against a top 25 team. In 2001 a 25th ranked Alabama lost to a 17th ranked UCLA team 20-17 at Tuscaloosa. Alabama’s last win over a top 25 team to open the season took place in 1986 when fifth-ranked Alabama defeated ninth-ranked Ohio State in The Meadowlands in Giants Stadium by a 16-10 score.

Alabama vs. Ranked Opponents to Open Season (5-5)

Year Opponent Al-Opp W-L Al-Opp Site 
1955 Rice NR-13 L 0-20 Away 
1958 LSU NR-15 L 3-13 Mobile 
1960 Georgia NR-13 W 21-6 Birmingham 
1970 Southern Cal 16-3 L 21-42 Birmingham 
1971 Southern Cal 16-5 W 17-10 Away 
1974 Maryland 3-14 W 21-16 Away 
1978 Nebraska 1-10 W 20-3 Birmingham 
1984 Boston College 9-18 L 31-38 Birmingham 
1986 Ohio State 5-9 W 16-10 Meadowlands 
2001 UCLA 25-17 L 17-20 Home 

Clemson vs. Ranked Opponents to Open Season (3-6) 
Year Opponent CU-Opp W-L Al-Opp Site 
1959 North Carolina 18-12 W 20-18 Away 
1963 Oklahoma NR-4 L 14-31 Away 
1974 Texas A&M NR-20 L 0-24 Away 
1977 Maryland NR-10 L 14-21 Home 
1982 Georgia 11-7 L 7-13 Away 
2002 Georgia NR-8 L 28-31 Away 
2003 Georgia NR-11 L 0-30 Home 
2005 Texas A&M NR-17 W 25-24 Home 
2007 Florida State NR-19 W 24-18 Home

Opposing Assistant Coaches Have Had Impact on Both Programs

Two assistant coaches in Saturday’s game have a deep knowledge of both programs. Clemson Assistant Head Coach and Wide Receivers coach Dabo Swinney served as an assistant coach and player at Alabama over a 13-year period (1988-00). Alabama Associate Head Coach and Running Backs coach Burton Burns served as an assistant coach at Clemson from 1999-2006.

Swinney has been at Clemson since 2003, so none of the current Alabama players played for him. In fact, he has not coached at Alabama since the 2000 season. He was a graduate assistant coach at Alabama from 1993-95 and a full-time assistant coach from 1996-00. Swinney also played at Alabama from 1989-92. In 1992 he was a player on Alabama’s National Championship team.

Burns is in his second year as an assistant coach at Alabama. He was an assistant coach at Tulane under Tommy Bowden in 1997 and 1998, then moved with Bowden to Clemson in 1999. He remained an as¬sistant coach at Clemson through the 2006 season.
Burns coached some of Clemson’s greatest running backs in history, including current Tigers James Davis and C.J. Spiller. Davis and Spiller combined for 2,125 yards rushing in 2006, a school record for two backs combined in the same season. Davis now needs just 837 yards to become Clemson’s career rushing leader. Burns also coached Clemson’s career touchdown leader, Travis Zachery, who scored 50 touchdowns over his career (1998-01).

Tigers from Alabama

Clemson has seven players who list Alabama as their home state so the season opener will be a special game for those young men. This is the most players from the state of Alabama on the Clemson team in history. Current Clemson assistant coach Dabo Swinney has had a lot to do with Clemson’s success in the state. He has signed 12 student-athletes from the state of Alabama since he came to Clemson in 2003, including all seven on the team this year.

Two of the young men from Alabama could start for Clemson in Saturday night’s game. Tyler Grisham will start for sure at wide receiver. The three-year starter from Birmingham and Spain Park High School has 95 career receptions and obviously would love to reach the 100 mark against the school from his home state. Brandon Maye is a strong candi¬date to start at middle linebacker. He red-shirted last year, so this will be his first career appearance, certainly a memorable night for the native of Mobile, AL and Davidson High School.

Clemson Players from Alabama

No Name Pos. Cl. Hometown High 
85 Brandon Clear WR Fr. Hoover Hoover 
42 Byron Clear DE Fr. Hoover Hoover 
13 Tyler Grisham WR Sr. Birmingham Spain Park 
20 Brandon Maye LB Fr. Mobile Davidson 
74 Antoine McClain OT Fr. Anniston Anniston 
50 Jock McKissic DT Sr. Opelika Opelika 
95 Drew Traylor DE Fr. Birmingham Mountain Br. 

Bowden Coached at Alabama

Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden served as an assistant coach at Alabama from 1987-89 under Bill Curry. Bowden was the receiv¬ers coach during that time. Alabama had a 26-10 record for the three years, including a 10-2 record in 1989. One of the players he coached was Clemson wide receivers coach Dabo Swinney, who was a walk-on receiver at Alabama in 1989.
One other tie between Bowden and Alabama concerns Alabama assistant coach Curt Cignetti. Tommy Bowden played his senior year at West Virginia (1976) under Frank Cignetti, Curt’s father.

Clemson and Alabama Have Strong Freshman Class

Clemson and Alabama are both ranked in the top 25 of the Associ¬ated Press poll entering this game, but it is apparent the future is bright for both programs. Clemson’s 2008 recruiting class was ranked second in the nation by and Alabama’s class was ranked third. Clemson signed 10 top 150 players according to the website and Alabama signed seven. That means 17 of the top 150 players from last year’s class are on the two teams rosters for Saturday night’s game.

Top Signee Classes for 2008 by

Rk Schools Top 150 
1. Miami (FL) 12 
2. Clemson 10 
3. Alabama 7 
4. Florida 11 
5. Georgia 7 
6. Ohio State 8 
7. Southern California 8 
8. Oklahoma 8 
9. Notre Dame 10 
10. Texas 9

Clemson Top 150 Signees according to

Rk Player Pos 
1. DaQuan Bowers DE 
12. Jamie Harper RB 
34. Kyle Parker QB 
39. Brandon Thompson DT 
40. Spencer Adams FS 
44. Andre Ellington RB 
65. Xavier Brewer CB 
78. Antoine McCain OT 
83. Dwayne Allen TE 
149. Tarik Rollins LB

Tigers from Atlanta

By the end of the 2008 season, Clemson’s career leader in passing yardage, rushing yardage, receiving yardage, touchdowns and punting should all be natives of the greater Atlanta, GA area. It is no surprise to longtime Tiger fans who have watched some of Clemson’s greatest players matriculate north from the “Peach State.”

Clemson’s involvement with Atlanta got off to a rough start in 1903 when Hall of Fame Head Coach John Heisman left Clemson with a 19-3-2 record, and drove two hours South to become head coach at Geor¬gia Tech. He had beaten the Yellow Jackets for Clemson by a 73-0 score in 1903, and it so impressed the Tech administration that they decided they had to have him as head coach. They gave him an offer he could not refuse, a higher salary and 30 percent of the net gate receipts. Think what 30 percent of the net receipts would be worth today!

Heisman headed to Atlanta and the very next year the two teams tied 11-11. In 1905 Heisman’s Tech team defeated Clemson 17-10, thus enhancing the importance of coaching for the entire profession. That is an 80-point turnaround in two years.
Clemson has had some fine players over the years from Georgia, including Bill Mathis, a star on Tiger teams of the 1950s and the first former Tiger to win a Super Bowl Championship Ring. The native of Manchester, GA played for Joe Namath’s New York Jets in 1968.

Clemson’s 1981 National Championship team had 21 players from the state of Georgia, including Atlanta native and All-American defen¬sive tackle Jeff Bryant, the number-six selection of the 1982 NFL draft. He played 13 years for the Seattle Seahawks.

Chris Gardocki is another Clemson Hall of Fame football player from the Atlanta area. The resident of Stone Mountain, GA was without a doubt the greatest kicker in Clemson history. He is the only player in NCAA history to finish in the top 10 in the nation in punting and placekick¬ing in the same season, twice. He is still Clemson’s career leader in punt¬ing and played on the Pittsburgh Steelers Super Bowl team of 2005.

Travis Zachery is the only player in Clemson history with 50 touchdowns and the only player with at least 2,000 yards rushing and 1,000 yards receiving. The native of Marietta, GA was a key reason Tommy Bowden got off to a great start at Clemson as he was a key to the offense from 1999-01.

One of Zachery’s teammates between 1998-00 was Keith Adams, a native of College Park, which is the city that contains the Atlanta Airport. Adams had 35 tackles for loss and 16 sacks in 1999, still the Clemson single season records in both categories.
This year’s Clemson team might be the greatest in school history when it comes to star players from the Atlanta area. No less than five cur¬rent starters are from Greater Atlanta, including starting quarterback Cullen Harper, starting running back James Davis and starting wide receiver Aaron Kelly. Throw in leading scorer and top placekicker Mark Buchholz and tight end Michael Palmer and it is apparent the Clemson coaching staff is spending a lot of time in Atlanta area high schools during the recruiting season.

Entering the game with Alabama, Davis has 3,130 career rush¬ing yards and needs 837 to break Raymond Priester’s career record of 3966. With 38 touchdowns already in the bank, he also has a chance to reach Zachery’s career touchdown record of 50. He needs just six to break Zachery’s record for rushing touchdowns. Davis attended Douglass High School and lived so close to the Georgia Tech campus he could hear the fans cheer at Bobby Dodd Stadium when he was outside his family home on a Saturday afternoon.

Cullen Harper is a native of Alpharetta, GA who did not get into the lineup on a regular basis until last season because he was on the bench behind Alpharetta, GA native Charlie Whitehurst in 2004 and 2005. He threw for 2991 yards and 27 touchdowns last year and enters his final year with 3161 yards passing and 29 touchdowns for his career.

The former Sequoyah High School player is over 6,000 yards from Whitehurst’s passing yardage record, so he won’t get Whitehurst’s mark. But he is just 20 touchdown passes short of Whitehurst’s record for scoring aerials.
Kelly is the current Tiger from Atlanta who could set the most remarkable records this year. The former Walton High star has 165 career receptions entering this game, third in Clemson history, but just two short of the existing Clemson record of 167 by Derrick Hamilton (2001-03).

Last year Kelly had 88 receptions for 1081 yards and 11 touch¬downs. He now has 2,011 career receiving yards, and needs 671 to break Terry Smith’s career record of 2,681. The most remarkable record on Kelly’s radar is the mark for career touchdown receptions. Kelly has 16 and the record is 18 set by Glenn Smith. Smith played from 1949-51, so it is a 57-year old mark, the oldest on the Clemson books among the major marks.

Mark Buchholz is a native of Alpharetta, GA who is Clemson’s top kicker and top scorer from last year. He played at Chattahoochee High School, the same high school that sent Whitehurst and current Clemson senior receiver Nelson Faerber to Clemson.

Last season Buchholz played soccer and football at the same time, a sports double that had not been accomplished by a Clemson ath¬lete since 1982. He was successful in the classroom as well as he made the academic All-ACC team for both sports last fall. He set a Clemson record for kick- scoring in one season with 114. The record he broke was held by Gardocki, who had 107 points in 1989.

It has been a long time since a Hall of Fame coach left Clemson for Atlanta. Clemson is now getting Hall of Fame caliber players in return.

2008 Clemson Players From Atlanta

No Name Pos Yr Hometown High School 
14 Mark Buchholz PK Gr Alpharetta Chattahoochee 
1 James Davis RB Sr. Atlanta Douglass 
16 Kyle Davisson WR Sr. Alpharetta Milton 
83 Nelson Faerber WR Sr. Duluth Chattahoochee 
10 Cullen Harper QB Gr. Alpharetta Sequoyah 
80 Aaron Kelly WR Sr. Marietta Walton 
86 Michael Palmer TE Jr. Stone Mountain Parkview

Prominent Clemson Career Records Held by Atlanta Natives
•Career Passing Yards: 9,665 by Charlie Whitehurst, 2002-05
•Career Completion Percentage: .653 by Cullen Harper, 2004-Present
•Career Touchdowns: 50 by Travis Zachery, 1998-01
•Career Punting Average: 43.48 by Chris Gardocki, 1988-90
•Career Total Offense: 9,763 by Charlie Whitehurst, 2002-05
•Season Sacks: 16 by Keith Adams, 1999
•Season Tackles for Loss: 35, by Keith Adams, 1999 

Tigers Have Four New Starters in Offensive Line

Clemson will have four new starters in the offensive line this year. The 9-4 Tigers of 2007 who led the ACC in scoring offense were led in the offensive line by Walter Camp Foundation second-team All-American Barry Richardson at tackle, and second team Sporting News All-American Chris McDuffie at guard. It marked the first time that Clemson had two offensive linemen on the same team earn All-America honors. Tommy Bowden also lost 2007 starting tackle Christian Capote and starting offensive guard Brandon Pilgrim to graduation. Thus, the only returning starter on the offensive line for 2008 is center Thomas Austin. Historically, Clemson has not done well in seasons it has had to re¬place four starters on the offensive line. Since 1965, or when two platoon football returned to the college scene, Clemson has had 13 seasons in which it has had to replace four starters on the offensive line.
Clemson is just 79-66-4 in those seasons for a .542 winning percentage. The 2007 season was one of those years, and the Tigers finished in the top 25 with a 9-4 record. It was the fourth time Clemson has finished in the top 25 even though it had four new starters in the offensive line. Clemson has actually won two ACC championships in those years where four offensive line starters were replaced (1982, 1986), and Clemson was 7-0 vs. the ACC in 1983 in that situation, but Clemson was on probation and could not win the ACC title.

Clemson Seasons with Four New Offensive Line Starters

Year Record ACC ACC Fin AP-Coach 
1969 4-6 3-3 T3 NR-NR 
1972 4-7 2-5 5th NR-NR 
1973 5-6 4-2 3rd NR-NR 
1975 2-9 2-3 5th NR-NR 
1982 9-1-1 6-0 1st 8-PB 
1983 9-1-1 7-0 PB 11-PB 
1985 6-6 4-3 3rd NR-NR 
1986 8-2-2 5-1-1 1st 17-19 
1992 5-6 3-5 7th NR-NR 
1994 5-6 4-4 5th NR-NR 
2002 7-6 4-4 5th NR-NR 
2007 9-4 5-3 2-At 21-22

Harper Listed as Top Senior QB Prospect

Clemson quarterback Cullen Harper is listed as the top senior quar¬terback NFL draft prospect by in a release made by the service on August 8. Harper threw for 2,991 yards and 27 touchdowns last year when he led the ACC in passing efficiency, the first Clemson quarterback to lead the ACC in that category since Mike Eppley in 1983. Harper was ranked first and followed by Curtis Painter of Purdue, Hunter Cantwell of Louisville, Todd Boeckman of Ohio State and Chase Daniel of Missouri. Graham Harrell of Texas Tech was sixth, followed by Rudy Carpenter of Arizona State, Tom Brandstater of Fresno State, Mike Reilly of Central Washington and Nathan Brown of Central Arkansas.

Clemson National Award Candidates

Clemson might have as many national award candidates as any school in the nation. It certainly has a lot to do with Clemson’s high na¬tional ranking in many preseason team polls. Tommy Bowden’s Tigers have eight different players named to vari¬ous preseason Award candidate lists, the most in school history. The 2000 team that ended the season with a top 15 national ranking and 9-3 record, had six.

Four Clemson offensive players are on the list of 75 candidates for the Maxwell Award. The group of Tigers includes running backs James Davis and C.J. Spiller, wide receiver Aaron Kelly and quarterback Cullen Harper. Clemson, Oklahoma and Southern California were the only schools nationally to have four candidates on the list.

Clemson has never had a player win one of the national awards currently given. Terry Kinard was named national Defensive Player of the Year by CBS television, an era in which very few national position awards were given outside of the Heisman Trophy. Clemson has never had a Heisman Trophy finalist. Steve Fuller came the closest with a sixth place finish in 1978.

Clemson Players on National Award Preseason Lists

Player Yr. Pos Award 
Cullen Harper Gr. QB Maxwell, Unitas, O’Brien 
Ricky Sapp Jr. DE Bednarick, Hendricks 
Dorell Scott Sr. DT Outland 
Chris Chancellor Jr. CB Thorpe 
Michael Hamlin Gr. SAF Bednarick, Thorpe 
James Davis Sr. RB Maxwell, Camp, Walker 
C.J. Spiller Jr. RB Maxwell, Camp, Walker 
#Aaron Kelly Sr. WR Maxwell 

Belitnikoff Award list not released as of Aug. 21

Clemson Preseason Pick to Win ACC

For the first time since 1991, Clemson is the preseason selection to win the Atlantic Coast Conference by the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association. That group has been making a preseason ranking of ACC teams since 1976. This year marks just the sixth time Clemson has been listed as the preseason favorite. Clemson has gone on to win the league title four of the previous five times it has been selected (1978, 1987, 1988 and 1991). It has failed to win after being selected just one time, in 1989, Danny Ford’s last year at Clemson. While Tommy Bowden has never won the ACC Championship as Clemson head coach, he hasn’t been picked to win it prior to this year. In his previous nine years as Clemson head coach the Tigers have at least matched the preseason prediction seven times. His teams have exceeded the prediction four times (1999, 2003, 2005 and 2007) and equaled it three times (2000, 2002 and 2006). Only in 2001 and 2004 have the Tigers failed to live up to the expectations of the ACC Sports Media Association. It is interesting to note that Bowden’s record vs. the Sports Media’s expectations were better than those of Danny Ford.
In Ford’s 11 years at Clemson his teams were eligible for the ACC Championship nine times. In those nine years in which the Tigers were ranked in the preseason poll, Ford’s teams finished better than predicted four times, they were the same twice and finished worse three times, including his final year, 1989.

Twenty-one of the previous 32 years the team picked to win the ACC title has gone on to win the title.

Clemson Preseason and Finish Under Tommy Bowden

Year Preseason Finish 
1999 Sixth Second 
2000 Second Second 
2001 Third Fourth 
2002 Fifth Fifth 
2003 Fifth Third 
2004 Fourth Sixth 
2005 *Fourth *Third 
2006 *Second *Second 
2007 *Third *Second

All 20 Seniors on 2006 Clemson Team Have Graduated

August 9 closed out a perfect season for Clemson Head Coach Tommy Bowden. No the Tigers didn’t play a game that day, but the Tigers did have seven current or former players graduate, including 2006 seniors Jad Dean and Marion Dukes. When those two players earned their undergraduate degrees it meant that all 20 seniors on the 2006 roster, had received degrees.

Seven 2008 Tigers Already Have Degrees

The seniors of 2008 will have a good chance to join that 2006 class. The 2008 Clemson team has seven current players who already have their undergraduate degrees from Clemson, plus another student-athlete who already has an undergraduate degree from another school. The list of current Tigers with their degrees includes 2007 team cap¬tains Michael Hamlin and Cullen Harper. Other Tigers with their degrees are tight end Akeem Robinson, starting safety Chris Clemons, starting punter Jimmy Maners, starting kicker Mark Buchholz and reserve running back Paul Macko.

Reserve wide receiver Kyle Johnson earned his undergraduate de¬gree in three years from East Carolina and came to Clemson for graduate school. After he was accepted, he contacted the football program about joining the team as a walk-on. He still has two years of eligibility and is eligible to play in 2008. He was the top receiver with four receptions in the August 16 scrimmage.

Clemson Has Five Two-Sport Athletes on Roster

Clemson might have the most two-sport athletes on its football roster among FBS schools. No less than five current Tigers have or will compete in another sport at Clemson. The list is highlighted by C.J. Spiller and Jacoby Ford who not only start on the gridiron for the Tigers, but they have both already earned All-ACC and All-America honors for Clemson’s track program. They were both reasons Clemson finished in the top 25 in both indoor and outdoor track last year. So, combined with Clemson’s top 25 finish in football, they both played on three top 25 teams last year. Clemson quarterback Kyle Parker is yet to play in a football game for the Tigers and might not this year, as he is a red-shirt candidate. But, Parker played baseball for Clemson as an infielder, outfielder and DH this past spring. After enrolling at Clemson in January, Parker not only started for Jack Leggett’s team, he made first team all-ACC as a DH thanks to 14 home runs and a .304 batting average. He was second in the ACC in home runs in ACC games. Mark Buchholz played both football and soccer last fall, an incredible accomplishment in itself. He was the first athlete to play both sports in the same semester since 1982 when kicker Donald Igwebuike did it. Buchholz scored three goals and had three assists for the Clemson soccer team and led the ACC in scoring in football with a Clemson record 114 points. He kept up in the classroom as well and made first-team Academic All-ACC in football and soccer, the first Clemson athlete to make Academic All-ACC with two sports in the same semester in history. Current freshman Spencer Adams is in his first year with the Clemson football program as a safety, but he also plans to join the track team as a hurdler this winter. He won two national championships at the AAU level this past summer. Clemson has a great history of multi-sport athletes dating to the days of Banks McFadden who led Clemson to the Southern Conference bas¬ketball title in the winter of 1939, then led the Clemson football team to the Cotton Bowl and a top 12 national ranking in the fall. He was also a track standout at Clemson and was named the nation’s most versatile Athlete for 1939.

Grisham Needs Five Catches for 100

Clemson senior receiver Tyler Grisham needs five receptions to reach 100 for his career. It would certainly be meaningful to Grisham if he can get those five catches against Alabama because he is a native of Birmingham. Entering the Alabama game Grisham has 95 receptions for 1018 yards and seven touchdowns. Grisham has a chance to reach the milestone because he has had four games in his career in which he has had at least five catches. Three of those contests came last year when he had 11 catches against Virginia Tech, nine against Wake Forest and 10 against Boston College. He also had five against Kentucky in the Music City Bowl in 2006. Grisham came on strong last year. After catching just 13 passes over the first five games of the year, he caught 47 over the last eight games, an average of 5.87 catches per game. When he reaches the 100-catch mark he will become just the 14th player in Clemson history with at least 100 receptions. Teammate Aaron Kelly has already reached the 100 mark and in fact has 165, third on the Clemson list. When Grisham reaches the 100-mark he and Kelly will become just the second classmates in Clemson history to reach 100 receptions apiece.

Derrick Hamilton and Airese Currie played together from 2001-04 and both were over the 100 mark. Hamilton had 167 and Currie had 138. However they never were over the 100 mark at the same time. Ham¬ilton went pro after his junior year (2003) and Currie didn’t reach the 100 mark until his senior year (2004). Grisham played his high school football at Spain Park High School in Birmingham, AL where he played receiver, tailback, quarterback and defensive back. He played in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star game.

Davis and Kelly First Among Active ACC Players

Clemson has many players ranked among the top active ACC play¬ers in a number of categories. That includes the major categories of rush¬ing yards and receiving. James Davis has 3,130 career rushing yards, first among active ACC players by 1,358 yards. He is also first among active ACC players in rushing touchdowns with 36 and total touchdowns with 38. Aaron Kelly is first in total receptions with 165, 52 more than Hakeem Nicks of North Carolina. Kelly needs just 52 receptions to become the ACC’s career leader. Kelly is second among active ACC players in reception yards with 2,011, just 21 yards behind Greg Carr of Florida State. He is also second to Carr in reception touchdowns with 16.

Clemson Players Among Active ACC Leaders

Player Category Rank Fig 
James Davis Rushing Yards 1st 3,130 
Rushing TDs 1st 36 
Total TDs 1st 38 
Total Offense 7th 3,130 
Aaron Kelly Receptions 1st 165 
Reception Yards 2nd 2,011 
Reception TDs 2nd 16 
Cullen Harper Total Offense 8th 3,088 
Passing Yards 7th 3,161 
Passing TDs 3rd 29 
Tyler Grisham Receptions 6th 95 
Reception Yards 8th 1,018 
Reception TDs 6th 7 
C.J. Spiller Rushing 3rd 1,706 
Rushing TDs 3rd 13 
Kickoff Return Yards 7th 781 
Jacoby Ford Kickoff Return Yards 8th 637 
Punt Return Yards 5th 274 
Michael Hamlin Interceptions 3rd 8 
Chris Clemons Tackles 2nd 229

Powell Named Special Teams Coordinator

For the first time since 1998, Clemson has a special teams coordina¬tor. Andre Powell was given that title by Tommy Bowden last spring. He is the first assistant coach to have that title under Tommy Bowden and the first Clemson assistant to have the title since Rich Bisaccia in 1998. He is now the special teams coordinator of the Tampa Bay Bucs. Powell has had the title previously in his career at North Caro¬lina. He had a lot to do with Clemson’s special teams success in 2007. A year ago Mark Buchholz led the ACC in scoring as a kicker and ranked 18th in the nation in field goals per game. Jimmy Maners ranked 20th in the nation in punting with a 42.8 average, best by a Clemson punter since 1990, and C.J. Spiller was 14th in the nation in kickoff returns with a 28.8 average. All three of those players return this year. Spiller had two kickoff returns for touchdown last year.

Harper Named Preseason ACC Player of the Year

Four Tigers Named to Preseason All-ACC Team

Clemson quarterback Cullen Harper has been named the preseason ACC Player of the Year by media who attended the league’s annual Preseason Football Kickoff at Reynolds Plantation in Greensboro, GA. Harper received 34 of the 64 votes submitted by the media attending the event.

Clemson actually had the top three players in the voting for the award, as running back James Davis was second and with 16 votes and running back C.J. Spiller was third with four votes. If one of the Clemson players wins the award in the postseason it would be a landmark accom¬plishment. A Clemson player has not won the award since 1987 (Michael Dean Perry) and a Clemson offensive player has not been ACC Player of the Year since 1978 when Steve Fuller captured the second of his back to back league player of the year awards.

Harper set 22 Clemson passing records last year when he led the Tigers to a 9-4 record and final top 25 ranking. His list of records included most touchdown passes in a game with five on two occasions, touchdown passes in a season with 27 and best touchdown/interception ratio (27/6). Harper was the second team All-ACC quarterback in 2007 be¬hind Boston College quarterback Matt Ryan, but it was Harper who led the ACC in passing efficiency with a 142.0 figure. He was the first Clemson quarterback to lead the ACC in efficiency since Mike Eppley in 1983.

Harper was joined on the preseason All-ACC offense by team¬mates James Davis and Aaron Kelly, both of whom were named first-team All-ACC last year as juniors. Davis rushed for 1064 yards and 10 touch¬downs last year, while Kelly had 88 receptions, tied for the second most in ACC history, and had 11 touchdowns, tops in the ACC. Davis needs 837 rushing yards in 2008 to become Clemson’s career rushing leader, while Kelly needs just three receptions to become Clemson’s career reception leader. Kelly also needs just three touchdown receptions to break Glenn’s Smith career record of 18, a mark that has stood since 1951.

Spiller did not make the preseason team, but was third in the voting for player of the year. He joins with Davis as Clemson’s “Thunder and Lightning” running back duo. Spiller led Clemson with 1723 all-purpose yards last year, including 768 yards rushing. He was the MVP of the Chick-fil-A Bowl last year when he became the first Clemson player in history to have 100 yards rushing and 100 yards in kickoff returns in the same game.

Michael Hamlin was the only Clemson player to make the preseason All-ACC team on defense. Hamlin led the Clemson defense in forcing turnovers last year with six on four interceptions and two fumble re¬coveries. He had 97 total tackles to lead Clemson’s defense that ranked in the top 10 in the nation in scoring defense and total defense. Hamlin was a second-team All-ACC selection last year.

Clemson, Florida State and Wake Forest each had four pre¬season All-ACC selections to lead the conference. Nine of the 12 teams were represented.

2008 Preseason All-ACC Football Team

QB – Cullen Harper, Clemson
RB – Josh Adams, Wake Forest 
RB – James Davis, Clemson 
WR – Aaron Kelly, Clemson
WR – Hakeem Nicks, North Carolina
TE – Ryan Purvis, Boston College
T – Andrew Gardner, Georgia Tech
T – Eugene Monroe, Virginia
G – Rodney Hudson, Florida State
G – Sergio Render, Virginia Tech
C – Edwin Williams, Maryland
DE – Everette Brown, Florida State
DE – Michael Johnson, Georgia Tech
DT – Ron Brace, Boston College
DT – Vance Walker, Georgia Tech
LB – Aaron Curry, Wake Forest
LB – Clint Sintim, Virginia
LB – Brian Toal, Boston College
CB – Victor Harris, Virginia Tech
CB – Alphonso Smith, Wake Forest
S – Michael Hamlin, Clemson
S – Myron Rolle, Florida State
PK – Sam Swank, Wake Forest
P – Graham Gano, Florida State
RET – Brandon Tate, North Carolina

Clemson Top Performances on Opening Day

Below are Clemson’s top performances by individual category in the opening game of the season, regardless of site. Some of the records date back over 50 years.

Clemson Opening Day Individual Records:

Total Offense: 303 by Charlie Whitehurst vs. Wake Forest, 2004

Rushing Yards: 204 by Buck George vs. Presbyterian, 1952

Passing Yards: 288 by Charlie Whitehurst vs. Wake Forest, 2004

Pass Attempts: 41 vs. Charlie Whitehurst vs. Wake Forest, 2004

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: 152 (9 receptions) by Airese Currie vs. Wake Forest, 2004

All Purpose Yards: 246 by Buck George vs. Presbyterian vs. 1952

Field Goals: 6 by Jad Dean vs. Texas A&M, 2005

Tackles: 18 by Jeff Davis vs. Rice, 1980

18 by Chad Carson vs. The Citadel, 2000

Clemson in Season Openers

Clemson has won 19 of its last 24 season openers. The only opening game 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, in 1999 at home against Marshall ( Tommy Bowden’s first game as Clemson head coach), and in 2002 and 2003 against Georgia.

Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden has a 6-3 record in his nine season openers. He has played the most challenging openers among all coaches in Clemson history. The game with Alabama will be his fifth against a top 25 team. His predecessors combined had to play just five ranked teams in season openers.

Bowden’s three losses have come to a Marshall team that fin¬ished the season 13-0 and ranked in the top 10 in the nation in 1999, and to a pair of top 10 Georgia teams in 2002 and 2003.

Clemson won its opener in 2004 against Wake Forest in a thrilling 37-30 overtime victory in a game that was also televised by ABC. It gave Clemson an 8-2-1 record against ACC teams in season openers.

Clemson won at home in 2005 in thrilling fashion, a 25-24, win over Texas A&M on a 42-yard field goal by Jad Dean with two seconds left.

The Tigers are 83-21-8 (.787), regardless of site, in their first game of the season in its previous 112 seasons. Even though this is the 113th season of Clemson football, Clemson has had just 107 home open¬ers in its history because five seasons Clemson did not play a game at home. In the 107 home openers Clemson has a 82-17-8 record against 32 different opponents.
While most coaches don’t like to open seasons with difficult op¬ponents, the track record shows that Clemson has gone on to have good seasons when it opens against a ranked team. Even if they lose the first game. Perhaps it leads to a sense of urgency in the preseason.

In the nine previous years Clemson has opened with a ranked op¬ponent, the Tigers have gone on to a combined record of 71-32-3, a .684 winning percentage. Clemson has a 58 percent winning mark over the years in seasons it does not start the year against a ranked opponent.

Four Tigers Offspring of National Champions

Every team’s goal this time of the year is to win the national championship. Four members of Clemson’s 2008 team have a national championship history in their heritage because they are the offspring of fathers who played on national championship teams.

Three of the four are sons of members of Clemson’s 1981 Na¬tional Championship team. Sophomore reserve offensive tackle Landon Walker is the son of Gary Walker, an offensive lineman on that team. Quarterback Mike Wade is the son of Mike Wade, a defensive end of the 1981 team who earned a letter that season. Walk-on running back Ronald Watson, Jr, is the son of Ronald Watson, a reserve safety on the national championship team who went on to become a three-year starter between 1982-84.

Clemson starting quarterback Cullen Harper is also the son of a national champion. His father, Jeff, was a starting offensive lineman on Georgia’s 1980 National Championship team. One of Georgia’s close victories that year was a 20-16 win over Clemson in Athens.

Thunder and Lightning

Clemson running backs James Davis and C.J. Spiller are known as “Thunder and Lightning”, a moniker given to them last year by ESPN commentator Todd Blackledge during Clemson’s victory over Georgia Tech in 2006. That night in front of a national audience and sellout crowd, Davis gained 216 yards and scored two touchdowns and Spiller gained 116 yards and two scores, one rushing and one receiving. It marked the first time in Clemson history the Tigers had a 200-yard rusher and a 100-yard rusher in the same game.

Davis, a senior, is second in Clemson history in career rushing yards with 3,130 and he is second in career rushing touchdowns with 36. His 3,130 rushing yards stand first among active ACC players. Spiller, a junior, stands 22nd in Clemson history with 1706 rushing yards, but he is third among active ACC players. He has 13 career rushing touchdowns.

In 2006, the duo had 2125 rushing yards, the most in Clemson history in one season by a running back duo. They also combined for a record 27 touchdowns and averaged 163.5 yards per game. They were a big reason Clemson finished fifth in the nation in rushing that year.

Last year the numbers were down a bit as the Tigers had more of a balanced attack. But, they still combined for 1832 yards and 13 rush¬ing touchdowns and a 5.2 yards per carry average. Davis finished last year with 1064 yards and Spiller had 768.

The two running backs have combined for 20 100-yard rushing games in their careers, as Davis has 12 and Spiller has eight. They have both rushed for 100 yards in the same game four times in their two-years together in the backfield. That is the most games in Clemson history that the same duo has rushed for 100 yards. Stacey Driver and Kenny Flowers had three games in which they both ran for 100 yards in 1985.

Most Combined Rushing Yards by Davis-Spiller in Same Game

Year Opponent Davis Spiller Total
2006 Georgia Tech 21-216-2 16-116-1 37-332-3
2007 NC State 24-166-1 21-114-1 45-280-2
2006 Louisiana Tech 11-143-2 15-127-1 26-270-3
2007 Maryland 29-129-1 17-106-0 46-235-1
2006 Temple 9-138-3 12-72-2 21-211-5
2007 South Carolina 23-122-0 16-88-0 39-210-0
2006 Wake Forest 26-95-0 9-104-1 35-199-1

Clemson Top Season Rushing Duos in History

Year Players Att Yds Avg TD Yds/G
1995 Priester-Smith 383 2069 5.4 20 172.4
2000 Dantzler-Zachery 396 2055 5.2 26 171.3
1985 Flowers-Driver 408 2031 5.0 15 169.3
2006 Davis-Spiller 332 2125 6.4 27 163.5
1982 Austin-McSwain 328 1705 5.2 21 155.0
1986 Flagler-Flowers 315 1853 5.9 15 154.4
1967 Gore-J. Jackson 331 1495 4.5 12 149.5
1983 Mack-Driver 297 1636 5.5 13 148.7
1987 Allen-McFadden 320 1760 5.5 14 146.2

How Many First-Year Freshmen Will Play?

How many freshmen will play in 2008? Clemson’s class of 24 new freshmen scholarship players was ranked second best in the nation by

In the last 26 years, Clemson has played 151 first-year freshmen, an average of 5.8 per season. Sixty-three of the first-year freshmen who have played have been offensive players, while 84 have been defensive players and four have been kickers.

Since Tommy Bowden came to Clemson in 1999, the Tigers have played 53 first-year freshmen, 19 on offense, 32 on defense and two special teams. That is an average of 5.9 first-year freshman per year, so Bowden is right at the Clemson average since the red-shirt rule came into effect in 1982.

The record for first-year freshmen played in one season is 11 in 1985 and in 2007.

The most wins for a Clemson team that has played at least eight first year freshmen is 10, set in 1989, a Clemson team that played eight first-year freshmen in a 10-2 season.

The most first-year freshmen Clemson has played in the Bowden era is 11, set last year.,

Clemson has played at least one first-year freshman for all 26 years of the rule. The fewest was the one used in 2002 (Justin Miller).

Bowden First-Year Freshman Participants

1999: (5)—David Ellis (LB), Rodney Feaster (LB), Brian Mance (DB), Bernard Rambert (RB), Rodney Thomas (LB)

2000: (4)—Aaron Hunt (PK), Yusef Kelly (RB), John Leake (LB), Ronnie Thomas (WR)

2001: (9)—Eric Coleman (DT), Roscoe Crosby (WR), Airese Currie (WR), Moe Fountain (DE), Ben Hall (TE), Leroy Hill (LB), Tavaghn Monts (DB), Travis Pugh (FS), Eric Sampson (LB)

2002: (1)—Justin Miller (CB)

2003: (5)—Tramaine Billie (SS), Jad Dean (PK), Marion Dukes (OT), Ser¬gio Gilliam (DB), Brandon Pilgrim (OG)

2004: (2)—La’Donte Harris (WR), Barry Richardson (OT)

2005: (8)—James Davis (RB), Rendrick Taylor (WR), Tyler Grisham (WR), Philip Merling (DE), Antonio Clay (LB), Josh Miller (LB), Jock McKissic (DT), Haydrian Lewis (DB).

2006 (8)—Jacoby Ford (WR), C.J. Spiller (RB), Jamie Cumbie (DE), Ricky Sapp (DE), Jeremy Campbell (LB), Kevin Alexander (LB), Michael Palmer (TE), Crezdon Butler (CB)

2007 (11)—Kourtnei Brown (DE), Miguel Chavis (DT), Scotty Cooper (LB), Chad Diehl (FB), Xavier Dye (WR), Marcus Gilchrist (CB), Jarvis Jenkins (DT), Willy Korn (QB), Brian Linthicum (TE), DeAndre McDaniel (S), Ren¬nie Moore (DE)

Ford Back on the Field

One of the reasons for optimism about the Clemson program is the return of wide receiver and kick returner Jacoby Ford. He suffered a broken ankle against Maryland last year in the eighth game and was lost for the season. At the time of his injury he was averaging over 100 yards per game in terms of all-purpose running. Over his career he has averaged 16.5 yards every time he touches the ball. Ford has 32 career receptions for 497 yards, 22 rushes for 276 yards, 274 punt return yards in 27 attempts and 637 kickoff return yards in 21 attempts. Ford is also an All-American on the Clemson men’s track team.

He finished in fifth place in the 100 meters at the NCAA Championships last June. His career best in the 100 is 10.21. He was an All-American in indoor track in 2007 when he finished third in the 60 meters at the NCAA Championships with a time of 6.60. His career best is a 6.52 in the 60, a time he recorded when he won the ACC Championship in meet held at Clemson in February of 2007. He did not compete in indoor track last year due to his ankle injury.

Clemson Has Four of Top 10 ACC Players according to
According to, Clemson has four of the top 10 players in the ACC entering the 2008 season. James Davis is listed as the top player in the league. The senior running back has over 1400 more rushing yards than any other active ACC player entering the season. Clemson quarterback Cullen Harper is listed as the third best player in the league. Harper led the league in passing efficiency last year, the first Tiger to do that since 1983. C.J. Spiller is listed as the sixth best player in the ACC. Spiller has a 6.23 rushing average over his career and he ranked 14th in the nation in kickoff returns last year. Finally, Aaron Kelly is listed as the eighth best player in the ACC. Kelly had a Clemson record 88 receptions and a record 11 touchdown receptions in 2007.

ACC’s Top 10 Players According to

Rk Player Sc Pos 
1. James Davis Clemson RB 
2. Macho Harris Virginia Tech CB 
3. Cullen Harper Clemson QB 
4. Alphonso Smith Wake Forest CB 
5. Darius Heyward-Bey Maryland WR 
6. C.J. Spiller Clemson RB 
7. Myron Rolle Florida State SS 
8. Aaron Kelly Clemson WR 
9. Brian Toal Boston College LB-FB 
10. Sam Swank Wake Forest P/K 

Ford and Spiller Have Breakaway Potential

Clemson juniors Jacoby Ford and C.J. Spiller are two of the top “home run” threats in college football. Spiller has 10 career touchdowns of 50 yards or more, already more than any other player in Clemson history, while Ford has recorded five, tied for third in school history. Spiller had six his freshman year to establish a Clemson single season record for touch¬downs of 50 yards or more, while Ford had four that year. In terms of plays of 80 yards or more, Spiller has five. He is the only player in Clemson history to record a play of 80 yards or more three different ways. Spiller had an 82-yard reception in 2006 at Boston College, had an 83-yard run against Auburn in the 2008 Chick-fil-A Bowl, had an 80-yard run against South Carolina in 2006 and had two kickoff returns for scores in 2007. He had an 84-yard return for a score against Duke and a 90-yard kickoff return for a score against Wake Forest over consecutive games in 2007. Ford has three plays of at least 80 yards in his career, all on kick returns. He had a 92-yard punt return against Florida Atlantic and a 94-yard kickoff return against Louisiana Tech in 2006. He had an 82-yard kickoff return against Central Michigan last year. Two other Clemson players on the roster have had an 80-yard play. Aaron Kelly had a 81-yard kickoff return against Georgia Tech in 2005, his freshman year, and Jock McKissic had an 82-yard interception return for a score against South Carolina in 2006.

Spiller’s 50-Yard Touchdowns (10)

Year Opponent Type Yards 
2007 Wake Forest KOR 90 
2007 Duke KOR 84 
2007 Auburn Run 83 
2006 Boston College Catch 82 
2006 South Carolina Run 80 
2006 Wake Forest Run 72 
2007 Louisiana-Monroe Catch 68 
2006 NC State Run 52 
2006 Georgia Tech Catch 50 
2006 Georgia Tech Run 50 

Jacoby Ford 50-Yard Touchdowns (5)

Year Opponent Type Yards 
2006 Louisiana Tech KOR 94 
2006 Florida Atlantic PR 92 
2006 South Carolina Catch 76 
2006 Temple Catch 55 
2007 Louisiana-Monroe Catch 52

Clemson Has Returning 1000-yard Rusher and 1000-Yard Receiver

Clemson is one of six FBS schools with a 1000-yard rusher and 1000-yard receiver returning from last year. It marks the first year in school history that has been the case. Running back James Davis had 1064 rushing yards last year and Aaron Kelly had 1081 receiving yards. The other schools with a returning 1000-yard rusher and receiver are Central Michigan, Tennessee, Tulsa, Boise State and Nevada. Clem¬son and Tennessee are the only schools from one of the big six confer¬ences to have a 1000-yard rusher and 1000-yard receiver returning.

Schools with Returning 1000-yard Rusher and 1000-yard Receiver

School Rusher Receiver 
Clemson James Davis (1064) Aaron Kelly (1081) 
Central Michigan Dan LeFevor (1122) Bryan Anderson (1132) 
Antonio Brown (1003) 
Tennessee Arian Foster (1193) Lucas Taylor (1000) 
Tulsa Tarrion Adams (1225) Charles Clay (1024) 
Brennan Marion (1244) 
Boise State Ian Johnson (1041) Jeremy Childs (1045) 
Nevada Luke Lippincutt (1420) Marko Mitchell (1129 )

Clemson Roster oddities in 2008

•Clemson has two players on its roster who wear the number-eight and both have the same first name, Jamie. Defensive tackle Jamie Cumbie wears eight, as does running back Jamie Harper. Both will never be on the field at the same time.

•Defensive tackle Miguel Chavis and tight end Dwayne Allen both wear number-89. Both attended the same high school, Terry Sanford in Fayetteville, NC

•Seven sets of Clemson players have the same last name, but only the Clears (Byron and Brandon) are related. They are in fact twin brothers. All the other players with the same last name are not related.

•Two Clemson players on the 2008 roster have played at other schools. Kasey Nobles began his career at Rice before transferring to Clemson in January in 2007. Kyle Johnson played at East Carolina for three years. He graduated this past spring and transferred to Clemson to enter graduate school. He still has two years of eligibility and the NCAA ruled he can play in 2008.

Clemson Schedule Oddities in 2008

•Clemson opens the 2008 season at a neutral site in the Georgia Dome against Alabama. This is the first time Clemson has opened the season at a neutral site. Clemson opened the 1904 season against Ala¬bama in Birmingham, but Alabama played many of its home games there and did form many years.

•Clemson’s game with Alabama will be its third in a row against an SEC team. It is the first time Clemson has played three straight games against SEC teams since 1925 when the Tigers played consecutive games against Auburn, Kentucky and South Carolina. Of course, the SEC was not in existence then, so technically, Clemson has never played three straight games against SEC teams.

•Clemson plays just one home game in a 48-day period between September 28 and November 14.

•Clemson has just two games in the month of October, the first time that has been the case since it played just one game in October of 1918. That year the only game Clemson played in October was on October 5 against Georgia Tech. Georgia Tech is one of the two games in October this year.

•Clemson plays five games in November. This is the first time Clemson has played five games in November since 1958.

Kelly Chasing Clemson Records

Clemson wide receiver Aaron Kelly is chasing many of the school’s top receiving records. The most impressive of the list is his pursuit of the career touchdown reception list. That mark has stood for 57 years and is the oldest major record in the Clemson media guide. Glenn Smith had 18 touchdown receptions between 1949 and 1951 and Kelly has 16, so three more scores and Kelly will own that mark. The record that is most imminent is he total receptions record. Der¬rick Hamilton had 167 between 2001 and 2003 and Kelly has 165 entering the Alabama game, so he needs just three catches to break the career reception mark. Hamilton’s last catch as a Tiger took place in the 2004 Chick-fil-A Bowl against Tennessee. So, Kelly will likely break the record in the same facility. Finally, Kelly is seventh in Clemson history in career reception yard¬age with 2011. The record is 2681 yards by Terry Smith, who played from 1990-93. So, Kelly needs just 672 receiving yards to eclipse that record.

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