Game 1: Clemson vs. Georgia Notes
First Career Start for Simmons
Clemson Season Openers vs. Ranked Teams *3 of the top four completion percentage figures
*2 of the top 3 yards per play figures, and top two since 1950
*3 of the top 5 total offense per game figures
*3 of the top 4 first downs/game figures
* 2 of the top 7 scoring teams in school history
Francis Could be Walk-on Starter
Clemson's starting quarterback against Georgia will be
graduate student Willie Simmons. The native of Quincy, FL is in his
fourth year with the program, but still has two years of eligibility,
2002 and 2003. He is a veteran of 14 games and has taken 331 snaps
the previous two years, but is yet to start a game.
Simmons has significant experience, especially for a player
who is yet to make a start. He played 233 snaps in 2000 when Woodrow
Dantzler suffered with a high ankle sprain much of the season.
Dantzler started every game, but many times had to come out of the
One of these games was at North Carolina in 2000 when Simmons
came off the bench in the second period and threw four touchdown
passes, tying a Clemson single game record. Simmons threw eight
touchdown passes that year as a backup, most in Clemson history for a
non-starter and most by a freshman. For his career, Simmons has
thrown 147 passes and 10 have gone for touchdowns.
Despite the experience, Simmons is still considered a first
time starter entering this year. Each of the last three Clemson
quarterbacks have lost in their first start. In fact, the only Tiger
signal caller to win his first start over the last 10 years is Louis
Solomon, who defeated Duke in 1992 in his first start. Woody
Dantzler, Brandon Streeter and Nealon Greene all lost their first
That is in direct contrast to the 1977-92 era. During those
16 years Clemson had eight quarterbacks start a game and all eight
won their first start. Over the last 25 years Clemson quarterbacks
are 9-4 in their first start.
As far as the entire season is concerned Clemson is 83-52-3
(.612) in seasons it has had a first-year starter at quarterback
since 1976. With a starting quarterback who is in his second year
or more as a starter, Clemson is 119-42-4 (.732) since 1976. Over
the last 26 years Clemson has gone into a season with a veteran
quarterback 14 years and, Clemson has gone to a bowl game in every
year it has been eligible.
Clemson has had a quarterback in its first year as a starter 12 times
in the last 26 years and has gone to a bowl game in just six of those
years. That includes the 2000 season when Woodrow Dantzler was in
his first year as the starter for the course of the year and he took
the Tigers to a 9-3 record and top 15 final ranking.
Tigers from Georgia
Georgia has been a top recruiting area for Clemson for many
years. The school is just 20 miles from the Georgia/South Carolina
state line and, the distance between the Clemson campus and the
Georgia campus is just about an 80-minute drive.
Clemson's National Championship team of 1981 had 22 players
from the state of Georgia and 23 from South Carolina. Recent Clemson
All-Americans who came to Tigertown from the state of Georgia are
Robert Carswell (now with the San Diego Chargers), Keith Adams (now
with the Dallas Cowboys), and Chris Gardocki (now with the Cleveland
Browns). Carswell and Gardocki were from Stone Mountain, while
Adams was from College Park.
This year is no exception when it comes to finding many Georgia
natives on the Clemson roster. In fact, there are 19 players,
including 18 of Clemson's 83 players on scholarship who are from the
Peach State. Six of the players are starters and four are second
team players. Nine of the 19 are freshmen, six first-year and three
This year's list of Tigers from Georgia includes starting
defensive tackle and team leader Nick Eason, starting linebacker
Rodney Thomas, starting defensive end Khaleed Vaughn and starting
offensive tackle Gary Byrd. As listed above, Clemson's 2002
recruiting class features six players from Georgia. All six could be
red-shirted this year.
Clemson Players from Georgia
Name Yr Pos Hometown High School
Nathan Bennett Fr. OG Dallas Paulding County
@Gary Byrd Gr OT Stone Mountain Stone Mountain
Brandon Cannon Fr. DT Stone Mountain Stephenson
Brian Carr So. FS Conyers Heritage
Cole Chason Fr. PK Roswell Gr. Atlanta Christian
Donnell Clark Fr. DT Griffin Griffin
Tim DeBeer Fr. OT Atlanta Marist
@Nick Eason Gr. DT Lyons Toombs County
LeRoy Hill So. LB Haddock Baldwin
@Cedric Johnson So. OG Barwick Thomas County Cent.
@Wynn Kopp Sr. P Athens Clarke Central
Brad Lee Fr. OT Hephzibah Hephzibah
Chip Myrick Fr. OT Atlanta Lovett
Tommy Sharpe So. C Albany Westover
@Rodney Thomas Sr. LB Cadwell W. Laurens
@Khaleed Vaughn Gr. DE Atlanta North Atlanta
Nigel Vaughn So. LB Atlanta North Atlanta
Rod Whipple Fr. DE Toomsboro Wilkinson County
C Whitehurst Fr. QB Duluth Chattahoochee
Kopp Returns to Sanford Stadium
The Clemson player most familiar with Sanford Stadium is
punter Wynn Kopp. A native of Athens, Kopp was Georgia's starting
punter in 1998 and 1999 before transferring to Clemson prior to the
2000 season. He sat out that season due to the NCAA transfer rule,
then served as Clemson's starting punter last year.
At Georgia, Kopp played in 21 games and handled 82 punts for
an average of 37.3 yards per boot. Last year at Clemson he started
all 12 games and handled 49 of Clemson's 51 punts for a 38.5-yard
Kopp handled the punting in 11 games in Sanford Stadium in
his two years at Georgia and had a 37.77 average on 53 punts in the
facility. Georgia was 8-3 in those 11 games. Kopp was consistent
over his two years in Sanford Stadium. In 1998 he averaged 37.774 on
31 punts in Sanford Stadium and in 1999 he averaged 37.773 on 22
punts in the facility.
For his career at Clemson and Georgia combined, Kopp averages
37.75 yards per punt and in his 11 games at Sanford Stadium he
averaged 37.77. Kopp has played in three bowl games in his career
and his team has won all three. He punted for the Bulldogs in their
win over Virginia in the 1998 Peach Bowl, and served as the holder
during Georgia's comeback win over Purdue on the 1999 (season) Hall
of Fame Bowl. He was Clemson's punter in the 2001 Humanitarian Bowl.
Kopp has co-authored a book on punting with his father and
brother. The book analyzes nearly 500 punts from the 2001 season,
and it has been purchased by some of the NFL teams.
Clemson has had some natives of Athens who have come back to
haunt the Bulldogs over the years. In 1981, quarterback Homer Jordan
led Clemson to victory over the Bulldogs in a game at Clemson. In
1986 and 1987 Clemson's top tackler in the Georgia vs. Clemson game
was Athens native and linebacker Norman Haynes.
Clemson vs. Georgia Series
*Georgia holds a 39-17-4 advantage in the series that dates
to the 1897 season. Georgia won that first meeting 24-0 in Athens in
the season opener that year. It was the fourth game in Clemson
history and the first time Clemson played a game outside the state of
South Carolina. Georgia's football history dates to 1892 and that
first meeting with Clemson was the 25th in Bulldog history.
*Georgia holds a 25-7-1 advantage in the series in games
played at Georgia, including a 19-2 lead in games played at Sanford
*Georgia won the first three games of the series, all in
Athens between 1897 and 1899. Clemson's first win was a 39-5 triumph
in Athens in 1900 behind head coach John Heisman. The victory gave
Heisman a 4-0 record to open his first season. Heisman was a perfect
4-0 against Georgia as Clemson coach. Clemson actually won seven
games in a row in the series between 1900-06.
*Clemson won at Georgia in 1914 by a 35-13 count and then did
not post a win in Athens again until 1977 when Charley Pell led the
Tigers to victory 7-6.
*The two teams were 8-8-1 against each other from 1897-1914,
then Georgia went on a 21-1-2 run in the series between 1915-73.
Clemson's only win during that time was a 26-7 win in 1955. Clemson
broke an eight-game losing streak in 1974 with a 28-24 win at Death
*The two teams split 11 games between 1977-87, more on that
below. Georgia has now won the last three meetings, in 1991, 1994
and 1995. The 1995 contest was a classic, a 19-17 Georgia win at
Death Valley. Both teams went on to bowl games that year. Todd
Kirtsey led Georgia with 38 carries for 195 yards in that game. It
is the second most carries ever in a game against Clemson.
*Clemson last defeated Georgia in 1990 by a 34-3 score under
first year head coach Ken Hatfield. Clemson's defense, led by future
pros Levon Kirkland, Ed McDaniel, Brentson Buckner, Chester
McGlockton and Robert O'Neal, held the Bulldogs out of the endzone
*This is the first of a two-game series between the two
schools. Georgia will open the season at Clemson next year on August
Clemson in Sanford Stadium
Clemson has won just two of 21 games played in Sanford
Stadium, but both wins were landmark last second victories that
catapulted Clemson to an outstanding season. In many ways the wins
gave Clemson momentum that carried over for seasons to come.
Clemson's two victories in Sanford Stadium took place in 1977
and 1986. The 1977 victory was a 7-6 triumph under first-year head
coach Charley Pell. Clemson had lost the season opener at home
against Maryland and was a heavy underdog against the defending SEC
champions. Georgia scored with 20 seconds left, but a two-point
conversion attempt failed and Clemson held on for the win. That was
the first game of a seven game winning streak for the Tigers and
Clemson went on to a Gator Bowl berth, its first bowl bid in 18 years.
Nine years later, Clemson was coming off a 6-6 season heading
to Georgia after suffering a season opening loss at home to Virginia
Tech. But, David Treadwell booted a career long 46-yard field goal
as the final horn sounded, sending Clemson to a 31-28 victory.
Clemson went on to post an 8-2-2 record and won the first of three
straight ACC Championships. It was the first of six straight
seasons with just two losses for the Clemson program.
Clemson vs. Georgia 1977-87
The Clemson vs. Georgia series reached its high point during
the 11 games played between 1977-87. The two teams were 5-5-1
against each other during that period and nine of the 11 contests
were decided by seven points or less. During that time, Georgia
scored 171 points and Clemson scored 159 so there were just 12 total
points difference between the two teams over an 11-game period.
The average margin of victory for the winner was just 4.7
points per game during those 11 years. The teams were fairly even in
other categories also. Clemson averaged 311 yards per game during
that period against Georgia and the Bulldogs averaged 286.3. Clemson
had 11 more first downs in the 11 games combined.
Here is a game-by-game short rundown of the games during that
series. For a longer synopsis of the games turn to page 169 in the
Clemson media guide.
Year St Winner Summary
1977 GA CU, 7-6 Georgia fails on 2-point play with 20
1978 GA GA, 12-0 Georgia shuts out Clemson
offense that had 6 future NFL starters
1979 CU CU, 12-7 Tigers rush for 306 yards,
shut GA out until final minute
1980 GA GA, 20-16 CU outgains GA 351-157, runs
90 plays, yet loses. GA Wins Nat. Title
1981 CU CU, 13-3 Tigers force record 9
turnovers and defeats #4 GA on way to Nat. Title
1982 GA GA, 13-7 Georgia wins battle of 1980
and 1981 National Champions on blocked FG
1983 CU 16-16 Tie Both teams attempt 60-yard+
field goals on last two plays of the game.
1984 GA GA 26-23 Kevin Butler boots 60-yard
field goal with 11 seconds left.
1985 CU GA, 20-13 First National network TV
game from Clemson, GA rushes for 360
1986 GA CU, 31-28 David Treadwell boots 46-yard
field goal on last play of the game
1987 CU CU, 21-20 Treadwell boots 21-yarder
with two seconds left to win game.
Clemson has Eight Graduates on Roster
The 2002 Clemson team has already broken a school record and
the kickoff of the season opener has not even taken place. This
year's team has eight graduates on its roster, a record for a Clemson
team. The list includes three players who will travel to roster
with two full seasons yet to play.
Clemson starting quarterback Willie Simmons, starting
defensive end Khaleed Vaughn and reserve tackle William Henry are
listed as graduates on the roster, but still have this year and 2003
in terms of eligibility. Simmons received his degree last May,
accomplishing his course requirements in just three years and three
summer schools. That is the earliest a Clemson scholarship football
player has ever graduated. Vaughn and Henry both graduated this
past August 10th and still have two years to play.
The list of graduates on the 2002 Clemson team includes
starting wide receiver Jackie Robinson, starting roverback Altroy
Bodrick, starting defensive tackle Nick Eason and starting offensive
tackle Gary Byrd. Nathan Gillespie is a reserve offensive lineman
who also has his Clemson diploma. Eason graduated in August of 2001,
so he also had his degree with two years to play.
The previous high for graduates on a Clemson football team
was seven set just last year. By the end of the 2002 academic year
18 of the 22 seniors on the 2001 football team already had their
degree. Two of those players are in school this year and plan to
graduate by May of 2003.
Clemson Graduates on 2002 Team
Name Pos Graduation Degree
Jackie Robinson WR Dec. 2001 Health Science
Khaleed Vaughn DE Aug. 2002 Marketing
Willie Simmons QB May 2002 Marketing
William Henry OT Aug. 2002 Sociology
Altroy Bodrick ROV Aug. 2002 Rec. Park Adm.
Gary Byrd OT Aug. 2002 Rec. Park Adm.
Nick Eason DT Aug. 2001 Sociology
Nathan Gillespie OG Dec. 2001 Marketing
Opening on the Road
The Clemson vs. Georgia game in Athens will mark just the
fourth time Clemson has opened on the road since 1975. The last time
Clemson opened on the road was in 1996 when the Tigers lost 45-0 to a
North Carolina team that would end the season with a 10-2 record.
Clemson's last win in an opening game played on the road took
place in 1985 when a David Treadwell field goal on the last play of
the game gave the Tigers a 20-17 win at Virginia Tech. The only
other time Clemson has opened a season on the road since 1975 was at
Georgia in 1982. The Bulldogs won that meeting of the 1980 and 1981
National Champions, 13-7 in a Monday night game that was shown on ABC
In its history, Clemson is 10-10-2 when it opens the season
on the road. Clemson's first game in history was at Furman, a 14-6
win in 1896. Clemson opened its 1897, 1898, 1899 and 1903 seasons at
Georgia and lost three of four. The 29-0 win at Georgia in 1903 was
John Heisman's last season at Clemson.
Frank Howard opened his season on the road five straight
years between 1959-63. His 1959 team defeated a 12th ranked North
Carolina team 20-18 in Chapel Hill to open that season. He also
opened on the road at Florida in 1961, at Georgia Tech in 1962 and at
fourth ranked Oklahoma in 1963.
Seasons Clemson Has Opened on the Road (10-10-2)
Year Opponent W L T Score
1896 Furman W 14-6
1897 Georgia L 0-24
1898 Georgia L 0-20
1899 Georgia L 0-11
1903 Georgia W 29-0
1904 Alabama W 18-0
1912 Samford W 59-0
1914 Davidson T 0-0
1915 Furman W 94-0
1921 Centre L 0-14
1940 Presbyterian W 38-0
1959 North Carolina W 20-18
1960 Wake Forest W 28-7
1961 Florida L 17-21
1962 Georgia Tech L 9-26
1963 Oklahoma L 14-31
1968 Wake Forest T 20-20
1969 Virginia W 21-14
1974 Texas A&M L 0-24
1982 Georgia L 7-13
1985 Virginia Tech W 20-17
1996 North Carolina L 0-45
Clemson Opens vs. Ranked Opponent
Not only is Clemson opening the season on the road for just
the fourth time since 1975, Clemson will face a ranked opponent, a
top 10 opponent in its first game of the season. This will mark just
the sixth time in history Clemson has opened a season against a
ranked foe. The Tigers are 1-4 in the previous season openers
against a ranked team.
This is the first time Clemson has faced a ranked team in a
season opener since 1982 when the Tigers faced a seventh ranked
Georgia in Athens. Georgia won that contest 13-7 thanks to a
blocked punt return for a touchdown.
Clemson's only season opening win in history over a ranked
opponent took place at North Carolina in 1959, a 20-18 win over a
12th ranked North Carolina team for Frank Howard's Tigers. The
highest ranked opponent Clemson has faced in a season opener took
place in 1963 when Frank Howard's team lost at fourth ranked
Year Opponent Rk St Result
1959 North Carolina 12 A W, 20-18
1963 Oklahoma 4 A L, 14-31
1974 Texas A&M 20 A L, 0-24
1977 Maryland 10 H L, 14-21
1982 Georgia 7 A L, 7-13
Clemson's Road Ranked Wins
Clemson will have a chance to add to its list of road wins
over ranked teams this weekend at Georgia . The Bulldogs are ranked
11th in the preseason USA Today poll and eighth in the preseason
Associated Press Poll. Clemson has a graveyard at its entrance to
the practice field and erects a tombstone to document each road win
over a ranked team.
Clemson added to the site last year when it won at ninth
ranked Georgia Tech, 47-44 in overtime in one of the most exciting
games in school history. That was the highest ranked team Clemson
had beaten on the road in 20 years. A win at Georgia would trump
that triumph as the Bulldogs are ranked eighth in the nation, the
same ranking North Carolina had in 1981 when Clemson won 10-8 on the
way to its National Championship season. That win in Chapel Hill is
still the highest ranked team Clemson has defeated on the road in
history. Overall, Clemson has 17 wins over ranked teams on the road
in its history.
Clemson Wins over Ranked Teams on the Road
Year Opponent Rk Score
1948 Wake Forest 19th 21-14
1950 Wake Forest 17th 13-12
Miami (FL) 15th 15-14
1954 Florida 14th 14-7
1959 North Carolina 12th 20-18
1977 Georgia 17th 7-6
1978 Maryland 11th 28-24
1981 North Carolina 8th 10-8
1982 Maryland 18th 24-22
1983 North Carolina 10th 16-3
1986 Georgia 14th 31-28
1989 Florida State 16th 34-23
1992 Virginia 10th 29-28
1994 North Carolina @12th 28-17
1996 Virginia 15th 24-16
1997 NC State @25th 19-17
2001 Georgia Tech 9th #47-44
@Coaches poll only #Overtime
Clemson's Highest Ranked Wins
A win for Clemson over eighth ranked Georgia would be the
highest ranked Clemson win since 1981 when Clemson defeated
fourth-ranked Nebraska in the Orange Bowl, a 22-15 victory that gave
Clemson the National Championship. Three of Clemson's top four wins
in history took place during the 1981 National Championship season.
Regardless of site, Clemson has nine wins over top 10 teams
in its history, three in Death Valley. Clemson has had 21 wins over
top 25 teams since 1986 and has had at least one ranked win in 14 of
the last 16 seasons. Tommy Bowden has defeated at least one ranked
team each of his first three years at Clemson. The Tigers defeated
Virginia, 33-14, in 1999 when the Cavs were ranked 19th (USA Today),
then downed a 25th ranked South Carolina team in 2000. The Tigers
then defeated 9th ranked Georgia Tech in Atlanta last year.
Clemson's Top 10 Victories
Year Opponent Site Rk Score
1981 Georgia Clemson, SC 4 13-3
1981 Nebraska Miami, FL 4 22-15
1959 Texas Christian Houston, TX 7 23-7
1981 North Carolina Chapel Hill, NC 8 10-8
2001 Georgia Tech Atlanta, GA 9 #47-44
1967 NC State Clemson, SC 10 14-6
1983 North Carolina Clemson, SC 10 16-3
1988 Oklahoma Orlando, FL 10 13-6
1992 Virginia Cville, VA 10 29-28
Clemson in Openers
Clemson has won 15 of its last 18 season openers. The only
opening losses since 1983 took place in 1986 at Clemson when Virginia
Tech and Coach Bill Dooley upset the Tigers, 20-14, at North Carolina
in Chapel Hill in 1996 and in 1999 at home against Marshall, Tommy
Bowden's first game as Clemson head coach.
That 1986 game with Virginia Tech was a battle of eventual bowl
teams, as the Tigers ended the year 8-2-2 and ranked 17th in the
nation, while Virginia Tech was 9-2-1 and ranked 20th in the final
poll. The 1999 13-10 loss to Marshall was also a battle of bowl
Clemson has won its last two openers and is 2-1 under Tommy Bowden in
its first game of the season. Clemson defeated Central Florida last
year 21-13 and stopped The Citadel 38-0 in the 2000 season.
Marshall stopped Clemson 13-10 in the opening game of 1999, Bowden's
first year at Clemson.
The Tigers are 79-19-8 (.783), regardless of site, in their first
game of the season in its previous 106 seasons. Even though this
is the 107th season of Clemson football, Clemson has had just 101
home openers in its history because five seasons Clemson did not play
a game at home. In the 101 home openers Clemson has a 77-16-8 record
against 28 different opponents. Clemson opens its home schedule
September 7 vs. Louisiana Tech.
Clemson Opening Day Records
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: 297 by Billy Hair by Presbyterian, 1951
Rushing Yards: 204 by Buck George vs. Presbyterian, 1952
Passing Yards: 283 by Jimmy Addison vs. Virginia, 1966
Pass Attempts: 34 by Brandon Streeter vs. Marshall, 1999
Pass Completions: 23 by Brandon Streeter vs. Marshall, 1999
Completion Percentage: .941 (16-17) by Woodrow Dantzler vs. The Citadel, 2000
Passing Efficiency: 247.1 by Woodrow Dantzler vs. The Citadel, 2000
Receptions: 11 by Rod Gardner vs. Marshall, 1999
Reception Yards: 145 by Perry Tuttle vs. Furman, 1979
All Purpose Yards: 246 by Buck George vs. Presyterian vs. Presbyterian, 1952
Tackles: 18 by Jeff Davis vs. Rice, 1980
18 by Chad Carson vs. The Citadel, 2000
Clemson Faces Tough Schedule in 2002
In many ways this will be Clemson's most difficult schedule.
The 2002 Tigers have nine games against teams who had winning records
last year and eight of the 2002 opponents played in bowl games last
Nationally, Clemson is tied for third in number of games
against teams who had winning records in 2001 and tied for fourth in
number of 2001 bowl opponents on the 2002 schedule.
Clemson has had some difficult schedules under Tommy Bowden.
The 1999 schedule is listed as the 10th toughest in the nation
according to the 2002 NCAA Record Book. In 2001, Clemson had five
wins over teams with winning records, one off the Clemson single
Most Difficult Schedules of 2002
Based on 2002 Opponents Who Played in 2001 Bowls
Rk Team 2 Games 2001 Bowl Opp
1. Florida State 13 9
Notre Dame 12 9
Virginia 13 9
4. Clemson 12 8
Duke 12 8
Iowa State 13 8
Missouri 12 8
Texas 12 8
Wake Forest 12 8
Based on 2002 Opponents who had 2001 Winning Record
Rk Team Games Winning Opp
1. Florida State 13 10
Virginia 13 10
3. Clemson 12 9
Alabama 13 9
Duke 12 9
Florida 12 9
Vanderbilt 12 9
Hunt Has High Percentage
David Treadwell was inducted into the Clemson athletic Hall
of Fame four years ago and a big reason for his induction was his
performance against Georgia. Treadwell kicked a pair of game winning
field goals with two seconds to go or less, giving Clemson victories
over top 20 Georgia teams.
Aaron Hunt hopes he can have similar success against the
Bulldogs and continue Clemson's tradition of outstanding
placekicking. All Hunt needs to do is pick up where he left off last
season. A year ago, Hunt made 10-12 field goals, .833, and connected
on 44-45 extra points. His only PAT miss was from 35 yards out after
a Clemson player was charged with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty
on a Tiger touchdown.
That means Hunt kicked the ball 57 times last year and it
went through the uprights 54 times. He was most impressive from 40
yards or more as he hit 5-5 from that distance, after failing to
connect from over 40 yards as a freshman. Hunt made five of his last
six in 2000, including the game winner against South Carolina with
three seconds left, and is now 15 of his last 18 over two years. He
has continued his fine work in the spring and prefall. He made a
52-yard field goal in the spring game and consistently connected from
40 yards or more in scrimmages this fall.
First of Four Appearances on ESPN for Tigers
The Clemson vs. Georgia game will be the first of four
appearances for the Tigers on ESPN during the regular season. This
will be the most live regular season appearances on ESPN for Clemson.
Clemson has been on ESPN four times in a season in 1989, 1997
and 1999, but each of those seasons included a bowl game appearance
on the world's top sports network. Clemson was 4-0 in games on ESPN
in 1989, 1-3 in 1997 and 0-4 in 1999.
Clemson is 13-21 in live broadcasts on ESPN over the years,
but won its last outing on the network, the 49-24 win over Louisiana
Tech in the Humanitarian Bowl. Clemson has played 24 games on a
tape delayed basis on ESPN, all between 1979 and 1984. Clemson was
15-8-1 in those games. Thus, Clemson's all-time record on ESPN is
In addition to the Georgia game, the Clemson vs. Georgia Tech
game will be shown on ESPN-2 on September 14th. The Clemson vs.
Florida State game (Oct. 3) and Clemson vs. NC State game (Oct. 24)
will be part of the ESPN Thursday night package.
Clemson Depth Chart Breakdown
Clemson has balance across its depth chart from a class
standpoint. Of the top 44 players on the two-deep (not including
punters and kickers), the Tigers have 14 seniors, 12 juniors, 13
sophomores and five freshmen. As far as starters are concerned,
Clemson has 10 seniors, seven juniors, five sophomores and no
Offensively, Clemson starts just four seniors, but the Tigers
have six seniors starting on defense. Last year, 35 of its top 44
players were underclassmen. Only Duke had more.
Leake Leads Defense
The top returning tackler on the Clemson defense is junior
John Leake. The native of Plano, TX had 134 tackles last year, an
increase of 125 stops over his freshman year. Leake never played a
snap on defense as a freshman, then played 687 last year when he
ranked second for the course of the season behind the now graduated
Leake is ranked 23rd in the nation among linebackers by The
Sporting News in its preseason publication. He ranked 11th in the
ACC in tackles per game last year and led the team in tackles in five
of the 12 games. He had a season high 19 tackles in the win over
Georgia Tech in Atlanta.
Leake has football in his blood. His father played for
Wyoming as a wide receiver in the 1960s.
Mance/Hamilton Kick Return Combo
Clemson should have an outstanding specials teams this year.
Clemson returns its starting punter (Wynn Kopp) and placekicker
(Aaron Hunt) from last year, the first time that has been the case
since Tommy Bowden has been the head coach.
Clemson should also be outstanding in the return game. Two
returning players, senior Brian Mance, and sophomore Derrick
Hamilton, have ranked in the top 30 in the nation in the return game.
Last year Clemson ranked 10th in the nation in kickoff returns.
Hamilton was third individually with an ACC best 31.7 yard average.
Mance was 26th in the nation with a 23.5 average on 25 returns.
Mance also has experience returning punts. He averaged 12.5
yards per punt return last year, 30th in the nation and second in the
ACC. Mance was the only ACC player to rank in the top five in the
conference in punt returns and kickoff returns last year.
Bowden Offenses Among Best in Clemson History
Clemson Head Coach Tommy Bowden came to Clemson with the
reputation of producing big numbers on offense. His Tulane team of
1998 averaged over 500 yards of total offense per game and was the
only squad in the nation to average at least 300 yards passing and
His offensive numbers have not been quite as striking at
Clemson, but they have been noteworthy. Here is a list of the Bowden
offensive stats as they relate to Clemson history in his three years
*3 of the top 4 completion totals in Clemson history
*The top 3 passing yardage single season figures
*The top three seasons in terms of passing yards/game
Clemson Offense Averages 424.5 Yards Under Bowden
Clemson has a 22-14 record under Tommy Bowden and a
consistent balanced offense has been a big reason. Over the his
three years he has been the head coach the Tigers have averaged 424.5
yards per game in total offense.
Clemson has gained an average of 189 rushing and 235 passing over the
36 games. In an average game under Bowden the Tigers have averaged
30.8 points a game and scored four touchdowns. On average, the
Tigers run the ball 44.6 times and throw it 32 times under Bowden.
Clemson has scored 146 touchdowns in the 36 games, nearly four per
game. Twenty-one of the 36 games Clemson has had at least 400 yards
of total offense.
Clemson Offense in the Tommy Bowden Era
(Figures are for 36 games)
Category Total Per Game
Points 1107 30.8
Touchdowns 146 4.06
First Downs 817 22.69
Rushing Att 1606 44.61
Rushing Yards 6827 189.6
Pass Attempts 1158 32.2
Pass Comp 658 18.3
Passing Yards 8456 234.9
Completion % .568 .568
Plays 2764 76.8
Total Offense 15,283 424.5
Record 22-14 .611
Clemson Assistant Coaches Have Bowl Experience
Clemson's nine current assistant coaches and head coach
Tommy Bowden have coached in a combined 81 bowl games. Of the
current staff, Rick Stockstill has coached in the most bowl games
with the Tigers, as the 2001 Humanitarian Bowl was his 10th as a
Clemson assistant. Brad Scott leads the way in total bowl games
coached with 15 between his time at Clemson, Florida State and South
Two Clemson assistants have served as head coaches in bowl
games. Scott led South Carolina to its first bowl win in history
when he defeated West Virginia in the 1994 Carquest Bowl. Mike
O'Cain, hired as Clemson's quarterbacks coach in December of 2000,
served as NC State's head coach in three bowl games.
As you can see by the list below, eight of the 10 coaches on
this staff have been together all three years of the Bowden era.
Mike O'Cain has coached in two of the three bowl games. John Lovett
is the only newcomer to the staff this year.
Name Position Player CU Bowl Overall
Tommy Bowden Head Coach 1 3 11
Rodney Allison Defensive Ends 3 3 8
Burton Burns Running Backs 3 3 4
Jack Hines Linebackers 1 3 8
John Lovett Defensive Backs 0 0 5
Mike O'Cain Quarterbacks 0 2 @10
Brad Scott Tight Ends 0 3 *15
Thielen Smith Defensive Line 2 3 5
Rick Stockstill Wide Receivers 3 10 10
Ron West Offensive Line 2 3 5
Totals 15 30 81
*Includes one bowl (win) as head coach of South Carolina
@Includes three games as head coach at NC State
Overall is total as a coach only
Clemson Personnel Notes for 2002
Clemson has four players returning for 2002 who lettered in
2000, but did not play in 2001. All four players should have an
impact on the success of the 2002 season. That is why there is a
disparity between lettermen returning who played last year (46) and
the total number of lettermen returning (50). The four players
returning are Kevin Youngblood, Altroy Bodrick, Ronnie Thomas and
*Kevin Youngblood-missed all of last season due to a broken
leg suffered in preseason practice. Was going to be a starting wide
receiver replacing first round draft choice Rod Gardner. Youngblood
had 13 catches for 225 yards and two scores in 2000 as a backup to
Gardner. The 17.3 yards per catch led the team. Red-shirted the
2001 season, but returns in 2002.
*Roscoe Crosby-Had "Tommy John Surgery" this past summer and
will miss the entire 2002 season. Crosby played with the injury last
year as a freshman when he caught 29 passes, but needed the surgery
to continue his professional baseball career. He is in class at
Clemson this semester and is expected to return to play football for
the 2003 Tigers as a red-shirt sophomore.
*Altroy Bodrick-Slated to be a starting linebacker in 2001
until he suffered a torn ACL in preseason practice. Will move to
strong safety this year. Has played 29 games, five as a starter and
had 86 career tackles entering his fifth year. Red-shirted 2001 and
returns in 2002.
*Yusef Kelly-Lettered as a reserve running back as a
first-year freshman in 2000. Had 49-243 rushing and two scores, he
had a 4.9 average. He red-shirted last year, but returns in 2001.
Has changed his first name from Keith to Yusef. Yusef is his birth
*Ronnie Thomas-Lettered as a reserve wide receiver as a
first-year freshman in 2000. Had one reception. Was red-shirted in
2001. Suffered a wrist injury in the summer but has returned and
will play vs. Georgia.
*Marcus Houskin-Lettered as a strong safety last year.
Suffered a broken neck against Virginia and was lost for the season.
Has returned to school, but will not play football.
*Todd McClinton-Lettered as a reserve tight end in 2001.
Moved to defensive line in spring of 2002.
*Mark Jetton-Red-shirted last season as a defensive lineman.
Moved to offensive guard in the Spring of 2002.
*Jermyn Chester-Saw action as a reserve center and guard in
2001. Moved to center and is listed as the starter for the 2002
*Jeff Scott-Reserve wide receiver and starting holder. Had
been listed as a red-shirt sophomore last year, but has decided this
will be his final year of football. Will graduate in May of 2003 and
is now listed as a senior.
John Lovett New Clemson Defensive Coordinator
John Lovett, defensive coordinator at Auburn for the last three
seasons, was named Defensive Coordinator at Clemson last spring.
Lovett has been an assistant coach at the college level for 23 years,
including 13 seasons as a defensive coordinator. He has experience
working with all levels of the defense, but has spent most of his
seasons in the game coaching the secondary and outside linebacker
position. Lovett is coaching the secondary at Clemson. Jack Hines,
who coached the secondary at Clemson the last three years, has
moved to the linebackers.
Lovett helped Auburn to bowl games each of the last two
years. His 2000 defense ranked 14th in the nation in total defense
and 15th in rushing defense, helping the Tigers to a 9-4 record and a
berth in the Citrus Bowl against Michigan. Auburn won the Western
Division of the Southeastern Conference that season.
In 2001, his defense had a lot to do with Auburn's berth in the Peach
Bowl. One of Auburn's victories was a 23-20 triumph over then #1
ranked Florida. Lovett's defense held Florida to 20 points, -36
yards rushing and 328 yards of total offense, season lows in all
three categories for Steve Spurrier's team that finished the season
ranked third in the nation. The Tigers also forced five turnovers
in the game, including four interceptions of passes thrown by Heisman
Trophy finalist Rex Grossman. Lovett's defense also held Georgia's
high powered attack to but 17 points in a 24-17 Auburn triumph. The 51-year-old coach, who was born in Nyack, NY, worked under Tommy
Tuberville, the last seven years, four at Mississippi (1995-98) and
three at Auburn (1999-01). He coached the secondary all four years
he was at Mississippi, including the 1997 season when the Rebels had
an 8-4 record, including a victory in the Ford Motor City Bowl. Prior to coming to Mississippi in 1995, Lovett worked as defensive
coordinator at the University of Maine for two stints. He first went
to Orono in 1985 and served as defensive coordinator and secondary
coach from 1985-88. He also served as defensive coordinator for the
Black Bears in 1994. The 1987 team won the conference championship
and qualified for the Division I-AA playoffs.
Rambert Hopes to Start as he Finished
While this will be the first start for quarterback Willie
Simmons, it will be just the fourth start for running back Bernard
Rambert. The senior has been the backup to Travis Zachery each of
the last three years, but will get his chance in his final season.
Rambert has played 618 snaps in his career over 29 games and
has three starts to his credit, all last season. Rambert has been
outstanding when called on, especially as a starter. In his three
previous starts combined, Rambert has 32 carries for 186 yards and
two touchdowns. That computes to a 5.8 average per carry. He has a
3.9 average when he comes off the bench.
Rambert hopes to continue where he left off last year.
Zachery was suspended for the Humanitarian Bowl game against
Louisiana Tech and he responded with 101 yards rushing and 77 yards
receiving. It was the most receiving yards in Clemson history for a
player who gained at least 100 yards rushing in the same game. He
scored one touchdown rushing and one receiving in recording 178
all-purpose yards, most in Clemson history in a bowl game.
Both Coaches Have Ties to Florida State
Both head coaches in this Saturday's game at Georgia have
connections to Florida State, but neither played for the Seminoles.
Clemson Head Coach Tommy Bowden is the son of Florida State Head
Coach Bobby Bowden and served as an assistant for the sports second
winningest Division I coach in 1978-79, 1981-82. He also played
for his father at West Virginia in 1973-75.
Georgia Coach Mark Richt, a graduate of the University of
Miami, served as a graduate assistant coach at Florida State from
1985-86, was a volunteer coach in 1987-88 and served as offensive
coordinator from 1994-00. In fact, Richt replaced current Clemson
offensive coordinator Brad Scott, as Florida State's offensive
coordinator when Scott left FSU to become the head coach at South
Carolina. Scott was the offensive coordinator of Florida State's
1993 National Championship team and Richt was the coordinator of the
Seminoles 1999 National Championship team.
Eason Back to Practice
A week ago the status of Clemson starting defensive tackle Nick Eason
was questionable. On Thursday, August 15, Eason reported he was
experiencing an irregular heartbeat to Clemson's medical staff at the
end of the second practice. Eason missed both practices on Friday the
16th to begin tests. He had extensive tests and all the results
The severity of the tests forced Eason to miss a week of practice,
but he returned to 100 percent participation on Saturday the 24th
and should be ready for the Georgia game. "Nick has missed a lot of
work, but I am not worried about him for the first game," said
Bowden. "He is experienced and knows our system. He is a team
leader and makes a difference at practice. We are glad to have him
Eason has had to battle injury problems since December of 2000 when
he suffered a torn Achilles tendon during practice for the Gator Bowl
game with Virginia Tech. He did not miss a game during the 2001
season, but was limited by a sprained ankle much of the season. He
played just five snaps against Virginia and at NC State. For his
career he has played 35 games, 23 as a starter. He has 91 career
tackles, including 21 tackles for loss and eight sacks.
Eason already has his undergraduate degree in sociology and
is currently working on his master's degree in human resource
development. He was named to the American Football Coaches
Association Goodworks team in 2001, one of just 11 players from
across the nation selected. He has been named a Top Six Award
recipient by the ACC for his community service activities, the only
four-time recipient of that award from Clemson.
Some Tigers using New Helmet
The latest in equipment use in football at all levels is the
Revolution Helmet manufactured by Riddell. Many Clemson players
have switched to the new helmet for this season and Clemson equipment
personnel estimate 30 players are using it this year. Many of the
players are first-year freshmen.
Among the veterans using the helmet are starting outside
linebacker Khaleed Vaughn, starting middle linebacker and top
returning tackler John Leake, and running backs Yusef Kelley, Chad
Jasmin and Tye Hill. Linebacker David Dunham was troubled by a
concussion early in preseason and switched to the Revolution. He has
not had problems since.
The helmet is the result of five years of research conducted
by the NFL, who concluded that 70 percent of concussions result from
hits to the side of the head. The sides of the new helmet extend
farther down toward the chin, creating a firm shell along the jaw
The top competition for a starting position in the preseason
has been at one of the cornerback slots where Toure Francis
(pronounced TOO-Ray) has been in a battle with returning starter
Kevin Johnson. The two juniors have gone back and forth between
first team and second team all fall.
It would be quite an accomplishment if Francis can secure a
starting position because he is a walk-on. No Clemson original
walk-on defensive player has held a starting position over the course
of a season since 1991 when Rob Bodine started at middle guard.
Bodine came to Clemson as a walk-on but was on scholarship by the
1991 season. In fact he led the nation in tackles for loss and was a
first-team All-American that year.
The last original walk-on defensive back to start over the
course of a season was A.J. Johnson who started all 12 games at free
safety in 1985.
The last walk-on defensive back to earn all-conference
honors was Steve Ryan, a two-time All-ACC choice in 1977 and 1978.
Ryan wore #26, the same number worn by Francis.
Francis is not exactly coming out of nowhere. He started
three games and played in all 12 last year at cornerback. He had 37
tackles and two interceptions, plus three pass deflections. For his
career he has played in 24 games and has 47 tackles.
Currie All-American on the Track
Sophomore wide receiver Airese Currie had a solid freshman
season on the gridiron. The native of Columbia, SC and Richland
Northeast High School played in all 12 games, three as a starter and
had 18 catches for 320 yards, a 17.8 average. That 17.8 average was
a Clemson record for a freshman. He had one touchdown receiving and
one rushing, a 19-yard run for a score on a "Panther Play" against
Louisiana Tech in the Humanitarian Bowl.
While Currie had a good year on the gridiron he was even
better on the track where he made All-American. Currie was a member
of Clemson's 4X100 relay team that finished second in the nation at
the NCAA Outdoor Championships at Baton Rouge, LA. He also had a
strong year individually and finished sixth at the ACC Championships
in the 100 meters.
Currie hopes to follow in the footsteps of Clemson Hall of
Fame athlete James Trapp, who was an NCAA Champion in track and still
continues to play in the NFL for the Baltmore Ravens. Trapp won a
Super Bowl Championship Ring two years ago and has been in the NFL
since the 1993 season.
Clemson has 15 different sets of football players who went to
the same high school or junior college. The list includes three
schools that have sent Clemson three players apiece.
Orangeburg-Wilkinson, the high school that sent 2001 senior Woody
Dantzler to Clemson, still has three representatives on the current
Clemson team in Ryan Hemby, Kevin Johnson and Jackie Robinson. Shanks High School in Quincy, FL sent the Tigers Willie Simmons and
Ronnie Thomas in the 1999 recruiting class and has since added
defensive back Charles Harper. Fork Union Prep has sent Clemson
Eric Coleman, Maurice Fountain and Gaines Adams. Fountain was a high
school teammate of wide receiver Kelvin Grant. The only brother
combination on the list is the Vaughn brothers, Khaleed and Nigel,
who both played at North Atlanta High in Atlanta, GA.
Clemson players who played together in high school or prep school
High School City, State Players
C.A. Johnson Columbia, SC Eugene Koon, Todd McClinton
Camden Camden, SC Maurice Fountain, Kelvin Grant
Easley Easley, SC Eric Meekins, Josh Smith
Fairfield Central Fairfield, SC Charles Bennett, Altroy Bodrick
Fork Union Prep Fork Union, VA Eric Coleman, Maurice Fountain, Gaines Adams
James Island Charleston, SC Ryan Charpia, Tony Elliott
Lexington Lexington, SC Fletcher Anderson, Phillip Dieckmann
Manning Manning, SC Brian Mance, Travis Pugh
North Atlanta Atlanta, GA Khaleed Vaughn, Nigel Vaughn
Orangeburg-Wilkinson Orangeburg, SC Ryan Hemby, Kevin Johnson,
Richland Northeast Columbia, SC Airese Currie, Toure Francis
Shanks Quincy, FL Charles Harper, Willie Simmons, Ronnie Thomas
Summerville Summerville, SC Dustin Fry, Bernard Rambert
SW Miss. CC Summit, MS Brandon Jamison, Kelvin Morris
Union Union, SC Kyle Browning, Roscoe Crosby
Clemson Season Openers vs. Ranked Teams
*3 of the top four completion percentage figures
*2 of the top 3 yards per play figures, and top two since 1950
*3 of the top 5 total offense per game figures
*3 of the top 4 first downs/game figures
* 2 of the top 7 scoring teams in school history
Francis Could be Walk-on Starter