CLEMSON FOOTBALL

Clemson's D-line group has been impressive.
Clemson's D-line group has been impressive.

Clemson lands on multiple ESPN 'Position U' rankings


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ESPN took a second crack at ranking the best schools in producing talent by position and Clemson landed spots in the lists for wide receiver, defensive line and linebacker.

This ranking goes back to 1998 and the BCS era, so the Tigers are a little lower at some positions but with an arrow pointing up. They measured data for players drafted and success at the pro level, as well as conference and All-America honors at the college level.

Clemson's highest ranking is No. 4 on the defensive line, only trailing Florida State, Alabama and Ohio State and ahead of Penn State in the top-5.

"The margin between Florida State and Alabama at the top of our rankings is razor thin, with just a fraction of a point separating them," ESPN's David Hale writes. "Even behind the Seminoles and the Tide, however, it's a close call, with the top five all essentially within shouting distance. Clemson has had 13 defensive linemen drafted since 2012 and leads all of FBS with 384 sacks in the past decade."

The Tigers rank No. 9 on the linebacker list and No. 10 at wide receiver -- but tabbed as being "next" there.

"Rod Gardner was a first-round pick out of Clemson in 2001," Hale said, "but aside from that, the NFL track record was a bit spotty until Dabo Swinney overhauled the offense in 2011. Since then, Clemson has churned out top-tier receivers annually, with DeAndre Hopkins, Sammy Watkins, Martavis Bryant, Mike Williams and Tee Higgins among the nine receivers drafted in the past eight years (to go with six former ESPN 300 recruits on the current roster)."

Clemson is also on the "next" list for quarterback, with Deshaun Watson on an All-Pro level already, Trevor Lawrence a projected No. 1 pick for 2021 and another 5-star waiting in the wings with DJ Uiagalelei.

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