Clemson Tigers football
2024 Clemson Tigers football team
First season1896; 128 years ago
Athletic directorGraham Neff
Head coachDabo Swinney
15th season, 170–40 (.810)
StadiumMemorial Stadium
(capacity: 82,000)
FieldFrank Howard Field
Year built1942
Field surfaceNatural Grass
LocationClemson, South Carolina
NCAA divisionDivision I FBS
ConferenceAtlantic Coast Conference
Past conferencesSouthern Intercollegiate Athletic Association (SIAA) (1896–1921)
Southern Conference (SoCon) (1921–1952)
All-time record798–472–45 (.624)
Bowl record27–23 (.540)
Playoff appearances6 (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020)
Playoff record6–4 (.600)
Claimed national titles3 (1981, 2016, 2018)
National finalist4 (2015, 2016, 2018, 2019)
Conference titles27 (21 ACC, 4 SIAA, 2 SoCon)
Division titles9
RivalriesAlabama (rivalry)
Auburn (rivalry)
Florida State (rivalry)
Georgia (rivalry)
Georgia Tech (rivalry)
NC State (rivalry)
South Carolina (rivalry)
Consensus All-Americans31
Current uniform
ColorsOrange and regalia[1]
   
Fight songTiger Rag
MascotThe Tiger
Marching bandClemson University Tiger Band
OutfitterNike
Websiteclemsontigers.com

The Clemson Tigers are the American football team at Clemson University. The Tigers compete in the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). In recent years, the Tigers have been ranked among the most elite college football programs in the United States.[2][3][4]

Formed in 1896, the program has an all-time record of 790–466–44, with a bowl record of 28–22. Clemson was a College Football Playoff finalist in 2015, 2016, 2018, and 2019, defeating Alabama in both 2016 and 2018 to secure the national title. Clemson has had six undefeated seasons (including the first-ever 15–0 team), boasted six consecutive playoff appearances from 2015 to 2021, and retains 27 conference championships, including 8 since 2011. Its alumni includes over 100 All-Americans, 17 Academic All-Americans and over 250 players in the National Football League.[5][6] Clemson has had eight members inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame: players Banks McFadden, Terry Kinard, Jeff Davis, and C. J. Spiller along with coaches John Heisman, Jess Neely, Frank Howard, and Danny Ford.

Clemson is one of the founding members of the ACC and holds 21 ACC titles, the most of any member. Its 27 total conference titles, including six consecutive ACC titles from 2015 to 2020, are the most of any ACC school. Clemson's most recent ACC title came in 2022, against North Carolina. Clemson's streak of eleven consecutive 10-win seasons ranks second in active streaks behind the Alabama Crimson Tide.[7][8] Among its eight undefeated regular seasons, Clemson was crowned poll-era national champions and finished with its third perfect season with a win over Nebraska in the 1982 Orange Bowl, and was the National Championship Finalist Runner-up with a 14–1 record in 2015. The following season, Clemson won the National Title over No. 1 Alabama in college football's first National Championship rematch in 2016, and again in 2018. The Tigers have 46 bowl appearances, 20 of which are among the New Year's Six Bowls, including nine during the "Big Four" era. Clemson has 34 finishes in the final top 25 in the modern era and it finished in either the Associated Press final poll or the coaches' final poll a combined 59 times since 1939.

The Tigers play their home games in Memorial Stadium on the university's Clemson, South Carolina campus. The stadium's nickname, "Death Valley" was coined in 1948 by Presbyterian College head coach Lonnie McMillan after his teams were routinely defeated there. Memorial Stadium is among the largest stadiums in college football.

History

Main article: History of Clemson Tigers football

See also: List of Clemson Tigers football seasons

Walter Riggs, the "father of Clemson football"

Walter Riggs, often regarded as the "father of Clemson football," brought the sport to Clemson from the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Alabama (now Auburn University). The team's first game, played on Halloween 1896, resulted in a 2–1 record for the inaugural season. Riggs influenced the choice of the team mascot and colors. The Tigers’ early success included their first undefeated season in 1900 under coach John W. Heisman, who led the team to a 19–3–2 record. Heisman’s coaching set a precedent for excellence and innovation.

During the mid-20th century, the program experienced substantial growth under Frank Howard, who coached from 1940 to 1969. Howard's tenure saw Clemson win two Southern Conference championships and six ACC championships. Known for his colorful personality and imaginative storytelling, Howard integrated various offensive formations. His legacy includes the tradition of rubbing "Howard's Rock" before home games and the naming of the playing field at Memorial Stadium as "Frank Howard Field" in 1974.

The late 20th century and early 21st century saw the football program navigate through challenges and successes under multiple head coaches. Danny Ford led the Tigers to their first national championship in 1981, achieving an undefeated season. Ford's era was marked by NCAA sanctions due to recruiting violations, which impacted the program's reputation and success. Ken Hatfield, Ford’s successor, focused on cleaning up the program's image but faced criticism from fans, leading to his resignation. Subsequent coaches, including Tommy West, struggled to achieve consistent success until the hiring of Tommy Bowden in 1999, who maintained bowl eligibility every season, but failed to secure an ACC championship.

Coach Dabo Swinney

The modern era is defined by the leadership of Dabo Swinney, who became head coach in 2008. Swinney revitalized the program, leading the Tigers to multiple ACC championships and two national titles in 2016 and 2018. His tenure has been characterized by significant achievements, including the establishment of Clemson as a perennial contender in the College Football Playoff. Swinney’s ability to recruit and develop talent, combined with strategic hires like offensive coordinator Chad Morris and defensive coordinator Brent Venables, has sustained Clemson’s success. Notably, under Swinney, Clemson became the first team since 1897 to finish a season 15–0. In 2022, Clemson defeated Syracuse 27–21, extending the Tigers' home winning streak to 38, a new ACC record.

Conference affiliations

Championships

National championships

Clemson claims three national championships. In 1981 they finished as the only undefeated team with a 22–15 victory over the No. 4 Nebraska Cornhuskers in the 1982 Orange Bowl, and were named the national champions[9] by all major four consensus selectors [10] (AP, Coaches, FWAA, and NFF). In 2016 and 2018 they won the College Football Playoff, defeating Alabama in the CFP National Championship Game both times.

Year Coach Selector Record Bowl Final AP Final Coaches
1981 Danny Ford AP, Coaches, FWAA, NFF 12–0 Won Orange Bowl No. 1 No. 1
2016 Dabo Swinney College Football Playoff †† 14–1 Won Fiesta Bowl (CFP Semifinal)
Won CFP National Championship Game
No. 1 No. 1
2018 College Football Playoff ††† 15–0 Won Cotton Bowl (CFP Semifinal)
Won CFP National Championship Game
No. 1 No. 1

† Other consensus selectors for 1981 included Berryman, Billingsley, DeVold, FACT, FB News, Football Research, Helms, Litkenhous, Matthews, National Championship Foundation, New York Times, Poling, Sagarin, and Sporting News[11]
†† Other consensus selectors for 2016 include A&H, AP, BR, CCR, CFRA, DuS, FWAA/NFF, MCFR, SR, USAT/AMWAY (Coaches), W
††† Other consensus selectors for 2018 include A&H, AP, BR, CCR, CFRA, CM, DuS, FWAA/NFF, MCFR, SR, USAT/AMWAY (Coaches), W

Conference championships

Clemson won the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association in 1900 and 1902 (tied 1903 and 1906) along with the Southern Conference title in 1940 and 1948.[12] Their 21 ACC titles (19 outright, 2 tied) are the most ACC football championships.[citation needed][when?] In 1965, South Carolina violated participation rules relating to two ineligible players and was required to forfeit wins against North Carolina State and Clemson.[13] North Carolina State and Clemson were then declared co-champions.[14]

Year Coach Conference Overall record Conference record
1900 John Heisman Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association 6–0 4–0
1902 6–1 6–0
1903 4–1–1 2–0–1
1906 Bob Williams 4–0–3 4–0
1940 Frank Howard Southern Conference 6–2–1 4–0
1948 11–0 5–0
1956 Atlantic Coast Conference 7–2–2 4–0–1
1958 8–3 5–1
1959 9–2 6–1
1965 5–5 5–2
1966 6–4 6–1
1967 6–4 6–0
1978 Charley Pell 11–1 6–0
1981 Danny Ford 12–0 6–0
1982 9–1–1 6–0
1986 8–2–2 5–1–1
1987 10–2 6–1
1988 10–2 6–1
1991 Ken Hatfield 9–2–1 6–0–1
2011 Dabo Swinney 10–4 6–2
2015 14–1 8–0
2016 14–1 8–0
2017 12–2 7–1
2018 15–0 8–0
2019 14–1 8–0
2020 10–2 8–1
2022 11–3 8–0

† Co-champions

Division championships

In 2005, the Atlantic Coast Conference divided into two divisions of six teams each and began holding an ACC Championship Game at the conclusion of the regular football season to determine the conference champion. Clemson won its first outright ACC Atlantic Division championship in 2009. In 2012 and 2016, Clemson was co-champion of the Atlantic Division. On August 18, 2011, Georgia Tech vacated their 2009 ACC Championship Game victory over Clemson due to NCAA violations. The game is considered by the NCAA and ACC to have no winner.[15]

Year Coach Division championship Opponent CG result
2009 Dabo Swinney ACC Atlantic Georgia Tech L 34–39 (vacated)
2011 Virginia Tech W 38–10
2015 North Carolina W 45–37
2016 Virginia Tech W 42–35
2017 Miami W 38–3
2018 Pittsburgh W 42–10
2019 Virginia W 62–17
2022 North Carolina W 39–10

Playoffs

Clemson was selected as the one seed in the second College Football Playoff and defeated the fourth seed Oklahoma on December 31, 2015, in the 2015 Orange Bowl. They lost to the Alabama Crimson Tide in the championship game on January 11, 2016. Clemson was selected to the third College Football Playoff as the second seed and defeated the third seed Ohio State on December 31, 2016, in the 2016 PlayStation Fiesta Bowl. The Tigers defeated the Alabama Crimson Tide in the national championship games in both 2017 and 2019. Clemson has a 6–4 record in playoff games through the 2019 season.

Year Seed Opponent Round Result Notes
2015 1 No. 4 Oklahoma Semi-finals – Orange Bowl W 37–17 notes
No. 2 Alabama Final – CFP National Championship Game L 40–45 notes
2016 2 No. 3 Ohio State Semi-finals – Fiesta Bowl W 31–0 notes
No. 1 Alabama Final – CFP National Championship Game W 35–31 notes
2017 1 No. 4 Alabama Semi-finals – Sugar Bowl L 6–24 notes
2018 2 No. 3 Notre Dame Semi-finals – Cotton Bowl W 30–3 notes
No. 1 Alabama Final – CFP National Championship Game W 44–16 notes
2019 3 No. 2 Ohio State Semi-finals – Fiesta Bowl W 29–23 notes
No. 1 LSU Final – CFP National Championship Game L 25–42 notes
2020 2 No. 3 Ohio State Semi-finals – Sugar Bowl L 28–49 notes

National polls

Clemson has ended their football season ranked 32 times in either the AP or Coaches Poll.[16]

Clemson currently has 11 consecutive 10-win seasons from 2011 to 2021. It is the 2nd longest active streak behind Alabama with 12.[16]

Year Record AP Poll† Coaches‡ Harris
1939 9–1–0 12
1948 11–0–0 11
1950 9–0–1 10 12
1951 7–3–0 20
1956 7–2–2 19
1957 7–3–0 18
1958 8–3–0 12 13
1959 9–2–0 11 11
1977 8–3–1 19
1978 11–1–0 6 7
1981 12–0–0 1 1
1982 9–1–1 8
1983 9–1–1 11
1986 8–2–2 17 19
1987 10–2–0 12 10
1988 10–2–0 9 8
1989 10–2–0 12 11
1990 10–2–0 9 9
1991 9–2–1 18 17
1993 9–3–0 23 22
2000 9–3 16 14
2003 9–4 22 22
2005 8–4 21 21 23
2007 9–4 21 22 16
2009 9–5 24
2011 10–4 22 22 14
2012 11–2 11 9 13
2013 11–2 8 7 11
2014 10–3 15 15
2015 14–1 2 2
2016 14–1 1 1
2017 12–2 4 4
2018 15–0 1 1
2019 14–1 2 2
2020 10–2 3 3
2021 10–3 14 16

AP Poll began selecting the nation's Top 20 teams in 1936. Only the Top 10 teams were recognized from 1962 to 1967. The AP Poll expanded back to the Top 20 teams in 1968. In 1989, it began recognizing the Top 25 teams.


UPI/Coaches Poll began selecting its Top 20 teams on a weekly basis in 1950 before expanding to the nation's Top 25 teams in 1990.

Bowl games

Main article: List of Clemson Tigers bowl games

Clemson holds a 27–23 record in bowl games through the 2022 season.[17] This is a list of Clemson's 16 most recent bowl games over the last 10 years.

Season Coach Bowl Date Opponent Result
2010 Dabo Swinney Meineke Car Care Bowl December 31, 2010 South Florida L 26–31
2011 Dabo Swinney Orange Bowl January 4, 2012 West Virginia L 33–70
2012 Dabo Swinney Chick-fil-A Bowl December 31, 2012 LSU W 25–24
2013 Dabo Swinney Orange Bowl January 3, 2014 Ohio State W 40–35
2014 Dabo Swinney Russell Athletic Bowl December 29, 2014 Oklahoma W 40–6
2015 Dabo Swinney Orange Bowl December 31, 2015 Oklahoma W 37–17
2015 Dabo Swinney 2016 CFP National Championship January 11, 2016 Alabama L 40–45
2016 Dabo Swinney Fiesta Bowl December 31, 2016 Ohio State W 31–0
2016 Dabo Swinney 2017 CFP National Championship January 9, 2017 Alabama W 35–31
2017 Dabo Swinney Sugar Bowl January 1, 2018 Alabama L 6–24
2018 Dabo Swinney Cotton Bowl December 29, 2018 Notre Dame W 30–3
2018 Dabo Swinney 2019 CFP National Championship January 7, 2019 Alabama W 44–16
2019 Dabo Swinney Fiesta Bowl December 28, 2019 Ohio State W 29–23
2019 Dabo Swinney 2020 CFP National Championship January 13, 2020 LSU L 25–42
2020 Dabo Swinney Sugar Bowl January 1, 2021 Ohio State L 28–49
2021 Dabo Swinney Cheez-It Bowl December 29, 2021 Iowa State W 20–13
2022 Dabo Swinney Orange Bowl December 30, 2022 Tennessee L 14–31
2023 Dabo Swinney Gator Bowl December 29, 2023 Kentucky W 38–35

Head coaches

Main article: List of Clemson Tigers head football coaches

Tenure Coach Years Record Pct.
1896–1899 Walter M Riggs 2 6–3 .667
1897 William M. Williams 1 2–2 .500
1898 John A. Penton 1 3–1 .750
1900–1903 John W. Heisman 4 19–3–2 .833
1904 Shack Shealy 1 3–3–1 .500
1905 Edward B. "Eddie" Cochems 1 3–2–1 .583
1906–1915 Bob Williams 5 22–14–6 .595
1907 Frank J. Shaughnessy 1 4–4–0 .500
1908 Stein Stone 1 1–6–0 .143
1910–1912 Frank M. Dobson 3 11–12–1 .479
1916 Wayne Hart 1 3–6 .333
1917–1920 Edward A. Donahue 4 21–12–3 .625
1921–1922 Edward J. "Doc" Stewart 2 6–10–2 .389
1923–1926 Bud Saunders 4 10–22–1 .318
1927–1930 Josh C. Cody 4 29–11–1 .720
1931–1939 Jess C. Neely 9 43–35–7 .547
1940–1969 Frank Howard 30 165–118–12 .580
1970–1972 Hootie Ingram 3 12–21 .364
1973–1976 Jimmy "Red" Parker 4 17–25–2 .409
1977–1978 Charley Pell 2 18–4–1 .804
1978–1989 Danny Ford 12 96–29–4 .760
1990–1993 Ken Hatfield 4 32–13–1 .707
1993–1998 Tommy West 6 31–28 .525
1999–2008 Tommy Bowden 10 72–45 .615
2008–current Dabo Swinney 14 169–44 .797

Coaching staff

Clemson Tigers
Name Position Consecutive season at Clemson in current position Previous position
Garrett Riley Offensive coordinator / quarterbacks 1st TCU – Offensive coordinator/ quarterbacks (2021–2022)
Wes Goodwin Defensive coordinator / linebackers 2nd Clemson – Senior defensive assistant (2018–2021)
Mickey Conn Co–defensive coordinator / safeties 2nd Clemson – Safeties / special teams coordinator (2021)
Michael Reed Special teams coordinator / cornerbacks 2nd Clemson – Defensive backs (2013–2021)
Thomas Austin Offensive line 2nd Clemson – Offensive analyst (2021)
Tyler Grisham Wide receivers 4th Clemson – Offensive analyst (20162019)
C. J. Spiller Running backs 3rd Clemson – Graduate intern (2020)
Kyle Richardson Tight ends / passing game coordinator 2nd Clemson – Senior offensive assistant (2016–2021)
Lemanski Hall Defensive ends 6th Clemson – Senior defensive analyst (2017)
Nick Eason Defensive tackles / run game coordinator 2nd Auburn – Defensive line (2021)
Joey Batson Director of football strength & conditioning 27th Furman – Director of strength training (1996)
Reference:[18]

Clemson traditions

As a result, it is now a tradition for the Clemson Army ROTC to protect the Rock for the 24 hours prior to the Clemson-South Carolina game when held in Death Valley. ROTC cadets keep a steady drum cadence around the rock prior to the game, which can be heard across the campus. Part of the tradition comes after unknown parties vandalized the Rock prior to the 1992 South Carolina-Clemson game.[24] On June 2, 2013, Howard's Rock was again vandalized when the case containing it was broken and a portion of the rock was removed by an apparent fan of the Tigers, who was eventually arrested following a police investigation.[25]

Rivalries

Alabama

Main article: Alabama–Clemson football rivalry

The two southern schools have long, decorated histories in the sport of college football.[32] They first met on the football field on November 29, 1900.[33] Clemson won the inaugural matchup by a score of 35–0.[34] The Crimson Tide and Tigers met again in 1904 and 1905, with Clemson winning both games.[35] Beginning with the next meeting between the two squads in 1909, Alabama won the next thirteen matchups against Clemson.[35] The Tide posted the biggest margin of victory in the rivalry in 1931, beating the Tigers by a margin of 74–7.[36][37] In the first seven games of Alabama's 13-game streak, Clemson only score seven total points and was shut out in six of the seven games.[35] After a 56–0 shutout Alabama victory in 1975, the squads didn't meet again until 2008, when they squared off on opening weekend in Atlanta, Georgia.[38] The Tide emerged victorious with a 34–10 victory.[39]

The last four matchups between the squads have had national championship implications and have greatly re-intensified the rivalry. The teams squared off in the 2016 College Football Playoff National Championship in Glendale, Arizona, resulting in Alabama emerging with a thrilling 45–40 victory.[40] The next year, the teams again found themselves doing battle in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship in Tampa, Florida, with Clemson emerging with a last-second 35–31 victory and their first win over the Crimson Tide since 1905.[41] Once again the teams met in the 2018 Sugar Bowl semifinal in New Orleans, Louisiana with a trip to the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship game on the line.[42] Alabama won by a score of 24–6 following two costly Clemson interceptions in the second half.[43] Their most recent meeting was in the 2019 College Football Playoff National Championship. This time, Clemson dismantled the No. 1-ranked Crimson Tide in a 44–16 rout to win its third national title.

Alabama leads the series 14–5 through the 2023 season.[44]

Auburn

Main article: Auburn–Clemson football rivalry

These old rivals (which are often called sister schools) first played in 1899, but until 2010, had not faced each other in the regular season since 1971. Along with snapping a 14-game losing streak to the Tigers of the Plains, Clemson also snapped Auburn's 17-game winning streak coming off of the 2009–2011 seasons after a home-and-home series in the 2010–11 seasons. The Georgia Dome then hosted the Auburn–Clemson rivalry the following year in the 2012 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game. Clemson defeated Auburn 26–19 riding on a 231-yard performance by Andre Ellington. This game was notable due to Sammy Watkins' absence, having been suspended the first two games due to a drug-related arrest in May 2012. Auburn leads the overall series 34–15–2 through the 2018 season.[45]

Boston College

Main article: O'Rourke–McFadden Trophy

The O'Rourke–McFadden Trophy was created in 2008 by the Boston College Gridiron Club to honor the tradition at both schools and to honor the legacy of Charlie O'Rourke and Banks McFadden, who played during the leather helmet era. The club plans to make this an annual presentation. Clemson first met Boston College on the football field in the 1940 Cotton Bowl Classic, the first ever bowl game for the Tigers and Eagles. Over the next 43 years, the teams met a total of 14 times. In 2005, Boston College joined the ACC and the Atlantic Division. Since then, the game has been played on an annual basis with Clemson winning the last 11 meetings. As of 2022 the Tigers lead the series 21–9–2.[46]

Florida State

Main article: Clemson–Florida State football rivalry

Between 1999 and 2007 the ACC Atlantic Division matchup between Clemson and Florida State was referred to as the "Bowden Bowl" to reflect the father-son head coach matchup between Bobby Bowden (Father, FSU) and Tommy Bowden (Son, Clemson). Their first meeting, in 1999, was the first time in Division I-A history that a father and a son met as opposing head coaches in a football game. Bobby Bowden won the first four matchups extending FSU's winning streak over Clemson to 11 dating back to 1992. Since 2003, Clemson is 11–6, including a 26–10 win in Clemson over then-No. 3 FSU. Also during this time the Tigers recorded a 27–20 win in Tallahassee in 2006 which broke a 17-year losing streak in Doak Campbell Stadium. 2007 was the last Bowden Bowl game as Tommy resigned as head coach in October 2008. No. 3 Clemson pulled off a thriller in Tallahassee in 2016, 37–34, over the No. 12-ranked Seminoles. In 2018, No. 2 Clemson defeated Florida State in Tallahassee 59–10, which tied the Seminoles' worst loss margin in history. This marked a 2nd time the Tigers have beaten the Seminoles by more than 17-points. Clemson did it again in 2019, beating FSU 45–14. FSU has defeated Clemson by more than 17-points nine times. The most lopsided contest occurred in 1993, with the FSU squad winning 57–0. As of 2022, Florida State leads the overall series 20–15.[47] Before the dissolution of divisions in ACC Football as of 2023, the annual Clemson-Florida State game often decided which team would represent the Atlantic Division in the ACC Championship. However, under the ACC's new scheduling system, Clemson and Florida State are designated as permanent rivals and will continue to compete for the title every year. Because of the new ACC scheduling system, there is a chance these rivals could face each other a second time in the ACC Championship.

Georgia

Main article: Clemson–Georgia football rivalry

The Bulldogs and the Tigers have played each other 64 times beginning in 1897, with the 64th meeting played in 2014. Clemson's only regular-season losses of the 1978, 1982, and 1991 campaigns all came at the hands of Georgia "between the hedges", whereas Georgia's only regular-season setback during the three years of the Herschel Walker era came in Death Valley during Danny Ford's 1981 national championship run.

During the two programs' simultaneous glory days of the early 1980s, no rivalry in all of college football was more important at the national level.[48] The Bulldogs and Tigers played each other every season from 1973 to 1987, with Scott Woerner's dramatic returns in 1980 and the nine turnovers forced by the Tigers in 1981 effectively settling the eventual national champion. No rivalry of that period was more competitive, as evidenced by the critical 11th-hour field goals kicked by Kevin Butler in 1984 and by David Treadwell more than once later in the decade. Despite blowouts in 1990 by the Tigers and in 1994 and 2003 by the Bulldogs, the series typically has remained very competitive with evenly matched games. Most recently, Georgia defeated Clemson 10–3 in the 2021 Duke's Mayo Classic with neither team scoring an offensive touchdown; Georgia went on to win the national title in 2021. The Bulldogs maintains a 43–18–4 lead in the series.[49]

Georgia Tech

Main article: Clemson–Georgia Tech football rivalry

Clemson's rivalry with Georgia Tech dates to 1898 with the first game being played in Augusta, Georgia.[50] Notably, both programs share the privilege of having John Heisman as a former coach. It was played in Atlanta for 44 of the first 47 match-ups, until Georgia Tech joined the ACC. When the Yellowjackets joined the ACC in 1978, the series moved to a more traditional home-and-home setup beginning with the 1983 game. When the ACC expanded to 12 teams and split into two divisions in 2005, Clemson and Georgia Tech were placed in opposite divisions but were designated permanent cross-divisional rivals so that the series may continue uninterrupted. In the new system without divisions, they remain as such. The two schools are 127 miles apart and connected to each other by Interstate 85. This distance is slightly closer than that between Clemson and traditional rival South Carolina (137 miles). Georgia Tech leads the series 50–35–2 with Clemson winning the last 8 in a row.[51]

NC State

Main article: Textile Bowl

The yearly conference and divisional match-up with NC State is known as the Textile Bowl for the schools' similar missions in research and development for the textile industry in the Carolinas. The first meeting of the two schools occurred in 1899. Clemson has won 18 out of 23 contests since 2000. It is a particularly bitter rivalry amongst fans and students of both schools, even though it is not as competitive as the vitriol would suggest. Clemson holds a 60–30–1 series advantage through the 2023 season. NC State has won 2 out of the last 3 games in the rivalry.[52]

South Carolina

Main article: Clemson–South Carolina rivalry

The Clemson–South Carolina rivalry, which dates back to 1896, is the largest annual sporting event in terms of ticket sales in the state of South Carolina. From 1896 to 1959, the Clemson–South Carolina game was played on the fairgrounds in Columbia, South Carolina and was referred to as "Big Thursday." Beginning in 1960, an alternating-site format was implemented using both teams' home stadiums. The annual game has since been designated "The Palmetto Bowl."[53] The last eight contests between the programs have been nationally televised (4 on ESPN, 4 on ESPN2). Clemson holds a commanding 73–43-4 lead in the series through the 2022 season.[54] It is often considered one of the most heated rivalries in all of college football, on a similar level to the Auburn-Alabama and Ohio State-Michigan rivalries, respectively.[55]

Individual award winners

See also: Clemson Tigers football statistical leaders

College Football Hall of Fame inductees

In 1951, the College Football Hall of Fame opened in South Bend, Indiana. Clemson has had 3 players and 4 former coaches inducted into the Hall of Fame.[56]

Name Years Position Inducted Ref.
John Heisman 1900–1903 Head coach 1954 [57]
Banks McFadden 1937–1939 RB 1959 [58]
Jess Neely 1931–1939 Head coach 1971 [59]
Frank Howard 1940–1969 Head coach 1989 [60]
Terry Kinard 1978–1982 S 2001 [61]
Jeff Davis 1978–1981 LB 2007 [62]
Danny Ford 1978–1989 Head coach 2017 [63][64]
C. J. Spiller 2006–2009 Running back 2021 [65]

Retired numbers

See also: List of NCAA football retired numbers

Clemson Tigers retired numbers
No. Player Pos. Tenure Year retired Ref.
4 Steve Fuller [n 1] 1975–1978 QB 1979 [66]
28 C. J. Spiller [n 2] 2006–2009 RB 2010 [67]
66 Banks McFadden [n 3] 1937–1939 HB 1987 [68]
Notes
  1. ^ No. 4 was brought out of retirement in 2014 to be worn by quarterback Deshaun Watson.[66]
  2. ^ Number 28 was brought out of retirement in 2016 to be worn by running back Tavien Feaster, with Spiller's blessing.[67]
  3. ^ McFadden's has also his #23 retired in Clemson's basketball.[68]

National award winners

National coaching awards

Consensus All-Americans

See also: College Football All-America Team

The NCAA recognizes All-Americans selected by the Associated Press (AP), American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), Football Writers Association of America (FWAA), The Sporting News (TSN), and the Walter Camp Football Foundation (WCFF) to determine if a player is regarded as a Consensus or Unanimous All-American. To be selected a Consensus All-American, a player must be chosen to the first team on at least three of the five official selectors as recognized by the NCAA. If a player is named an All-American by all five organizations, he is recognized as a Unanimous All-America. Clemson players have been honored 28 times as Consensus All-Americans, and 6 times as Unanimous All-Americas.[69][70]

Year(s) Name Number Position
1967 Harry Olszewski 51 G
1974 Bennie Cunningham 85 TE
1979 Jim Stuckey 83 DL
1981 Jeff Davis 45 LB
1981–1982† Terry Kinard 43 DB
1983 William Perry 66 DL
1986 Terrence Flagler 33 RB
1987 David Treadwell 18 PK
1988 Donnell Woolford 20 DB
1990 Stacy Long 67 OL
1991 Jeb Flesch 59 OL
1991 Levon Kirkland 44 LB
1993 Stacy Seegars 79 OL
1997 Anthony Simmons 41 LB
2000 Keith Adams 43 LB
2005 Tye Hill 8 DB
2006† Gaines Adams 93 DL
2009† C. J. Spiller 28 KR/AP
2010† Da'Quan Bowers 93 DL
2011 Dwayne Allen 83 TE
2013–2014 Vic Beasley 3 DL
2015 Deshaun Watson 4 QB
2015 Shaq Lawson 90 DL
2018 Clelin Ferrell 99 DL
2018 Mitch Hyatt 75 OL
2018† Christian Wilkins 42 DL
2019† Isaiah Simmons 11 LB
2019 John Simpson 74 OL
2020 Travis Etienne 9 AP

Unanimous All-American

Atlantic Coast Conference awards

Atlantic Coast Conference 50th Anniversary football team

On July 23, 2002, in celebration of the Atlantic Coast Conference's 50th Anniversary, a 120-member blue ribbon committee selected the Top 50 football players in ACC history. Clemson led all conference schools with the most players selected to the Golden Anniversary team.[71] Each of Clemson's honorees are All-Americans and former NFL players. The nine selectees from Clemson are:

NFL players

Source ESPN[when?]

All-time record vs. current ACC teams

[16][72]

Opponent Won Lost Tied Percentage Streak First meeting Last meeting
Boston College 21 9 2 .688 Won 11 1940 2022
Duke 37 17 1 .682 Lost 1 1934 2023
Florida State 15 21 0 .417 Lost 1 1970 2023
Georgia Tech 35 50 2 .414 Won 8 1898 2022
Louisville 8 0 0 1.000 Won 8 2014 2022
Miami 7 6 0 .538 Won 4 1945 2022
North Carolina 39 19 1 .669 Won 5 1897 2022
North Carolina State 60 29 1 .672 Won 1 1899 2022
Notre Dame 4 2 0 .667 Won 1 1977 2020
Pittsburgh 2 3 0 .400 Lost 1 1977 2021
Syracuse 9 2 0 .818 Won 5 1995 2022
Virginia 40 8 1 .827 Won 5 1955 2020
Virginia Tech 23 12 1 .653 Won 6 1900 2020
Wake Forest 70 17 1 .801 Won 14 1933 2022
Totals 370 195 10 .652

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ACC temporarily added Notre Dame as a member for just the 2020 season. Wins and losses to Notre Dame in 2020 count toward standings and all-time records.

Future non-conference opponents

Announced schedules as of January 3, 2023.[73]

2024 2025 2026 2027 2028 2029 2030
vs Georgia (Aflac Kickoff Game) vs LSU at LSU vs Wofford vs Troy vs Georgia at Georgia
vs Appalachian State vs Troy vs Georgia Southern at South Carolina vs South Carolina at South Carolina vs South Carolina
vs The Citadel vs Furman vs Charleston Southern vs Notre Dame at Notre Dame
vs South Carolina at South Carolina vs South Carolina vs The Citadel
2031 2032 2033 2034 2035 2036 2037
vs Notre Dame at Georgia vs Georgia vs South Carolina vs Oklahoma at Oklahoma at South Carolina
at South Carolina vs South Carolina at South Carolina at Notre Dame at South Carolina vs South Carolina vs Notre Dame

Clemson vs. in-state NCAA Division I teams

School Record Percentage Streak First meeting Last meeting
Coastal Carolina Chanticleers 1–0 1.000 Won 1 2009 2009
Furman Paladins 43–10–4 .789 Won 31 1896 2018
Presbyterian Blue Hose 33–3–4 .875 Won 15 1916 2010
South Carolina Gamecocks 72–43–4 .627 Lost 1 1896 2022
South Carolina State Bulldogs 5–0 1.000 Won 5 2008 2021
The Citadel Bulldogs 33–5–1 .859 Won 18 1909 2020
Wofford Terriers 13–3 .813 Won 6 1896 2019

[16]

Recruiting

This section needs to be updated. Please help update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. (April 2018)

Clemson Tigers Football from Rivals.com[74] team recruitment rankings:

Year National rank Commits
2021 7th 19
2020 2nd 23[75]
2019 9th 28[76]
2018 5th 17
2017 10th 14
2016 8th 22
2015 4th 26
2014 12th 22
2013 13th 23
2012 10th 21
2011 8th 29
2010 19th 23

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Further reading