LB Leroy Hill

2003 Statistics

Coach: Tommy Bowden
38-24, 5 years
2003 Record: 9-4
at Georgia Tech WON 39-3
at Maryland LOST 7-21
at North Carolina State LOST 15-17
at Wake Forest LOST 17-45
at South Carolina WON 63-17
Tennessee WON 27-14

2002 Final Rankings
AP-22, Coaches-22, BCS-UR

2004 Outlook

Clemson began last season with a dark cloud hanging over the program in general and coach Tommy Bowden in particular. The cloud disappeared and the sun broke through when the Tigers defeated daddy Bowden's Seminoles and finished the year by crushing Duke, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Clemson will use that finish - along with 15 returning starters - to begin 2004 with plenty of positive energy rather than waiting for any now-defunct ax to fall on their coach (who received a contract extension).

The Tigers don't have the strength or depth to challenge the powers of the ACC (Miami, Florida State) but could be the best team in the conference north of Florida. They have playmakers on both sides of the ball and special teams, but need to establish a more consistent running game, develop an effective defensive line, and find a reliable place kicker. This may render them to a second tier in the ACC, but they play a daunting schedule and challenge themselves constantly with Bowden at the helm. This is the classic formula of how his father, and others, have made such "five-to-ten year plans" that eventually create long-running powerhouses to ultimately establish recruiting bases for years to come. Tommy has the foundation in place to make South Carolina his in this way, with all due respect to the venerable, but fleeting, Lou Holtz.

But Clemson's football program is not quite there yet. They should beat one of those better teams while losing to one they should better. The end product for Tiger fans will be ups and downs sure to make for promise and coulda-woulda-shoulda results. Clemson will be competitive, just not as dominant as needed for a Top 10 finish.

Projected 2004 record: 7-4
QB Charlie Whitehurst
QB - 4.5 DL - 2.5
RB - 2.5 LB - 4
WR - 3.5 DB - 4.5
OL - 3 ..

Passing: Charlie Whitehurst, 288-465-13, 3561 yds., 21 TD

Rushing: Duane Coleman, 133 att., 615 yds., 2 TD

Receiving: Airese Currie, 43 rec., 560 yds., 4 TD

Scoring: Duane Coleman, 5 TD’s, 30 pts.

Cole Chason, 58 punts, 38.6 avg.

Kicking: None

Tackles: LeRoy Hill, 145 tot., 110 solo, 27 TFL

Sacks: LeRoy Hill, 8 sacks

Interceptions: Jamaal Fudge, 4 for 66 yds.

Kickoff Returns: Justin Miller, 17 ret., 24.5 avg.

Punt Returns:
Justin Miller, 8 ret., 9.1 avg., 1 TD


OFFENSE: William Henry-OT, Gregory Walker-OT, Kevin Youngblood-WR, Chad Jasmin-TB, Tony Elliott-WR, Aaron Hunt-K, Derrick Hamilton-WR (NFL)
DEFENSE: Khaleed Vaughn-DE, DeJuan Polk-DT, J.J. Howard-DE, John Leake-LB, Toure Francis-CB, Donnell Washington-DT (NFL)

The Tigers have the best quarterback in the ACC at the helm as Charlie Whitehurst returns for his junior season. He is only the second quarterback in ACC history to reach the 5,000-yard career passing total as a sophomore. After starting Clemson's last 17 games, Whitehurst now has the experience to go along with his natural talent to emerge as a leader and one of the nation's elite signal callers. His 13 INTs have to shrink for the team to do as well as his other stellar stats. Whitehurst's backup is sophomore Chansi Stuckey, an athletic player in the mold of former Tiger quarterback Woody Dantzler.

Running Back
Duane Coleman returns as the starting tailback for Clemson. He is an effective runner, but is not strong enough to assume a workhorse role. Coleman is also a dangerous receiver out of the backfield. Senior Yusef Kelley will compete for playing time. With his size (234 lbs.) and strength, he offers a good change of pace. He was productive as a sophomore but was hampered by injuries most of last season. Junior Kyle Browning, effective in a limited role last season, should also get some carries. Cliff Harrell, whose blocking helped the Tigers improve their success in short yardage situations, will start at fullback. Bowden would be wise to give this position a few more than the five touches it got in '03.

Wide Receiver
This continues to be a position of strength for Clemson. Senior Airese Currie, whose speed has earned him a spot on the all-ACC track team the last two years, leads the receiving corps. Currie needs to stay healthy after missing three 2003 games and being limited in others. The other starter is junior Curtis Baham, who Tiger coaches thought was one of the most improved offensive players. Currie will be the deep threat while Baham fills the role of possession receiver. Backing them up is sophomore Kelvin Grant, who came on at the end. Grant has to worth more than the underneath stuff they previously gave him.

Tight End
Clemson does not throw much to their tight ends, so to earn playing time, they have to be good blockers. Starter Bobby Williamson, a junior, is a solid blocker who also has decent hands on the rare occasion he needs to catch a pass. Like at FB, they need to expand this position's dimension to keep LBs and safeties on their heels.

Offensive Line
The Tigers have an experienced interior portion of the line. Former walk-on Tommy Sharpe anchors at center. Senior Cedric Johnson and junior Chip Myrick return at starting guards. Sharpe and Myrick earned their starting jobs during the heat of '03, so this will be the first full season they have played together. Both tackle spots are up for grabs, with several promising young lineman competing for them in spring practice. The past total of sacks allowed, 25, may go up, depending.

After trying to establish a power running game, coach Bowden realized the error of his ways and went back to the no-huddle spread passing attack that was so effective when he first came to Clemson. They have the quarterback and receivers to enjoy continued success with that style, but only if they get good pass protection from their young offensive tackles. The Tigers will need some productivity out of their running game to keep defenses honest, especially since Whitehurst is not a particularly mobile quarterback.


WR Airese Currie


Returning Starters/
Key Players
QB Charlie Whitehurst-Jr (6-4, 215) Will Proctor-So (6-2, 200)
FB Cliff Harrell-Jr (6-1, 255) Steven Jackson-Jr (6-2, 245)
TB Duane Coleman-Jr (5-10, 190) Yusef Kelly-Sr (6-0, 230)
WR Curtis Baham-Jr (6-1, 190) Kelvin Grant-So (6-2, 205)
WR Airese Currie-Sr (5-11, 185) Chansi Stuckey-So (6-0, 170)
TE Ben Hall-Sr (6-5, 250) Bobby Williamson-Jr (6-3, 250)
OT Roman Fry-So (6-4, 280) Jesse Pickens-Sr (6-5, 270)
OG Cedric Johnson-Sr (6-4, 325) Brandon Pilgrim-So (6-5, 300)
C Tommy Sharpe-Sr (6-0, 270) Dustin Fry-So (6-3, 320)
OG Chip Myrick-Jr (6-4, 290) Nathan Bennett-So (6-5, 312)
OT Marion Dukes-So (6-4, 315) Tim DeBeer-So (6-6, 295)
K Jad Dean-So (5-11, 200) Stephen Furr-Jr (6-1, 185)
Curtis Baham....BAY-um
Airese Currie....AIR-Reese
Yusef Kelly....YOU-sef
Chansi Stuckey....CHAN-see



Defensive Line
Senior end Maurice Fountain is the only returning starter and will be pushed around at only 250 pounds. He is steady, but not a big playmaker. Vontrell Jamison will start at the other end and will be a dangerous pass rusher off the edge. Eric Coleman will fill one of the tackle spots and, like Jamison, put steady pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Trey Tate will fill out the starting defensive line, but he has yet to emerge as any force. Although all four players are upperclassmen, Fountain is the only lineman with much playing experience. Expect this line to be vulnerable to the run and take a while to jell.

Leroy Hill snuck up on people in '03, earning All-ACC honors by leading Tigers with 110 solo tackles and a phenomenal 27 tackles for loss. Both of those figures were among the best in the nation. Matching that feat will be difficult for Hill, but he will be up to the task, however, and take his place among the best linebackers in the nation. He is complimented by Eric Sampson, who is looking to bounce back from an injury-plagued 2003. Sampson is the Tigers' best linebacker in pass coverage and also plays the run well, giving Hill more freedom to gamble and improvise. Athletic sophomore Anthony Waters fills out Clemson's linebacker corps, but he has yet to show his potential. This crew is one of the best in the ACC. But the burden they have with such an inexperienced line means they may not shine in a way that reflects their true talents.

Defensive Back
This area is full up with experience and proven ability(ies). Justin Miller returns as the Tigers' best cover man. After a fabulous freshman season, his numbers dropped, mainly because of respect, for opposing offenses did not often challenge him. Converted running back and track star Tye Hill combines with Miller to give Clemson one of the better pairs of corners in the conference. Travis Pugh, a big hitter and an asset in pass coverage, starts at free safety. Jamaal Fudge is the big-play man in the secondary. He led the team in takeaways and was third in tackles from his rover back position. He will continue to be a player opponents must locate on every down. This veteran secondary, a solid unit, should be outstanding.

Clemson will again be vulnerable to oversized offensive lines and big running backs shoving the ball down their throat. Their back-seven, however, has the playmakers to force offenses to turn the ball over and have negative yardage plays. Leroy Hill will be one of the best linebackers in the nation, and the tandem of Justin Miller and Tye Hill will once again make it difficult for opponents to be very successful in the passing game. The key will be how much production the Tigers get from the defensive front four. They may eventually have to sneak extra men up to help the front-seven, so pass defense may suffer accordingly. Said variable may cost this side of the ball any marginal dominance possible. If the line can just hold its own and not get dominated, this will be a very good defensive team.


CB Justin Miller


Returning Starters/
Key Players
DE Charles Bennett-Jr (6-4, 248) Vontrell Jamison-Sr (6-7, 280)
DT Eric Coleman-Sr (6-5, 305) Donnell Clark-So (6-2, 266)
DT Trey Tate-Jr (6-4, 270) Cory Groover-Jr (6-3, 288)
DE Maurice Fountain-Sr (6-4, 250) Gaines Adams-So (6-5, 250)
LB Anthony Waters-So (6-3, 235) Nick Watkins-Fr (6-2, 205)
LB Leroy Hill-Sr (6-1, 220) David Dunham-Jr (6-2, 215)
WHIP Eric Sampson-Sr (6-2, 205) Tramaine Billie-So (6-1, 195)
CB Tye Hill-Jr (5-10, 180) Robert Reese-Fr (5-11, 185)
CB Justin Miller-Jr (5-11, 200) Sergio Gilliam-So (6-3, 185)
ROV Jamaal Fudge-Jr (5-10, 190) Tavaghn Monts-Sr (6-2, 191)
FS Travis Pugh-Sr (6-1, 195) Roy Walker-Fr (6-3, 195)
P Cole Chason-So (6-0, 161) ..
Jamaal Fudge....Ja MALL
Cole Chason....CHAY-suhn
Vontrell Jamison....VON-trel
Tavaghn Monts....Ta-VON




Replacing the school's career scoring leader, Aaron Hunt, will be a difficult task. Junior Stephen Furr and sophomore Jad Dean will vie for the job. Furr was the kickoff specialist two years ago while Dean handled that job last season with mediocre results. A few close games will suffer bad results.

Sophomore Cole Chason does not have the leg strength to kick long, booming punts, but he does have good placement. Chason dropped 19 punts inside the opponents' 20-yard line and improved the Tigers' net punting average by over seven yards per kick. His consistency in pinning opposing offenses deep in their own territory and avoiding big punt returns is a valuable weapon for Clemson's special teams.

Return Game
Justin Miller has the highest kickoff return average in Clemson history. He is also one of only two players to return both a punt and a kickoff for touchdowns. His speed, agility, and relatively big size for a kick returner make him a threat to break one at any time. If anything happens to him, the Tigers have no other experienced kick returner on the roster.


Due to an eye injury to back-up QB Will Proctor, Charlie Whitehurst took most of the snaps in the spring game. Proctor had been developing well with the second group, and coaches feel he is a real capable understudy to Whitehurst. One knock against ole Charlie is his slow approach to starting a ballgame. Former-QB C.J. Gaddis has been switched over to defense. Bowden says he still doesn't see a clear-cut starter at tailback. He feels all three guys play well and contribute equally, to the point where a proven number one may not be necessary. Though he starts the fall as a backup at LT, Tim DeBeer has received a lot of praise from line coach Brad Scott. PK Stephen Furr, who is listed as the backup going into the fall, had a solid outing, notching two FGs in the spring game, including one from 46 yards.

The Clemson defense set the tone in the spring game, forcing four turnovers (three of which were INTs) and holding the offense to just 22-of-58 passing for 371 yards. JR DE Charles Bennett was a common disturbance to the passing game, recording two sacks and knocking down three passes in the final scrimmage. The entire defensive line played well, knocking down many balls at the line of scrimmage and establishing a strong push up front. Backup DE Gaines Adams was another who really stood out. Keep an eye on this youngster. The LBs had perhaps the most impressive spring, with all contributors making strides and providing coaches with security in that area. Backup ROV Tavaghn Monts was all over the field, making tackle after tackle and was usually the first to arrive on the scene and clean up. Bowden's main concern with this defense is their mental toughness, evidenced in their carrying over of a poor goal line defense from last year into spring ball.

DE Gaines Adams (so)
OT Cory Lambert (fr)