WR Chansi Stuckey

2005 Statistics

Coach: Tommy Bowden
52-33, 7 years
2005 Record: 8-4
at Maryland WON 28-24
at Wake Forest LOST 27-31
at NC State WON 31-10
at Georgia Tech LOST 9-10
DUKE WON 49-20
at South Carolina WON 13-9
vs. Colorado WON 19-10

2005 Final Rankings
AP2-21, Coaches-21, BCS-UR

2006 Outlook

Clemson had a good season in 2005, finishing with an 8-4 record. It was close to being a great season, however. The Tigers’ four losses came by a combined 14 points. They will get over that hump this season. Clemson is already a much disciplined team with only 15 turnovers and 57 penalties. They simply need to make a few more plays. The continued improvement in their offensive line and backfield will more than offset a slight dropoff at quarterback. The Tigers scored 26 points per game last year, and they should be well over 30 this year. The defense should maintain their success from last year when they held opponents to 17.6 points and 316 yards per game.

This is a remarkable comeback for Coach Tommy Bowden, who has appeared to be on the verge of losing his job a couple of times since coming to Clemson. This year, his team will finally be good enough to make long-time fans stop whining about the good old days when Danny Ford was the coach. The Tigers will likely win the Atlantic Division and have an excellent chance to win the ACC and participate in the BCS for the first time. The division could be virtually decided by mid-September. Clemson travels to Boston College and Florida State on September 9th and 16th, an unenviable start to their conference schedule. A veteran team like the Tigers should gain at least a split in those two games. That would leave Clemson in good shape, with their trip to Virginia Tech being the only other major challenge on their schedule. Ten or even eleven wins is possible this year providing they can avoid stumbling in September.

Projected 2006 record: 9-3
QB - 3.5 DL - 3.5
RB - 4 LB - 4
WR - 3.5 DB - 3.5
OL - 4 ..

Passing: Will Proctor, 31-18-0, 281 yds., 3 TD

Rushing: James Davis, 165 att., 879 yds., 9 TD

Receiving: Chansi Stuckey, 64 rec., 770 yds., 4 TD

Scoring: Jad Dean, 24-31 FG, 34-35 PAT, 106 pts.

Cole Chason, 50 punts, 36.4 avg.

Kicking: Jad Dean, 24-31 FG, 34-35 PAT, 106 pts.

Tackles: Anthony Waters, 109 tot., 74 solo

Sacks: Gaines Adams, 9.5 sacks

Interceptions: C.J. Gaddis, 3 for 36 yds.

Kickoff Returns: Aaron Kelly, 10 ret., 26.6 avg., 0 TD

Punt Returns:
Chansi Stuckey, 22 ret., 7.4 avg., 1 TD


DE Gaines Adams
OFFENSE: Charlie Whitehurst-QB, Cliff Harrell-FB, Steven Jackson-FB, Curtis Baham-WR, Bobby Williamson-TE, Chip Myrick-OG, Kelvin Grant-WR (dismissed)
DEFENSE: Charles Bennett-DE, Cory Groover-NG, Trey Tate-DT, Tye Hill-CB, Jamaal Fudge-FS

Fortunately for the Tigers, Will Proctor is a patient young man. Proctor, a fifth-year senior, sat behind Clemson’s all-time leading passer, Charlie Whitehurst, for four years, but it is now his turn at the helm of the Tigers’ offense. Proctor is smaller than Whitehurst but still possesses a strong arm. His sub-4.6 speed and athleticism are a more natural fit for offensive coordinator Rob Spence’s offense. Proctor put up good numbers in his one career start vs. Duke last year, but then again doesn’t everyone? More impressive was the way he came off the bench for an injured Whitehurst in the ‘05 opener vs. Texas A&M and led his team on a drive for the game-winning field goal. The backups are two sophomores, Cullen Harper and Tribble Reese who are similar in style to Proctor. Neither has even seen much action in scrimmages, much less in a live game. Harper is considered the more talented of the two, but both will have a crack at the backup spot. The inexperience behind him makes it critical that Proctor produce and stay healthy.

Running Back
Clemson’s backfield is stocked with three very talented backs. Sophomore James Davis, the 2005 ACC rookie of the year, will emerge as the starter again. Davis closed strong last season and led the team with 879 rushing yards and 5.3 yards per carry, and was the leading receiver out of the Tiger backfield. He has excellent speed and busted 27 runs for over 10 yards last season in only 165 attempts. Senior Reggie Merriweather will also get a healthy number of carries. Merriweather is a good compliment to Davis, more of a steady inside runner who will break tackles that Davis might avoid entirely. He has averaged 4.9 yards per attempt and scored 18 touchdowns over the last two seasons. Also vying for playing time will be true freshman C. J. Spiller, who was considered the #1 player in Florida last year. With no proven fullback on the roster, the Tigers will use more two running back sets, mixing up pairings of Davis, Merriweather, and Spiller. Clemson will take another step toward reestablishing a strong ground attack this season.

When breaking in a new quarterback, it’s always nice to have veteran receivers on hand. The Tigers have last season’s top two, Chansi Stuckey and Aaron Kelly, returning. Stuckey was a backup quarterback as a freshman, but two years later came into his own as a receiver and led the ACC. He hasn’t seen a lot of deep balls, but his quickness and elusiveness makes him a threat to break the short stuff for big gains. Kelly was one of the top freshman receivers in the nation last year. His 6’4” frame should make him a dangerous target in the red zone. Look for him to increase his touchdown catches several fold from the two he grabbed last year. True freshman Jacoby Ford, who has been clocked at an amazing 4.2 in the 40-yard dash, could step in and become the deep threat this offense needs. Clemson had only 14 touchdown passes last season, a number which needs to increase significantly.

Offensive Line
Clemson’s offensive line won’t have to waste any time on introductions since all five starters from 2005 return. The line could be the key area where coach Tommy Bowden has transformed his team from relying on quickness and finesse to one more “old-school”—strong and physical. You don’t need to look beyond the guy who snaps the ball, center Dustin Fry, to see this in practice. Fry is a mountain of a young man, tipping the scales at 315 pounds. He is flanked by the starting guards, Roman Fry and Nathan Bennett, who weigh in at 315 and 295 pounds respectively. The returning tackles, Marion Dukes and Barry Richardson, go 315 and 337 pounds. They aren’t just beefy, though. Through experience (Richardson is a junior, the others are all seniors), they have polished their individual footwork and cohesiveness as a unit. They can clear our room for ball carriers and are quick enough to be effective pass blockers and handle assignments on reverses. This will be one of the best offensive lines in the ACC and perhaps among the better ones in the nation, if everyone stays healthy. There’s not a lot of depth behind the starters.

Tight End
Senior Thomas Hunter enters spring practice as the first-string tight end, but expect sophomore Durrell Barry to move ahead of him at some point during the season. Hunter is a former walk-on who spent his first two seasons primarily on special teams. He had 13 receptions last season and averaged only 9.2 yards per catch. Barry is an athletic 6’5”, 240 pound receiver who is a better fit for the Tigers’ new emphasis on throwing to the tight end. Clemson had more catches from tight ends last season, a total of 28, than in any year since 1984. That will go higher if Barry steps in.

Clemson returns two 700-yard rushers and a 700-yard receiver for the first time in school history. They have all five starters back on the offensive line. Although they have a new starting quarterback, he is a fifth-year senior. Now you see why we rank them as we do. The Tigers are in the second season under coordinator Rob Spence’s offensive schemes and all the pieces are in place for them to bust loose. Since Will Proctor is not likely to complete 67% of his passes like Charlie Whitehurst did, look for Clemson to throw the ball downfield more than they did last year. The Tigers will also increase their average per rushing attempt from the 4.1 they averaged in 2005. They didn’t make mistakes last season, committing only 14 turnovers (eighth fewest in the nation), but they had to settle for field goals 16 times when they entered the red zone. Decreasing that number along with increasing their big plays should be two points of emphasis for the coaches. If they succeed, Clemson will have an outstanding offense in 2006.


OG Roman Fry


Returning Starters/
Key Players
QB Will Proctor-Sr (6-2, 205) Cullen Harper-So (6-3, 215)
FB Alex Pearson-So (6-2, 250) Brent Smith-Sr (6-0, 220)
RB James Davis-So (5-11, 210) Reggie Merriweather-Sr (5-8, 210)
WR Aaron Kelly-So (6-5, 180) Andrew Diomande-So (6-1, 200)
WR Chansi Stuckey-Sr (6-0, 185) La'Donte Harris-Jr (5-11, 185)
WR Rendrick Taylor-So (6-1, 225) Tyler Grisham-So (5-10, 180)
TE Thomas Hunter-Sr (6-4, 250) Akeem Robinson-So (6-5, 260)
OT Barry Richardson-Jr (6-7, 335) Tim DeBeer-Sr (6-6, 285)
OG Roman Fry-Sr (6-4, 295) Chris McDuffie-Jr (6-5, 315)
C Dustin Fry-Sr (6-3, 315) Bobby Hutchinson-So (6-3, 290)
OG Nathan Bennett-Sr (6-5, 300) Brandon Pilgrim-Jr (6-6, 290)
OT Marion Dukes-Sr (6-4, 315) Christian Capote-Jr (6-4, 300)
K Jad Dean-Sr (5-11, 205) ..



Defensive Line
End Gaines Adams, a senior, will break out as one of the best in the country. Last season, he set a school record with 9 pass deflections, and posted team highs with 15 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks, and an impressive 29 quarterback hurries. To divert opponents’ attention away from Adams, the Tigers need defensive tackle Donnell Clark, also a senior, to bounce back from a torn ACL suffered vs. Temple last year. He is a bit light for a tackle at 266 pounds, but Clark is a strong and athletic playmaker. The other end will be sophomore Phillip Merling, one of the best freshmen defensive linemen in the nation last season. He is big enough to play inside but has enough speed to come around the edge. Lining him up creatively will work well. Merling has been compared to former Clemson star Chester McGlockton. The other tackle will be Jock McKissic. Like Merling, he is a sophomore and a converted-TE. Besides Adams, this is a very inexperienced unit that could get pushed around by big, physical offensive lines, but one that will also have the speed and quickness to spend time in opponents’ backfields. In other words, inconsistency will be their main component to overcome.

Defensive coordinator Vic Koenning’s defensive scheme is designed to put the linebackers in position to make tackles. This worked well for Clemson’s defense last season—the top three tacklers were the starting linebackers, and they’re all back. The best of the bunch is middle linebacker Anthony Waters. The senior was the Tigers’ leading tackler despite missing a game, and he also led the team with 13.5 tackles for loss. Waters showed his range by breaking up seven passes, the most for a Clemson linebacker in 14 years. The other members of the unit are weak-side linebacker Nick Watkins, a junior, and strong-side ‘backer Tramaine Billie, a senior. Watkins was also the Tigers’ leading special-teams tackler last season. He is not the playmaker that Waters is, but uses his strength to stuff the run very well. Billie is also a special teams coverage star and uses his 4.4 speed (he is believed to now be the fastest linebacker in the ACC) to make up for his lack of size (6’ ½”, 200 pounds). Sophomore Antonio Clay will be the primary backup. All four players are considered NFL prospects and give the Tigers one of the best linebacking units in the nation.

Defensive Back
Clemson’s secondary will have a new look after losing their top cover men. Junior C. J. Gaddis started the first five games at safety last season, then moved into the nickel role. Coaches will give him a look at corner this spring, a position where he saw some action in 2004. He has the speed to handle single coverage duties on wideouts. Duane Coleman will handle the other corner if he graduates by August and earns back his fourth year of eligibility. He was originally a partial qualifier academically, and just moved over to defense before last season after playing at running back his first two years. Senor Sergio Gilliam will also be in the mix, but look for sophomore Ray Ray Elrathbey to make a bid for playing time. Sophomore Chris Clemons will move into the starting free safety role, and his 4.4 speed will make him one of the faster safeties in the ACC. Michael Hamlin, one of the best freshman safeties in the nation last season, will return at strong safety. This is a young but very fast secondary. If the line gets enough pressure on the quarterback, they should have enough speed to make up for mistakes made due to inexperience.

Clemson ranked in the top 25 nationally in all four major defensive categories last season for first time since 1990, and they will be strong again this year. Like the offense, the defense successfully emphasized a more physical approach and often dictated to offenses. The front seven, led by end Gaines Adams, could be dominant. The linebacker corps has no apparent weakness. They can stuff the run, drop into pass coverage, and make plays all over the field. The inexperience of the secondary will put additional pressure on the line and linebackers. A lack of a pass rush or missed tackles by the linebackers could expose the defensive backfield, especially the new cornerbacks. They will be tested early, but the defense will overall remain among the better ones in the nation.


LB Anthony Waters


Returning Starters/
Key Players
DE Phillip Merling-So (6-5, 275) Brandon Cannon-Sr (6-3, 245)
NG Donnell Clark-Sr (6-3, 265) Dorell Scott-So (6-3, 305)
DT Rashaad Jackson-So (6-3, 270) Jock McKissic-So (6-6, 290)
DE Gaines Adams-Sr (6-5, 265) Kwam Williams-Jr (6-3, 245)
SLB Tramaine Billie-Sr (6-1, 205) Antonio Clay-So (6-0, 225)
MLB Anthony Waters-Sr (6-3, 240) Kavell Conner-Fr (6-2, 215)
WLB Nick Watkins-Jr (6-2, 220) Josh Miller-So (6-0, 215)
CB C.J. Gaddis-Jr (6-0, 205) Haydrian Lewis-So (5-11, 170)
CB Duane Coleman-Sr (5-10, 195) Sergio Gilliam-Sr (6-3, 180)
CAT Michael Hamlin-So (6-3, 195) Roy Walker-Jr (6-3, 205)
FS Chris Clemons-So (6-1, 200) Chris Russell-Jr (6-2, 210)
P Cole Chason-Sr (6-0, 165) ..




Senior Jad Dean excelled as the Tigers’ placekicker in 2005. His 24 field goals set a school record and ranked third in nation. It was also the 2nd best single season total in ACC history. The highlight came vs. Texas A&M, when Dean knocked through six, the final one a 42-yard game winner. He has good range, making 9-of-17 beyond 40 yards during his career. Dean will be in the mix for all-American honors, although coach Tommy Bowden would like to see him kicking more extra points and fewer field goals. He would also like Dean to get his kickoffs deeper—36 of 62 were returned, an unacceptably high number.

Excitement in a team’s punting game is bad. Clemson’s punting in 2005 was an adventure. Cole Chasson ranked 99th in the nation and had five blocked. The Tigers’ net average of 29.42 was the third worst in Division 1-A. Freshman Richard Jackson, considered to have one of the strongest legs in the country, will challenge Chasson for the job this year. There will also be some desperately needed new protection schemes.

Return Game
Aaron Kelly and Duane Coleman will again be sharing the kickoff return duties. Besides one 81-yard return by Kelly, the Tigers were not particularly strong here last season. C. J. Spiller and fellow freshman Jacoby Ford will also get a look. Ford may also join Chansi Stuckey on punt returns. Despite his elusiveness, Stuckey averaged a mediocre 7.4 yards per, and the Tigers ranked only 86th in the nation. The return game overall needs some significant improvement.