Coach: Tommy Bowden
22-14-0, 3 years
2001 Record: 7-5
at Georgia Tech WON 47-44 (OT)
at North Carolina State WON 45-37
at Wake Forest WON 21-14
at Maryland LOST 20-37
at South Carolina LOST 15-20
DUKE WON 59-31
Louisiana Tech WON 49-24

2001 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

Not only is Derrick Hamilton a dynamo receiver, his kick return skills were superb as a frosh. - ( Gardner)
2002 Outlook

The excitement that consumed Clemson the day Tommy Bowden arrived has had its damper turned down to some extent by the mediocre won/loss seasons that followed. Counting ACC titles hasn't exactly resembled the goal. Although the staff has recruited well, so labeling the program in such a short time span under this administration could be a bit unfair. This 2002 season looks to be the most difficult from an experience standpoint with no Woodrow Dantzler or established star running back. The receivers will have to carry a huge load for offensive success as they are quite possibly the deepest in the all of the country. Folks in the Carolina's as well as much of the east coast are aware of the capabilities that Willie Simmons brings to the table. Athletically, the skill positions on both offense and defense rate fairly well, it is just that the defense has been flat out sub par. A thorny task is at hand this fall attempting to tell the faithful to be more patient. The early schedule does not leave much room for patience, as a trip to Athens and Tallahassee in roughly the first month of play, creates quite a complex situation. The bottom line is that is all boils down to defense. If the defense does not improve tremendously, a trip to ice covered Boise for a bowl game will be the same plot. Clemson is capable of accomplishing much better. The Tigers need to reach eight regular season victories period.

Projected 2002 record: 8-5

QB - 4 DL - 3
RB - 3 LB - 3
WR - 5 DB - 3.5
OL - 2 ..

Passing: Willie Simmons, 20-55-3, 292 Yards, 2 TD's

Rushing: Bernard Rambert, 75 att., 368 yds., 3 TD's

Receiving: Derrick Hamilton, 53 rec., 684 yds., 4 TD's

Scoring: Aaron Hunt, 10 FG, 44 PAT, 74 pts.

Punting: Wynn Kopp, 48 punts, 38.5 avg.

Kicking: Aaron Hunt, 10-12 FG, 44-45 PAT, 74 pts.

Tackles: John Leake, 134 tot., 69 solo

Sacks: Bryant McNeal, 8 sacks

Interceptions: Brian Mance, 3 for 0 yds.

Kickoff returns: Derrick Hamilton, 15 ret., 31.7 avg.

Punt returns: Brian Mance, 16 ret., 13.2 avg.


OFFENSE: Woodrow Dantzler-QB, Travis Zachery-TB, Morgan Woodward-TE, T.J. Watkins-OG, Kyle Young-C, Will Merritt-OG, Akil Smith-OT (NFL)
DEFENSE: Nick Eason-DT, Jovon Bush-DT, Chad Carson-MLB, Braxton K. Williams-SS, Charles Hafley-FS

The fuse to light the offensive fireworks has been handed from Woody Dantzler, no introduction needed, over to young Willie Simmons at quarterback. Only a redshirt junior, Simmons seems to have a better knack at the passing game. Even though he has the wheels to motor, replacing that aspect of the Dantzler foundation isn't exactly a duplication process. Coaches are now going to offer a new look to better benefit the capable arm strength. The explosive capabilities look to still be in place with Simmon's wealth of riches running patterns at receiver. The past few recruiting classes have loaded the wheel barrel and then some in Clemson, SC. This has to be the deepest set of receivers in the history of the school and may just be the deepest in the nation. No joking, four freshmen by the names of Derrick Hamilton, Roscoe Crosby, Airese Currie, and Ben Hall combined for 106 receptions for 1548 yards in 2001. Hamilton and Hall were both freshman All-Americans. Not only is Hamilton a dynamo receiver, his kick return skills were superb enough as a frosh last year to break the old all-purpose record held by Terry Allen. He was third in the nation with 31.7 yards per kickoff return. More than just a unit of youngsters, veterans J.J. McKelvey and Jackie Robinson have established themselves as top quality catchers. Throw in 6-5 receiver Kevin Youngblood, who missed all of last season with a broken leg, and it can be quite easy to see why Clemson is well stocked for the continued fireworks display. The running game needs to carry on, as the Tigers are 15-1 when rushing for at least 200 yards since Head Coach Tommy Bowden arrived. That task will be difficult without the services of departed leading rusher Travis Zachery. Fullback Chad Jasmin returns in the backfield with the most experience and is a solid blocker as well as being a guy capable of swapping on over to tailback. The biggest drawback to the 2002 Tiger analogy is the offensive line. The veteran line of 2001 has been decimated and replacements are extremely inexperienced. Senior Gary Byrd is the only returning starter at left tackle. Keep an eye on kicker Aaron Hunt, who has shown great improvement each season, going 5-5 from 40 yards or more last season.


Returning Starters in Bold
QB Willie Simmons-Jr Charlie Whitehurst-Fr
FB Chad Jasmin-Jr Cliff Harrell-Fr
TB Bernard Rambert-Sr Keith Kelly-So
WR Jackie Robinson-Sr Derrick Hamilton-So / Kevin Youngblood-Jr
WR Airese Currie-So J.J. McKelvey-Sr
TE Ben Hall-So Bobby Williamson-Fr
OT Gary Byrd-Sr William Henry-Jr
OG Jermyn Chester-Jr Mark Jetton-Fr
C Cedric Johnson-So Chip Myrick-Fr
OG Nick Black-Jr Greg Walker-Jr
OT Derrick Brantley-Sr Nate Gillespie-Sr
K Aaron Hunt-Jr ..



The plus side is that 7-8 starters return to the defensive lineup. The bad news is that they were borderline anemic last fall, finishing near the cellar in most conference statistics. Watching the Tigers play had to be a stomach full for the orange clad Death Valley crowd. Emotional senior leader Nick Eason will bolster the defensive line. Although he played in all 12 games last year, the majority of his time was hampered by injuries. By December, he should be a definite All-ACC candidate. Statistically, Bryant McNeal at end recorded eight sacks, well enough for third on the ACC list. Two of the top tacklers from 2001 are John Leake and Rodney Thomas, which should help aid the resurgence up front. The secondary returns three starters and welcomes back senior Altroy Bodrick who moves to strong safety from linebacker after missing all of 2001 with a torn ACL. His performance could be crucial for the backfield unit. The kicking game will be an area of strength in 2001 from kicking to punting to returning, as starters with good experience dot each position.


Returning Starters in Bold
DE Bryant McNeal-Sr J.J. Howard-Jr
DT Donnell Washington-So DeJuan Polk-Jr
DT Nick Eason-Sr Todd McClinton-Jr
DE Khaleed Vaughn-Jr Mo Fountain-So
LB Eric Sampson-So Leroy Hill-So
MLB Rodney Thomas-Sr Rodney Feaster-Sr
LB John Leake-Jr David Dunham-Fr
CB Brian Mance-Sr Ryan Hemby-So
CB Kevin Johnson-Jr Toure Francis-Jr
SS Ronny Delusme-So Curtis Baham-Fr
FS Eric Meekins-Sr Travis Pugh-So
P Wynn Kopp-Sr ..
One of the top tacklers from 2001 is John Leake, which should help aid the resurgence up front. - ( Boatwright)