Clemson Football: The All-Time Dream Team
Clemson football is a celebrated, major NCAA Division I college football program. That's a dictionary definition of it.
But to its devoted fanbase, it is tradition and a way of life in college football.
Clemson has seen plenty of greatness within Death Valley stadium, from back in its high days in the '80s, claiming its only national championship, all the way to today, where fans are more excited than ever after winning its first ACC Championship since 1991.
But what would the Clemson Football All-Time Dream Team look like? If you could put together the greatest Tigers on one team and watch them all touch Howard's Rock as they run down The Hill, who would be a part of that unit on offense and defense?
Here's a possible roster of what that All-Time Dream Team would look like.
Quarterback: Charlie Whitehurst
He's got the height, the arm, and the leadership. Those are some of the qualities that Charlie Whitehurst had and that Clemson fans missed after he finally departed. The former Tiger quarterback broke the Clemson passing record books, becoming the school's leader in many of its passing categories, and is the school's all-time leading passer.
To top it all off, he is still the only Clemson quarterback to go undefeated against South Carolina.
Running Back: CJ Spiller
The all-time dream team needs a little spice and a game-changer at running back. Enter CJ Spiller.
A threat to score from anywhere on the field, Spiller proved he could be the feature back of an offense when he returned for his senior season, and was one of the most explosive players of 2009, scoring at least one touchdown in every single game. With his ability to catch out of the backfield and his blazing speed next to tall, strong-armed, very capable Whitehurst, this offense would be one to watch.
Offensive Line: 1981
There have been numerous offensive lines, but only one of them won college football's biggest prize: a national championship.
This offensive line was built to run the ball. Known for its aggressive intensity, it had that toughness that Clemson's recent offensive lines have lacked and the mentality that coaches want their offensive lines to have. It was with this line that the Tigers went undefeated in their national championship run.
Wide Receiver: Perry Tuttle
Perry Tuttle was one of many good receivers to come through Clemson, and was widely remembered for catching the winning touchdown pass to make the Tigers 1981 national champions.
A member of Clemson's Centennial Team, as well as its Hall of Fame, there is no question that Tuttle belongs on the All-Time Dream Team. Tuttle is one of the most decorated receivers in Clemson history, being in the top 10 all time at Clemson for touchdown receptions, receiving yards, and receptions.
Wide Receiver: Sammy Watkins
After some thought, it's deserving that Sammy Watkins could get a place on our list after his stellar and historic freshman campaign. He has been one of the best freshman receivers the Tigers have had for some time.
Watkins can work from anywhere on the field, and catches everything that comes his way. His smooth route running and speed allows the offense to do a myriad of things. Imagine having an offense with both Florida natives CJ Spiller and Sammy Watkins on the field at the same time...
Tight End: Bennie Cunningham
Any coach would love to have the first type of player who would later become what everyone wants in today's world of college football.
Cunningham was tough, could block, and was an athletic freak with great hands. A historic tight end with both the Tigers and the Steelers—with whom he won two Super Bowl Rings. Cunningham is the biggest mismatch this Dream Team could possess, as he would was too big for both corners and safeties and too athletic for linebackers.
Defensive Tackle: William "The Refrigerator " Perry
A big, massive space eater at defensive tackle, William Perry was dubbed "The Refrigerator" for his immense size and strength. Perry was well known at both levels, and could penetrate the offensive line, stuffing both the run and the pass and making it hard on opposing offenses to get anything done.
Defensive Tackle: Michael Dean Perry
As was the case with his brother, Michael Dean Perry could also penetrate and stuff both the run and pass. The Perry brothers were the best duo of defensive tackles in Clemson history, both being placed among the top of the Tigers' all-time sacks list, cementing themselves as the greatest Tiger defensive linemen ever to play in Death Valley.
Defensive End: Gaines Adams
To pair with the Perry Brothers inside, we need a great speed rusher off the edge to keep that quarterback in the pocket and wreak even more havoc.
Enter Gaines Adams.
The late Gaines Adams, along with the Perry brothers, are near the top of the all-time sacks list, so it makes since to put these three linemen on the same team. Imagine an opposing offensive line trying to deal with these three all-time Clemson pass rushers.
Defensive End: Daquan Bowers
Many will argue as to whether Bowers belongs on this list, but his ability as a pass rusher at Clemson cannot go unnoticed. It took a little longer for his light to come on, but Bowers proved he had the motor and the ability to give quarterbacks plenty of headache and concern. He is a great compliment to the speed rush ability of Gaines Adams on the opposite side.
Linebacker: Jeff Davis
One of the most celebrated linebackers in Clemson history, Jeff Davis is unarguably one of the toughest linebackers the Tigers have ever had the opportunity to have, and his play is part of made Clemson's 1981 national championship defense so hard-nosed. Davis has a place among the Clemson Ring of Honor, as well as a place in the College Football Hall of Fame.
Linebacker: Keith Adams
Keith Adams was an effective, hard-nosed, downhill blitzer at the linebacker position. His ability to shoot the gap is something that Clemson would love to get out of its current group of talented linebackers. Adams was effective in this regard, giving the Dream Team another pass rushing threat in addition to the monster of a defensive line it already possesses.
Linebacker: Levon Kirkland
Out of these three linebackers, Kirkland definitely has the most power and intimidation when it comes to size. When Kirkland is in the middle, running up the A-Gap becomes a challenge. Kirkland gives this defense even more size and completes its front seven with a monster in the middle.
Cornerback: Terry Kinard
One of the best Tiger defensive backs in history, Kinard was yet another great piece for Clemson's national championship defense alongside Jeff Davis. Kinard locks up one side of the field, while the other belongs to...
Cornerback: Banks McFadden
Of course, you can't leave off an athletic legend like Banks McFadden, who was one of the greatest Clemson athletes of all time.
Pulling full-time duty with football, basketball, and baseball, McFadden excelled as a defensive back thanks to his great athleticism that few could even match, and was one of three Tigers to have his jersey and number retired.
Strong Safety: Brian Dawkins
Brian Dawkins has it all: the coverage skills, the tackling, the aggressiveness. All that you want in a safety, Dawkins has it.
Able to play both positions, Dawkins made his name as one of the best all-time safeties at Clemson and one of the more notable ones in the NFL, and could probably be the first and only Clemson player enshrined in the NFL Hall of Fame.
Safety: DeAndre McDaniel
The safety who was closest to Dawkins' level during their time with Clemson was DeAndre McDaniel, who had the coverage skills and ability to make the secondary thrive. The Tigers sorely missed McDaniel in 2011 as a deep safety.
Kicker/Punter: Chris Gardocki
A master of both kicking and punting, Gardocki pulled double duty during his time at Clemson, and excelled at both, enjoying a decent career with the Pittsburgh Steelers. If Tiger fans can remember one kicker or punter, it's Chris Gardocki. After all, he did do both.
Kick and Punt Returners: Jacoby Ford and Justin Miller
It was hard to decide, so both will be listed here as both are some of the greatest return men in Clemson history and both men will be on the field to receive the punts and kickoffs.
Both Ford and Miller have great speed and know how to make their way to the end zone and are special team game-changers.