2/28: Clemson Football Opens Spring Practice

For Immediate Release


 Clemson, S.C.—Dabo Swinney’s veteran Clemson football team held its first spring practice on Wednesday afternoon at the Poe Indoor Practice Facility.    The entire practice was held inside as a consistent rain fell in Clemson all day.


Swinney welcomed 62 lettermen to practice, 60 that played for the Tigers last year, plus Richard Yeargin and Garrett Williams who lettered in previous seasons.  That is the most returning lettermen in Clemson history by six.   The Tigers also return 17 starters including the two kickers, just one short of the most in Clemson history.  Clemson returned 18 starters in 1977, 1981 and 1988.


The Tigers had only six scholarship seniors last year but will have 21 this year, plus another nine senior walk-ons.


Swinney said that Cole Renfrow, Greg Huegel, James Edwards and Alex Dalton would be held out of practice due to injury.  Braden Galloway, a freshman tight end from Seneca, SC will miss the first part of spring practice after a foot injury suffered last year, but Swinney hopes he will get some action aft spring break.


Swinney also said that defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence will be held out of scrimmages and the spring game, but will do some drill work as he works to get his foot at 100 percent.  Richard Yeargin will have the same status as he recovers from a neck injury.  Zach Giella would also be held from contact as he recovers from an injury.


Swinney was ready to get his charges back on the practice field as the Tigers pursue a fourth straight ACC Championship and fourth straight College Football Playoff Invitation.


“A lot of years we have had a lot experience returning on one side of the ball, but not offense and defense as we do this year,”  said Swinney.  “With all the depth we have we are going to do what we can do to get as many reps for everyone as possible.  “  One of the things Swinney did on Wednesday was have the first and third teams go in one direction on the indoor practice field and the second and fourth teams went in the other direction, so twice as many plays could be run.


Swinney did not comment on any specific position battle or say that he was concerned about a specific position.  But he is looking forward to seeing some players step up to the next level.  “I am looking forward to seeing DeAndre Overton and Tee Higgins take the next level and seeing Amari Rodgers and Cornell Powell cut it loose (all at wide receiver).


“We have to take a good look at the offensive line to see where we need to fit the pieces to make sure we have the five best players on the field.”   On day one, Sean Pollard, who started nine games at right tackle in 2017, was first team at right guard.  John Simpson was first team left guard.


Clemson continues with spring practice work on Friday.  The annual spring game will be held April 14 at Memorial Stadium at 2:30 p.m.  Admission is free.

2/8: Clemson Recruiting Notes on 2018 Class

For Immediate Release

  • Clemson’s 17-member scholarship class included players from eight states.  Six of the players were ranked as the best in their respective state by either ESPN.comor Rivals.com.   Clemson signed the number-one player according to at least one service from North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida,  Ohio, Alabama and Georgia.
  • Twelve of the 17 scholarship players in the class are ranked in the ESPN Top 300, including 10 in the top 150.   It is tied for the most  top 150players according to ESPN in Clemson  history and the most since 2008 when Clemson had 10 top 150 ESPN ranked players in Tommy Bowden’s final recruiting class.
  • Clemson finished fifth in the final ESPN rankings,  the highest finish under Dabo Swinney according to ESPN and the highest since a number-two ranking in 2008.    Clemson finished fourth in the Rivals.comrecruiting rankings in 2015 and fifth in 2016.
  • Clemson has now finished in the top 13 of the ESPN recruiting rankings eight consecutive years, all under Dabo Swinney, and in the top 20 all 13 years ESPN has had recruiting rankings.
  • Clemson is the first school since 2007 and just the second in the 13 years ESPN has had rankings,  to sign three of the top six ESPN prospects.   Southern Cal signed the top three in 2007.   Trevor Lawrence ranked No. 2,  Xavier Thomas #4 and K.J. Henry #6 this year.
  • Mario Goodrich is the first Clemson signee in history from the state Missouri.
  • Over the last two years Clemson has signed just 31 players, but 21 of them have been top 300 players by ESPN.com.
  • Over the last four years, 45 of the 79 signees  (.570)  have been ESPN top 300 prospects and 31 of the 45 have been ranked in the top 150.
  • In terms of top 150 signees from ESPN, Clemson had 10 this year to rank in a tie for fourth in the nation with Alabama.  Clemson now has had 54 top 150 signees since 2010, or Dabo Swinney’s first full recruiting class.
  • Clemson had four USA Today first or second team All-Americans in this class.  Xavier Thomas, Trevor Lawrence and Jackson Carman were first-team selections, while K.J. Henry was a second-team choice.  Lawrence was named the USA Today Offensive Player of the Year.  This ties for the most USA Today All-Americans in one class in Clemson history.   Clemson also had four who made first or second team in 2011 and 2016.
  • Eight new Tigers played in the  recent US Army All-American game and three played in the Under Armour game in Orlando, Fla.  The players in the US Army game were Josh Belk, Jackson Carman, Derion Kendrick, Trevor Lawrence, Justin Mascoll, Kyler McMichael, B.T. Potter and Xavier Thomas.  The players in the Under Armour were Mike Jones, Jr., Justyn Ross and K.J. Henry.
  • As far as players by state based on where they played football last year:  South Carolina (6), Georgia (5), Ohio (1), Alabama (1), Missouri (1), North Carolina (1), Tennessee (1), Florida (1).  It is the most signees from the state of South Carolina since 2015 when Clemson had 11.
  • This is the third straight year Clemson has had at least eight states represented in the signee class.    In 2016 and 2017,  10 states were represented.   The record for the most states represented by one signee class is 14, back in 1989.
  • This decade Clemson has signed 72 players from South Carolina, 38 from Georgia, 26 from North Carolina and 20 from Florida.
  • In his career as Clemson head coach dating to the 2009 recruiting class, Dabo Swinney has signed 207 players from 21 different states.


  • Final top 150 rankings for Clemson signees:  

Trevor Lawrence (1-Rivals, 1-247 Sports, 1 Prepstars, 2-ESPN);  Xavier Thomas (4-247 Sports, 4-ESPN, 5-Rivals, 5-Prepstars);  K.J. Henry (6-ESPN, 26-247 Sports, 26-Rivals, 27-Prepstars);   Justyn Ross (15-Rivals, 101-247 Sports, 57-Prepstars, 74-ESPN; Jackson Carman (6-Prepstars, 49-Rivals, 17-247 Sports, 21-ESPN);  Derion Kendrick (30-247 Sports, 30-Rivals.com, 62-ESPN, 80-Prepstars); Kyler McMichael (53-Rivals, 84-247 Sports, 74-Prepstars, 90-ESPN); Justin Mascoll (92-Prepstars, 102-ESPN, 109-247 Sports); Josh Belk (96-ESPN, 25-247 Sports); Mario Goodrich (99-Rivals,, 133-Prepstars, 148-ESPN).

1/19: Zerrick Cooper to Transfer

Clemson, S.C.—Clemson Reserve quarterback Zerrick Cooper announced on Friday that he intends to transfer from the Tigers program.  The native of Jonesboro, Ga. just finished his red-shirt freshman program with the Tigers and appeared in 10 of the 14 games at quarterback behind starter Kelly Bryant.


“I want to thank Coach (Dabo) Swinney, the Clemson staff and the best fans in college football for an incredible two years,” said Cooper.  “The memories and relationships I have build with my teammates will be truly unforgettable.


“I will miss playing in purple and orange.  However, after much prayer and talking with my family, I have decided to transfer from Clemson University.  This is no reflection on the Clemson family, but rather a direct reflection of my drive to lead, play and compete.  Orange and purple will always be in my heart. “


Cooper completed 25 of 41 passes (.610) for 256 yards and two scores in 104 snaps or participation this year.  He also had 10 rushes for 18 yards.   He saw his most action at Syracuse where he took over for an injured Kelly Bryant in the second half and completed 10 of 14 passes for 88 yards.  He played a career high 29 snaps in that game.  Later in the year he completed 7-11 passes for 105 yards and a touchdown against The Citadel.


Cooper red-shirted during Clemson’s 2016 National Championship season.

ACC Announces 2018 Clemson Football Schedule  

Clemson, S.C. — Clemson plays eight bowl teams who finished with winning records in 2017 according to the 2018 football schedule released by the Atlantic Coast Conference Wednesday. The slate also includes a pair of non-conference games against SEC teams for the eighth time in the last nine years.

The schedule is unusual in that Clemson will not have consecutive home games until the last two games of the season, the first time that has happened since 1986 when the Tigers had just five home games. The schedule alternates home and away games for the first 11 games of the season, a first in school history.

Dabo Swinney’s Tigers will play all 12 of their regular season games on Saturdays for the first time since 2015 and for just the second time in the last seven years.    The open date is on October 13, squarely in the middle of the schedule.

Clemson opens the season against Furman on September 1. The Paladins are Clemson’s oldest football rival, as the schools met in Clemson’s first football game in 1896. It will be the first meeting between the institutions since 2012.

The Tigers then go on the road to face Texas A&M at Kyle Field, a venue that holds over 100,000 fans. It will be Clemson’s first trip to Texas A&M since 2004 when the Aggies defeated the Tigers, 27-6. Clemson won the last meeting 25-24 at Death Valley on a last second field goal by Jad Dean.

Clemson returns home the following Saturday for its third-straight non-conference game against Georgia Southern in the first meeting between the two schools.

The league schedule opens on September 22 at Georgia Tech, the sixth straight year Clemson has had its first league game on the road. Clemson has won at Georgia Tech just once since 2003 and the victory took place in 2016 during Clemson’s National Championship season.

Clemson faces Syracuse in its first ACC home game on September 29th.  The Orange upset the Tigers last year in New York in Clemson’s only regular season loss.

Clemson then travels to Wake Forest for the first game of October on the sixth of the month. The Tigers have won 10 straight games dating to 2011 in the state of North Carolina, including three ACC Championship games played in Charlotte.

After the open date, Clemson returns home to face NC State.  The Tigers have won consecutive games by seven points or less over the Wolfpack, the only ACC opponent to be within a touchdown of the Tigers each of the last two seasons.

Clemson and Florida State meet in Tallahassee on October 27 in a battle of the schools that have won each of the last nine Atlantic Division championships.  Clemson has won each of the last three meetings, including last season’s 31-14 victory which clinched the division title.

Three of Clemson’s four games in November will be at home and the month begins against Louisville on November 3.  The Tigers have defeated Louisville all four years the Cardinals have been in the ACC, but three of the wins have been by a touchdown or less.

Clemson’s final ACC road game will be at Boston College on November 10.  It will be Clemson’s latest trip to Boston on the calendar since the Eagles joined the ACC in 2005. Clemson has won seven straight over the Eagles.

Swinney’s Tigers conclude their ACC slate on November 17 with a home game against Duke, the first meeting between the two schools since 2012, and Duke’s first trip to Death Valley since 2008 when Swinney was the interim coach. Duke has not won at Clemson since 1980.

The regular season schedule concludes on November 24 when South Carolina comes to Clemson. The Tigers have won the annual state rivalry game four consecutive years. 


Date         Opponent

Sept. 1     FURMAN

Sept. 8     at Texas A&M


Sept. 22  at Georgia Tech

Sept. 29  SYRACUSE

Oct. 6       at Wake Forest

Oct. 20    NC STATE

Oct. 27    at Florida State


Nov. 10   at Boston College

Nov. 17   DUKE


1/1: The Empire Strikes Back: Alabama 24 Clemson 6

12-31-17 MFB Sugar Bowl Head Coach Press Conference Nick Saban Photo by Kent Gidley

New Orleans, LA – Vegas was right, and most predictions were wrong – including yours truly. Alabama outplayed and outcoached Clemson in every aspect of the game, and played with the fire that comes from the bitter taste of defeat. Needless to say, the Empire erased all questions about losing their status as kings of the hill.


The saga of the first half was reminiscent of the first half from last year’s national championship. Alabama controlled the game defensively while Clemson struggled on offense.


Alabama kicker Andy Pappanastos’ 33-yard field goal attempt to end the half was blocked but negated due to a false start penalty, and he missed his second chance 38-yard field goal by hitting the upright.


Kendall Joseph forced a Jalen Hurts fumble on the first play of the second half to give Clemson the ball just inside the red zone. The Tigers lost five yards on the disappointing drive, and Alex Spence salvaged the drive with a 44-yard field goal that were the Tigers’ final points.


In every football game, momentum swings back and forth hinging on a few key plays. If a few plays go wrong fast, close games become blowouts fast, which is what happened in the Super Dome.


Clemson was on Alabama’s 35 after the Tide’s three and out, charging to take the lead in this defensive battle. Kelly Bryant threw an ugly pass straight to the Tide’s freakish defensive lineman Da’Ron Payne, whom ran the ball back 21 yards. To make matters worse, a horse collar call on Tremayne Anchrum gave Alabama the ball with 27 yards left to score.


Shortly after Damien Harris’ 4-yard run on fourth-and-1, Da’Ron Payne caught a Hurts pass as a jumbo tight end to extend the lead to 17-6.


Mack Wilson returned Kelly Bryant’s interception 18 yards for a pick six to start Clemson’s drive, and all momentum was deflated as the Tide extended their lead 24-6 with 5:27 in the third quarter.


The rest of the half was filled with six drives that ended in punts until Clemson failed to score a touchdown on 4th and goal in garbage time, leaving the final score at 24-6.


Unlike close losses where the bad calls or mistakes keep one up at night, Alabama dominated Clemson in every possible way due to a strong second half.


The offense failed to establish the run as Kelly Bryant carried the ball 19 times, while the top three running backs combined for 13 carries. Kelly missed most of the key throws he was asked to make, and the play calling did him no favors.


The designed runs were few, the pass protection was porous against the Tide’s impressive defensive line, and the passing game couldn’t keep the defense honest.


The defense performed valiantly in the sense that they held Alabama to 17 points and came up with several key stops. On the other hand, Jalen Hurts had all of the time in the world to extend the play and either run or find his open man due to the pass rushing struggles. The Tigers allowed under four yards a rush, but in this game it simply wasn’t enough.


While some players and units struggled more than others, there is no one aspect of the game, position group, or side of the ball that is to blame. All of the issues are interwoven with each other, and Clemson didn’t help themselves in any manner.


Despite the sour taste in the mouths of Clemson fans, this “rebuilding year” defied the naysayers and there is a bright future for the Tigers in 2018 and beyond.



1/1: Clemson Bama III Preview

12-31-17 MFB Sugar Bowl Head Coach Press Conference Nick Saban Photo by Kent Gidley

While Vegas favors Alabama by a field goal, most fans from both sides think that Clemson has a slight advantage on paper. Clemson is the number one seed and the “attacking” national champion (in Coach Swinney’s words), while Alabama is the blue blooded dynasty looking for revenge.


Both teams pass the 50% blue chip recruit threshold to win a national championship – so even though Alabama has recruited slightly better than Clemson, the talent differential is minimal.


Offensive coordinator Brian Daboll has been an underwhelming replacement for Lane Kiffin, whom is performing spectacularly at #theFAU.


Jalen Hurts has thrown 15 scores and only one interception to pair with 768 yards and 8 scores on the ground, yet there was talk of freshman backup Tua Tagovailoa pushing Hurts for the starting job this year.


Junior running backs Damien Harris and Bo Scarbrough are the main running backs, and they along with Jalen Hurts are the three players with over 100 rushing attempts. Sophomore Josh Jacobs is also the third ‘co-starter’, and talented freshman Najee Harris isn’t far behind the other three.


The Tide’s main receiving threat is Calvin Ridley – he has 55 catches and 896 yards receiving, while no other player has more than 14 catches or 244 yards receiving. The 23-year old true junior could be a first round pick this spring and is Hurts’ favorite target.


Alabama’s defense lacks many of the stars of the past two matchups with the Tigers, and their defense is not as suffocating as previous Tide defenses were. Alabama is healthier than they were a month ago, but it may not be enough to go head to head with Clemson.


This is arguably the first time that Alabama has looked mortal this decade, while Clemson’s predicted drop off has yet to come. There is more confidence surrounding the Tigers this time than in the previous two meetings, but it will still be a tough game down to the wire.


If Clemson wins, this could symbolize the official changing of the guard as the premier dynasty in college football.


Prediction: Clemson 42 Alabama 38

Clemson Set to Face Alabama in 2018 Allstate Sugar Bowl on Monday

12-31-17 MFB Sugar Bowl Head Coach Press Conference Nick Saban Photo by Kent Gidley

Tigers and Crimson Tide will meet for the third time in College Football Playoff

NEW ORLEANS, La. – The Clemson football team wrapped up preparations for the Allstate Sugar Bowl on Sunday.

Monday’s Semifinal matchup will mark the 18th pairing between Alabama and Clemson in the history of the two schools, with the Crimson Tide owning a 13-4 series advantage. The two most recent matchups came in the 2016 and 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Games. Alabama rallied to defeat the No. 1 Tigers, 45-40, to capture the Tide’s 16th national championship in the 2016 game in Glendale, Ariz. The Tigers then returned the favor with a come-from-behind, 35-31, win in the 2017 championship in Tampa, Fla.

Clemson Signee Bios on December 20, 2017

Josh Belk, DT

Lewisville High School, Fort Lawn, SC

A national top 100 player by ESPN.com, he ranks No. 88 nationally, second in the state of South Carolina and the fifth best defensive tackle in the nation by that website…rated No. 139 nationally by Rivals.com, who see Belk as third best player in the state and 11th best defensive tackle in the nation…played defensive tackle for Lewisville High School where he helped team to a 9-4 season and the third round of playoffs…All-Regional and All-State by High School Sports Report (for all classes) and Coaches Class A All-State…finished the year with 116 tackles, 34 tackles for loss, 11 sacks, seven caused fumbles, a recovered fumble and a pass deflection…probably had best game against Lamar with 10 tackles and three tackles for loss…named to the U.S. Army All-American Game…played his high school football at Lewisville for Will Mitchell…comes to Clemson from the same school that sent former Clemson All-ACC running back Wesley McFadden and former Clemson and NFL linebacker Michael Barber to Clemson…lettered in basketball as a freshman and sophomore…committed to the Tigers on 01/29/2017…recruited by Jeff Scott and Todd Bates.

Jackson Carman, OL

Fairfield Sr High, Cincinnati, Ohio

One of the top players regardless of position in the nation…one of five finalists for USA Today National Offensive Player of the Year, quite a distinction for an offensive lineman….first-team USA Today All-American…one of the top 20 players in the nation by all recruiting services…ranked 12th overall and the No. 1 offensive tackle and No. 1 player in Ohio byESPN.com…ranked 14th overall, first in Ohio and first among all offensive tackles by Rivals.com…247sports lists him No. 20 overall, the second best offensive tackle and the top player in Ohio…US Army All-American who is a finalist for the Anthony Munoz National Lineman of the Year…played his high school football for Jason Krause….selected Clemson over Ohio State and Southern California….announced he was signing with Clemson on signing day, December 20, 2017…recruited by Clemson offensive line coach Robbie Caldwell…

Lyn-J Dixon, RB 

Taylor County High School, Butler, Georgia

One of the top running backs in the nation, he gained over 5,000 yards in his high school career…ranked as the No. 168 overall player in the nation by ESPN.com…ranked ninth among running backs and 22nd among players in the state of Georgia…No. 10 running back in the nation by Rivals.com…limited his senior year due to injury, played in just six games, but still averaged 108 yards per game and 8.9 yards per rush…he scored 11 rushing touchdowns and 13 overall…as a junior in 2016 had 229 rushes for 1914 yards for 35 touchdowns….had 38 touchdowns overall…as a sophomore  had 156 for 1311 yards and 14 rushing touchdowns…had 23 touchdowns overall….had 171-1301 rushing yards as a freshman…scored 13 rushing touchdowns…overall for four years, had 629 carries for 5174 yards and 73 rushing touchdowns…had 88 total touchdowns…fine receiver as well, he had 76 receptions for 1088 yards and nine scores in his career…finished with 7201 all-purpose yards in his career…in spot duty, averaged 30 yards on kickoff returns and 25 yards on punt returns…scored 536 points in his four years in 37 games, 14.5 points per game…averaged 2.4 touchdowns per game…played his high school football for Mark Wilson…signed with Clemson on December 20, 2017….recruited by Tony Elliott and Robbie Caldwell.

Braden Galloway, TE

Seneca High School, Anderson, SC

All-around athlete who played tight end and quarterback for nearby Seneca High School…. comes to Clemson from the same high school that produced former Clemson All-American and Pittsburgh Steelers great Bennie Cunningham..…two-sport athlete at Seneca…did not start playing football until 2016, his junior year…finished that year with 50 catches for 834 yards and nine scores….played quarterback at start of his senior year (2017) and had 107 yards rushing, 102 yards passing, 22 yards receiving and three touchdowns against Chapman in first game…but in second game of the year suffered a foot injury that forced him to miss six weeks…came back at midseason and threw for 181 yards and two scores, but felt pain in the foot the next week and did not play the rest of the season…. outstanding player on the hardwood, he was the Region I-AAA Player of the Year in basketball in 2016-17….averaged 20.1 points and 8.1 rebounds as a junior….averaged 15.9 points a game as a sophomore…made 100 three-point goals over his sophomore and junior seasons… ranked as the #1 overall TE in the state of South Carolina by Scout.com…ranked as 13th best player in South Carolina by Rivals.com and 247 Sports… played football at Seneca High for Hal Capps…committed to the Tigers on 04/08/2017…recruited by Brent Venables and Danny Pearman.

K.J. Henry, DL

West Forsyth High School, Winston-Salem, NC

One of the top players in the nation by all services…ranked as No. 5 overall player in the nation by ESPN.com, No. 8 by 247 Sports and No. 23 by Rivals.com…listed as the top player in North Carolina by ESPN.com and 247 Sports…Rivals.com lists Henry as the second best overall player in North Carolina…listed as third best player at his position by all three of the major recruiting services…second-team USA Today All-American…5 star player by ESPN and 247 Sports….will play in Under Armour All-American game in Orlando….played his high school football for Adrian Snow…committed on the early signing day, Dec. 20, 2017, on ESPN….recruited by Mike Reed and Todd Bates.

Darnell Jefferies, DT

Newton High School, Covington, Ga.

Played defensive tackle for Newton High School each of the last two seasons…had 65 total tackles in 11 games as a senior….had 19 tackles for loss and seven sacks… had season high 11 tackles vs. Archer High…had five tackles for loss vs. South Gwinnett…also played some tight end and had seven catches for 70 yards and a touchdown…named the Region 8-6A Defensive Player of the year…received Player of the Week honors from the Atlanta Touchdown Club for the Week of November 17th…he had a pick-six in that game… Georgia All-Region selection as well…ranked as No. 22 defensive tackle in Georgia by ESPN.com…had 76 tackles, five tackles for loss and two sacks in 2016….had incredible 42 quarterback pressures…played his high school football for Terrance Banks…also played high school basketball and track as a junior…committed to the Tigers on 06/12/2017….recruited by Todd Bates and Tony Elliott.

Mike Jones Jr., LB

IMG Academy (FL), Nashville, Tenn.

A national top 250 player by ESPN and 247 Sports…ESPN lists Jones as the No. 202 player in the nation, the eighth best outside linebacker…247 Sports calls him the No. 209 player and the 15th best OLB…played linebacker for IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., but his hometown is Nashville, Tenn.…had five tackles for loss in seven games… played his senior year at IMG, helping that team to a No. 2 final national ranking and a 9-0 record…played two years at IMG, helped team to 11-0 record in 2016…team was ranked fourth in the nation that year…had 22 tackles, five tackles for loss, five PBUs and a fumble recovery in 2016….IMG was 20-0 in his two years there..… will play in Under Armour All-American game in Orlando…considered a 4-star prospect by Rivals.com… he had 11 touchdown passes and ran for another 10 scores in 2014 at high school in Nashville, Tenn….had 13 sacks and 60 tackles on defense that year ….committed to the Tigers on 06/16/2016….recruited by Tony Elliott and Brent Venables.

Derion Kendrick, WR

South Pointe High School, Rock Hill, SC

A national top 50 player by Rivals.com and 247 Sports…Rivals.com lists Kendrick as the top player in South Carolina and the No. 8 receiver in the nation…247 Sports lists Kendrick as the top player in South Carolina and the No. 5 receiver in the nation…ESPN.com lists him as the No. 80 overall player in the nation, the top player in South Carolina and the No. 8 receiver…Gatorade Player of the Year in South Carolina…played at a South Pointe program that won the state championship each of the last four years….Kendrick played wide receiver as a sophomore and played quarterback the last two years…completed 184-255 passes for 2,683 yards and 30 touchdowns against just six interceptions in 2017…also had 119 rushes for 1,194 yards and 20 scores…so had 50 touchdowns rushing and passing…in state semifinal playoff game against Greer, Kendrick had seven touchdowns, five rushing and two passing….rushed for 162 and completed 16-21 passes for 240 yards in that game….as a junior in 2016, completed 182 of 288 for 2,625 yards and 29 touchdowns against just six interceptions…had 110 rushes for 488 yards and five scores…so had 59/12 touchdown /interception ratio his last two years…had three touchdown receptions as a sophomore against Northwestern High School… teammates with fellow 2018 class Clemson commit BT Potter….played in the Shrine Bowl for South Carolina as a wide receiver, he had a 52-yard touchdown receptions…will play in US Army All-American game in San Antonio on Jan. 6…won USA Today’s Super 25 Top Star for the week of Oct. 26-28 after accounting for four touchdowns in a game…named a finalist for U.S. Army Player of the Year Award… a consensus 4-star prospect by every major recruiting website… played at South Pointe High for Strait Herron…committed to the Tigers on 01/28/2017…recruited by Jeff Scott.

Trevor Lawrence, QB

Cartersville High School, Cartersville, Ga

Considered the No. 1 overall player in the nation by Rivals.com and 247 Sports and the No. 2 player by ESPN.com…unanimous five-star player…National Offensive Player of the Year by  USA Today Offensive Player of the Year…first-team Quarterback on USA Today All-American team…top quarterback in the nation and top player from the state of Georgia from Rivals and 247 Sports…No. 2 player in Georgia by ESPN…Gatorade Player of the Year in Georgia in 2016 and 2017…four-year starter at quarterback  at Cartersville High School, he began starting in third game of his freshman year and finished 52-2 as starter for his career… led program to a 41-game winning streak at one point…had 14-2 record as a starter in the playoffs over his career…led Cartersville to four region titles, two state titles and three state playoff Final Fours….passed for 13,908 yards during his four-year career and threw  for 161 touchdowns…had just 21 interceptions against those 161 touchdown passes…broke state records for passing yards and touchdown passes previously held by Deshaun Watson…in 2017 had 41 touchdown passes and just one interception…in 12 games in 2017 he completed 177 of 256 passes for 3,396 yards, a .700 completion percentage…also had 30-200 rushing and two scores…as a senior led Cartersville to a 52-45 victory over Bartram Trail in a nationally televised game on ESPN …averaged 19.6 yards per completion as a senior…in 2016 as a junior led team to 15-0 record by completing 250 of 406 passes for 3904 yards…threw career high 51 touchdown passes with just nine interceptions… as a sophomore, led team to state title with a 15-0 record by completing 233 of 364 for 3655 yards and 43 touchdowns against just four interceptions…also had 52 rushes for 235 yards and four scores… had four 300-yard passing games in 2015…as a freshman in 2014 began starting with the third game of the season…. for the year was 187-310 for 3053 yards and 26 touchdowns against seven interceptions…two-time state AAAA champion in the state of Georgia…competed in the Elite 11 finals…named an Elite 11 Quarterback…invited to Nike’s annual The Opening in Oregon last summer……first-team All-state in Georgia 4A his last three years…Offensive player of the year and first team AAAA All-State in 2015, 2016 and 2017… wore No. 16 in high school…played at Cartersville High for Joey King…former Clemson football player Kyle Tucker is also an assistant coach on that staff…committed to the Tigers on 12/16/2016…plans to enroll at Clemson on January 8, 2018, just two days after playing in the US Army All-American game…recruited by Brandon Streeter.

Justin Mascoll, DE

South Gwinnett High School, Snellville, Ga.

Ranked as the No. 43 overall player in the nation by ESPN.com…that site also sees him as the eighth best player in Georgia and the sixth best defensive end in the nation…played linebacker and defensive end for South Gwinnett High School…had 59 tackles in 2017, including 12.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks…had 68 tackles in 2016 as a junior, he had nine tackles for loss and eight sacks…had 14 quarterback pressures that season …ranked a 4-star prospect by 247Sports…was a first-team all-region 8-A linebacker his senior year… will play in US Army All-American game in San Antonio on Jan. 6 …played at South Gwinnett for Steve Davenport…committed to the Tigers on 03/17/2017…recruited by Tony Elliott, Mickey Conn and Todd Bates.

Jordan McFadden,  OL

Dorman High School, Spartanburg, SC

Played offensive tackle for Dorman High School in Spartanburg…selected for the South Carolina team in the Shrine Bowl..… named the Lineman of the Year for the State of South Carolina by the State Newspaper…helped Dorman to the 5A state championship game his senior year….Dorman finished with a 12-3 record…McFadden was a big reason Dorman averaged 277 rushing yards per game and scored 71 touchdowns…team had two players with at least 1,200 yards rushing…ranked as the 10th best player in South Carolina byESPN.com…listed as the 16th best player in South Carolina by 247 Sports and the 20th best by Rivals.com…played at Dorman high for Dave Gutshall…wore No. 73 at Dorman High…also played basketball at Dorman and helped that team to 23-5 record in 2016-17…committed to the Tigers on 12/09/2017….recruited by Jeff Scott and Robbie Caldwell.

Kyler McMichael, CB

Greater Atlanta Christian Academy, Atlanta, Ga.

A National top 125 overall signee by all three major services…ranked No. 71 in the nation by 247 Sports…they also list him as the No. 11 overall player in Georgia and the 12th best cornerback…Rivals.com lists McMichael as the 85th best overall player in the nation, the 12th best player in Georgia and the fourth best cornerback in the nation…ESPN.com ranks him No. 113 overall, the 11th best athlete and the 18th best player in Georgia…played running back and cornerback at the Greater Atlanta Christian School… will play in US Army All-American game in San Antonio on Jan. 6…as a running back in 2017 scored 24 touchdowns and had 1,483 yards on 128 carries, a 11.6 average…… had 24 total touchdowns in 2017, all rushing…had a streak of eight straight games with multiple touchdowns during the 2017 season.… had at least 100 yards in each of his last five games and eight of the 14 games in 2017…had 14-154 vs. Jenkins High…finished senior year with 1,639 all purpose yards…named to the Atlanta Constitution’s Super 11 team for 2017…had 19 solo tackles in 14 games  his senior year…helped team to a 12-2 record and the Final Four of the state tournament….as a junior had 1,493 rushing yards and averaged nine yards per carry…scored 16 touchdowns rushing…had career high 21 for 196 yards rushing vs. Lovett in season opener of 2016…had five 100-yard games for the season.…finished 2016 with 1,946 all-purpose yards and 18 total touchdowns…first-team all-state as a junior in 2016…helped team to a 13-2 record and the state championship game in 2016…competed at Nike’s The Opening …played his high school football for Tim Hardy….played at North View High School his first two years…committed to Clemson on 06/23/2017….recruited by Tony Elliott, Mickey Conn and Mike Reed.

BT Potter, PK

South Pointe High School, Rock Hill, SC

Considered the #1 overall kicker in the nation according to Chris Sailer …listed as the No. 2 kicker in the nation by Rivals.com…selected to the 2018 U.S. Army All-American game…four-year starter as placekicker at South Pointe high School… made field goals with 12 in 17 attempts as a senior…made 77-81 extra points for the high school state championship team of Rock Hill, SC…his most incredible stat was 117 touchbacks in 126 kickoffs…also handled the punting and averaged 37.1 yards per punt…in 2016 he made 11-15 field goals, including career long of 49 yards…made 49-54 extra points for 82 total points…averaged 39 yards a punt on 45 punts…had 77 kickoffs…as a sophomore in 2015 made 4-7 field goals, including a 43-yarder… made 40-45 extra points and scored 51 points for the year….as a freshman made 4-6  field goals and 45-51 extra points…for career, scored 304 points on 31-45 field goals and 211 extra points…helped the South Pointe team to a 15-0 record in 2017 and the state title…South Pointe won the South Carolina state title all four years…teammate with fellow Clemson commit Derion Kendrick at South Pointe… kicked a 67-yard field goal in a showcase event…played his high school football for Strait Herron…committed to the Tigers on 06/07/2017….recruited by Jeff Scott and Danny Pearman.

Xavier Thomas, DE

IMG Academy (FL), Florence, SC

Ranked among the top defensive players in the nation for IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.…IMG was 9-0 this year and ranked No. 2 in the nation by Max Preps…a finalist for the National Defensive Player of the Year Award by the US Army All-American game, that winner will be announced on Jan. 5…also finalist for the Anthony Munoz National Lineman of the Year…rated as the No. 3 overall player in the nation by ESPN.com and 247 Sports, he is the No. 4 overall player by Rivals.com…first-team USA Today All-American…the top player in the state of Florida by all three services and the top defensive end in the nation by all three…teammate of Clemson signee Mike Jones…will play in US Army All-America game January 6, 2018…played defensive line for Wilson High School in Florence, SC before transferring to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla…had eight sacks, 21 tackles for loss and 59 total tackles as a true freshman playing on varsity at Wilson in 2014…also had 21 quarterback pressures…followed it up with nine sacks, 13 tackles for loss and 70 tackles at Wilson his sophomore year, 2015…also had some time at running back…had career high 20-209 rushing against Myrtle Beach…finished year with 59-568 and eight touchdowns, a 9.6 yards per carry figure…had 34 tackles and eight tackles for loss this past season at IMG Academy’s talented team in Bradenton, Fla…also had a blocked punt recovery for a touchdown in 2017…played just eight games at IMG…. competed at the 2017 The Opening hosted by Nike in Oregon…unanimous five-star recruit …played at IMG Academy for Kevin Wright… committed to the Tigers on 04/08/2017….recruited by Danny Pearman, Brent Venables and Todd Bates.

Jake Venables, LB

Daniel High School, Clemson, SC

Played Outside linebacker for Daniel High School… ranked as the fifth overall prospect in the state of South Carolina and 30th best linebacker in the nation by 247sports…listed as the seventh best player in South Carolina and No. 32 linebacker by Rivals.com…named to the All-Region I-AAAA team… played for the South Carolina team in the Shrine Bowl…had 70 tackles during his senior season at Daniel High, he had 22 tackles for loss, five of which were sacks…had an 85-yard interception return for a touchdown against Westside early in the season…had season high 15 tackles against Pickens…also a starter as a sophomore and junior….played his high school football for Jeff Fruster….wore No. 15 at Daniel…also played on the Daniel basketball team in 2016-17…committed to Clemson on 12/18/2016, his dad’s birthday, he will sign with Clemson just two days after his dad’s birthday, Dec. 20, 2017… son of Clemson Defensive Coordinator Brent Venables, the winner of the 2016 Frank Broyles Award. …recruited by Brent Venables

Swinney Finalist for Four National Coach of the Year Awards

Clemson, S.C.—Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney is a finalist for four national Coach of the Year Awards.   Swinney has the Tigers ranked No. 1 in the nation according to Associated Press, Amway Coaches Poll and the College Football Playoff Poll entering the bowl season.

Swinney is a finalist for the Associated Press Coach of the Year, the Bear Bryant Award, the Munger Award and the Bobby Dodd Award.  He was also a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Award presented by the Football Writers Association, but that honor was awarded to Scott Frost of Central Florida.

Swinney has been named a National Coach of the Year four times in the last six years.  He won the Bobby Dodd Award in 2011,  was the FCA National Coach of the Year in 2013 and won 10 different coach of the year honors in 2015.  Last year when the Tigers won the National Championship he was won the Bear Bryant Award for the second consecutive year.  He is the only coach to win that honor two years in a row and is a finalist again this season.

Now in his 10th season as Clemson Head Coach, he has posted a record of 101-29.  He is just the fourth coach in FBS history with at least 100 wins in his first 10 years as a head coach, joining Urban Meyer, Chris Petersen and Bob Stoops.   He has led Clemson to eight top 25 final rankings in his nine full seasons (including this year), and has seven bowl wins, second most in ACC history.  He is just the fourth  coach to reach 100 wins as an ACC coach.

Clemson has been ranked for 51 consecutive weeks, a school record, including 42 straight in the top 10, also a school record and tied for the longest active streak in the nation.   At Clemson he is second in career wins behind Frank Howard’s 165 and is first in wins over top 25 teams with 26.  That includes an 11-1 record in head to head meetings with top 15 teams over the last three years.

This year Clemson is 12-1 overall with an ACC Championship game victory over No. 7 Miami by a 38-3 score.   That was Swinney’s fourth ACC Championship, his third in a row.  It is the first time in 29 years Clemson has won three ACC Championships in a row.

The Dodd Trophy Announces 2017 Finalists

Renowned list of coaches recognized for success on the field, as well as the classroom and community. 

ATLANTA (December 15, 2017) – Officials from the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation and Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl have announced the finalists for the 2017 Dodd Trophy. Finalists include seven of the nation’s top coaches in college football who embody the award’s three pillars of scholarship, leadership and integrity, both on and off the field.

“We’re thrilled to have such a diverse group of coaches from across the country who have distinguished themselves as finalists for this prestigious award,” said Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Chairman Percy Vaughn. “These seven coaches stood out above the rest, not only for having successful football seasons, but also for their efforts within their communities and commitment to empower their student athletes to succeed in the classroom as well.”

“We’re proud to award The Dodd Trophy each year to a coach who excels in all areas of the profession.  It would be easy to choose a winner based on only the performance on the field, but Coach Dodd stood for more than that,” said Jim Terry, chairman of the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation. “All of these finalists truly exemplify the type of leadership that Bobby Dodd valued and are noteworthy candidates to join the esteemed group of former Dodd Trophy recipients.”

This year’s finalists represent five conferences (AAC, ACC, Big Ten, Pac-12, SEC) and have combined for a 2017 record of 76-12. Overall, the seven coaches have a combined 55 years of head coaching experience and 513 wins among them.

The 2017 Dodd Trophy Finalists:


Coach School CFP Ranking APR Score
Paul Chryst Wisconsin No. 6 990
Pat Fitzgerald Northwestern No. 21 995
Scott Frost UCF No. 12 984
Mark Richt Miami No. 10 965
David Shaw Stanford No. 13 985
Kirby Smart Georgia No. 3 961
Dabo Swinney Clemson No. 1 980


Finalists were selected by a panel consisting of all previous winners, national media, a member of the Dodd family and a College Football Hall of Fame member. Of note, winners of the award from the previous two years and first-year coaches at an institution are not eligible to be finalists.

The winner of the 2017 Dodd Trophy will be selected from the list of finalists by the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation, and will be announced in Atlanta during Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Week.


About the Dodd Trophy
The Dodd Trophy was established in 1976 to honor the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division 1A) head football coach whose program represents the highest ideals on and off the field. The award honors the coach of a team which enjoys a successful football season, while also stressing the importance of academic excellence and character, as did Coach Dodd’s teams during his 22 years as head football coach of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Coach Dodd remains one of college football’s legendary figures, both as a coach and a player. Coach Dodd was a native of Galax, Virginia, and played his college ball at the University of Tennessee where his team had 27 wins, one loss and two ties during the three years he played. Coach Dodd was selected to the National College Football Hall of Fame both as a coach and as a player. Additional information about the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation can be found at www.TheDoddTrophy.com. For news, updates and insider information, follow us on Twitter at @DoddTrophy or find us on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/DoddTrophy.


About Peach Bowl, Inc.
Peach Bowl, Inc. operates the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, one of the New Year’s Six Bowls selected to host the College Football Playoff. This season, the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl is celebrating its Golden Season, including its 50-year history of traditions and successes as the nation’s ninth-oldest bowl organization. The Bowl has earned a reputation as one of the most competitive bowls in the country, with 53 percent of its games being decided by a touchdown or less. Peach Bowl, Inc. has disbursed $160 million in team payouts over its 50-year history and has increased team payout every year since 1996. The Bowl also leads all other bowl game organizations in charitable and scholarship contributions, giving more than $21 million to organizations in need since 2002. Peach Bowl, Inc. also runs the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Challenge charity golf tournament and manages The Dodd Trophy national coach of the year award. For more information, visit Chick-fil-APeachBowl.com or follow us on Twitter at @CFAPeachBowl and find us on Facebook at Facebook.com/CFAPeachBowl.