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Best players in Clemson history: Offensive tackle

Bill D’Andrea, a former coach and administrator at Clemson, says Stacy Long was perhaps the best offensive tackle he saw in his 33 years at Clemson.

Well, D’Andrea was right. In fact, Long is arguably the best offensive tackle to ever where Clemson Orange and White.

The 6-foot-2, 280-pound tackle is the only Clemson offensive tackle to earn All-American honors in back-to-back years. With Long leading the way up front, the Tigers won 38 games in the four years he played for Clemson. The Tigers averaged 234.9 yards on the ground in 1989 and 246.3 yards per outing in 1990.

In 1990, Long was a finalist for the Outland Trophy, just the second Clemson player to ever do so.

Long, who played at Clemson from 1986-’90, was a consensus First-Team All-American his senior year. He was a First-Team Sporting News All-American as a junior as well. He is the only two-time All-American offensive tackle in Clemson history.

Long was one of three finalists for the Outland Trophy in 1990, only the second Clemson player to do so. He was also a first-team All-ACC performer for two years and had 141 knockdown blocks in his career, a record for an offensive tackle.

A two-time ACC Player-of-the-Week in 1990, he was a six-time choice in his career, more than any other Tiger until 2013 when quarterback Tajh Boyd tied the mark. Long was one of the reasons Clemson won 40 games between 1987 and 1990, the fourth best record in college football at the time. Long was named to Clemson’s Centennial team in 1996.

Honorable mentions:

Lou Cordileone (1957-’59): Cordileone was named first-team All-American, Academic All-American and Academic All-ACC in 1959. He started on two ACC Championship teams that were nationally ranked 12th and 11th in 1958 and 1959 respectively. He played in two 1959 bowl games, the Sugar Bowl and the Bluebonnet Bowl. A tremendous athlete, he was a right fielder in the College World Series for the Tigers in 1959. Cordileone was a first-round draft pick in both the NFL and the AFL, he was chosen by the New York Giants in the NFL and the Buffalo Bills in the AFL. He was named to Clemson’s Centennial team in 1996.

Lee Nanney (1978-’81): Nanney was a second-Team UPI All-American in 1981 and helped the Tigers win the national championship. A co-captain on the 1980 and 1981 teams, the native of Spartanburg was a three-year starter for the Tigers. Nanney started 35 straight games between 1979-‘81. He was the winner of the Jacobs Blocking Trophy for the ACC and the state in 1980.

Wayne Mass (1965-’67): Mass was a First-team All-American as a junior and the recipient of the Jacobs Blocking Trophy for the ACC and South Carolina for the 1966 season. Mass was named to Clemson’s Centennial team in 1996.

Barry Richardson (2004-’07): Richardson was a first-team All-American by collegefootballnew.com and a second-team selection by the Walter Camp Foundation in 2007. He was a first-team All-ACC selection as both a senior and as a junior. Richardson was Clemson’s highest grade offensive linemen eight times in 2007, including five consecutive games. He had a season high 9 knockdowns against Furman and then 8.5 against Duke and South Carolina. He graded 93 percent with 8 knockdown blocks in a Clemson win at Maryland. He is considered one of the more reliable offensive linemen in Clemson history as he played in 49 games and started 44 straight to close his career – the second most ever by an offensive tackle at Clemson.

Mitch Hyatt (2015-present): Since Richardson, no offensive tackle has come to Clemson and been this reliable. He has started all but one game since his freshman season. He was the first true freshman to start a season on the offensive line since James Farr in 1980. He is the first true freshman to start at tackle since Phil Prince did it in 1944. In his 30 games, 29 of which are starts, he has 69.5 career knockdown blocks. He is already a two-time All-ACC performer and was a freshman All-American in 2015. In the College Football Playoff in 2017, he posted an 87-percent grade in the Tigers’ win over Ohio State and punctuated his sophomore season with a 90 percent grade and three knockdowns in Clemson’s National Championship clinching win over Alabama.

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