Clemson was represented well on ESPN’s All-Time ACC team, which was released Thursday.
In all, 12 former Tigers made the all-time team, which does not include current players on the all-time list. So. don’t look to see if Trevor Lawrence or Travis Etienne is on this team.
Clemson posted five players on the All-Time ACC First Team. Leading the way was quarterback Deshaun Watson (2014-’16), who led the Tigers to the 2016 National Championship, which he concluded with a game-winning 2-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Hunter Renfrow with one second remaining to beat Alabama in the national championship game.
In his career, Watson went 32-3 as a starter, while also leading Clemson to two ACC Championships and a trip to the national championship game his sophomore season. Watson holds the record for the most passing yards in one season in ACC history with 4,593 yards in 2016. His 41 touchdown passes that season are also an ACC record.
Watson won the Davey O’Brien and Manning Awards in 2015 and ’16 as the nation’s best quarterback and was also the recipient of the Johnny Unitas Award in 2016. He was a two-time Heisman Trophy Finalist and was the ACC Player of the Year in 2015.
Joining Watson on the first team was C.J. Spiller (2006-’09), who made the list as an All-Purpose Player. Spiller still holds the ACC record for All-Purpose yards with 7,588. His 51 total touchdowns are still a Clemson record and rank tied for third all-time in ACC history.
Spiller’s 2,680 all-purpose yards in 2009 are still the ACC record for one season. His four kickoff returns for a touchdown that year are also an ACC record and is his five overall returns. He also had one punt return for a touchdown. Spiller finished sixth in the Heisman Trophy race that season.
Offensive guard Joe Bostic (1975-’78) made the all-time team after a career that saw him earn All-ACC honors in 1977 and ’78, while earning the Jacobs Trophy Award as the conference’s best blocker in 1978. He helped the Tigers go 11-1 and win the 1978 ACC Championship. Clemson finished the year No. 6 in the country.
Cornerback Donnell Woolford (1985-’88) helped the Tigers to three straight ACC titles from 1986-’88, while safety Terry Kinard helped the Tigers win the 1981 National Championship. Kinard was the 1982 National Defensive Player of the Year by CBS and was the first Clemson player to earn unanimous All-American honors.
Kinard, who still owns the Clemson record with 17 career interceptions, was named to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2001 and is a member of Clemson’s Ring of Honor.
Defensive tackle Christian Wilkins, who won two national championships at Clemson from 2015-’18, heads up the second team for the Tigers. He was a three-time All-American at Clemson, while the Tigers had a 55-4 record in his four seasons. He was a unanimous All-American selection in 2018 from a Clemson defense that led the nation in scoring defense, yards allowed per carry, sacks and tackles for loss. They also finished fourth in rushing defense and fifth in total defense.
Wilkins was joined on the second team by former Clemson defenders Jeff Davis and Brian Dawkins.
Davis, who played with Kinard, also helped the Tigers win the 1981 National Championship on a defense that ranked second nationally in scoring defense and was in the top five in total and rushing defense. The linebacker was a first team Associated Press All-American in 1981.
Dawkins was also an All-American for the Tigers, earning that honor in 1995. He finished his Clemson career with 11 interceptions, which is second all-time to Kinard. Last year, the safety became the first former Clemson player to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Four Tigers made ESPN’s third team, including the late great Bennie Cunningham at tight end. He was Clemson’s first two-time All-American in 1974 and ’75. He was a first-round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1976 and went on to win two Super Bowls with the Steelers. He finished his career as the Steelers’ all-time career leader in receptions, yards and touchdowns by a tight end.
Cunningham was named to Clemson’s All-Centennial team in 1996, the ACC’s 50th Anniversary Team in 2003 and the All-Time 75th Anniversary Steelers team in 2008.
Joining Cunningham on the third team was former wide receiver Sammy Watkins as an All-Purpose Player, defensive tackle Michael Dean Perry and defensive end Vic Beasley.
Watkins’ 2,288 All-Purpose yards in 2011 ranks second for a single season in ACC history. He became Clemson’s first three-time First-Team All-American. He holds the Clemson record for career receiving yards and receptions and is tied for the career record in receiving touchdowns.
Perry was the 1987 ACC Player of the Year and a First-Team All-American. The All-Pro defensive tackle finished his Clemson career as the ACC’s all-time sack leader with 28 sacks.
Beasley was a consensus All-American in 2014 and the No. 8 overall pick by the Atlanta Falcons in the NFL Draft in 2015. He finished his career with a Clemson record 33 sacks, which ranks fourth all-time in ACC history.
Clemson Players on ESPN’s All-Time ACC Team
First Team: QB Deshaun Watson; OG Joe Bostic; AP C.J. Spiller; CB Donnell Woolford; S Terry Kinard.
Second Team: DT Christian Wilkins; LB Jeff Davis; S Brian Dawkins
Third Team: TE Bennie Cunningham; AP Sammy Watkins; DT Michael Dean Perry; DE Vic Beasley
ESPN’s All-Time ACC Team selections by schools
- Florida State 17
- Clemson 12
- North Carolina 7
- Virginia 7
- NC State 6
- Maryland 6
- Wake Forest 4
- Duke 3
- Boston College 3
- Miami 2
- Pittsburgh 2
- Virginia Tech 2
- Georgia Tech 2
- Louisville 1
- Syracuse 1
- South Carolina 0
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