Clemson no longer just ‘Wide Receiver U’

Clemson no longer just ‘Wide Receiver U’


Clemson no longer just ‘Wide Receiver U’


It is much more to NFL teams

Clemson has become known as “Wide Receiver U” due to all the NFL talent it has produced at that position since Dabo Swinney became the head in 2009.

Since Swinney started running the Clemson program, the Tigers have produced more wide receivers who went on to play in the NFL than any other school. Most of those have become starters, including Deandre Hopkins, who has become one of the league’s top receivers.

Hopkins is a four-time All-Pro selection and a four-time Pro Bowl selection. Sammy Watkins, who was the No. 4 overall pick in 2014, played a huge role in Kansas City’s Super Bowl win this past February. Watkins caught the pass that set up the game-winning touchdown for the Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV.

But over the years, Clemson has become known as a program that can recognize and develop players into NFL talent at any position.

On Monday, Clemson produced a graphic for its social media platforms that displays how the program has produced at least one draft pick from every offensive and defensive position group on the team in the last four years. That includes the 2017-2020 NFL Draft Classes. Clemson is one of only seven schools who can make such a claim.

It is no coincidence the Tigers have produced a 55-4 record and won two national championships during those four years, either. In all, 22 Clemson players have been selected in the last four NFL Drafts, including seven that went in the first round.

To take it a step further, Clemson has had at least one player from every position group taken in the first five rounds of the draft since 2017.

When breaking down the draft selections by position groups, it is no surprise that wide receivers do lead in the number of players drafted. In all, five different wide receivers have been selected. That does not include former tight end Jordan Leggett.

After the wide receivers, five defensive backs have been selected in the draft: three cornerbacks and two safeties. Five defensive linemen were also taken: three defensive tackles and two defensive ends.

Two offensive linemen and two linebackers were picked in the last four drafts, and then one quarterback and one running back.

Clemson’s draft picks by position groups since 2017

Quarterback: Deshaun Watson (2017)*

Running back: Wayne Gallman (2017)

Wide receiver: Mike Williams (2017)*, Deon Cain (2018), Ray-Ray McCloud (2018), Hunter Renfrow (2019) and Tee Higgins (2020)

Tight end: Jordan Leggett (2017)

Offensive line: John Simpson (2020) and Tremayne Anchrum (2020)

Defensive line: Carlos Watkins (2017), Clelin Ferrell (2019)*, Christian Wilkins (2019)*, Dexter Lawrence (2019)* and Austin Bryant (2020)

Linebackers: Dorian O’Daniel (2018) and Isaiah Simmons (2020)*

Defensive backs: Cordrea Tankersley (2017), Trayvon Mullen (2019), A.J. Terrell (2020)*, Tanner Muse (2020) and K’Von Wallace (2020)

–Note: *stands for first-round pick

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