Through the years, Clemson Football has had countless All-Americans and All-Conference players to help it become one of college football’s best programs.
With that said, who wore their number the best? Clemson has retired just three numbers it is proud history. Steve Fuller’s No. 4, C.J. Spiller’s No. 28 and Banks McFadden’s No. 66. However, the Tigers have had many decorated players wear those numbers and more.
Who wore what number the best? We continue our series with who wore No. 6 the best at Clemson.
There are several options on who wore the No. 6 jersey the best at Clemson.
Charlie Whitehurst comes to mind first. The former quarterback not only set countless school records while he was under center at Clemson from 2002-’05, but he is still the only quarterback in history at either school to go 4-0 in the Clemson-South Carolina rivalry. That reason alone is why Clemson fans will forever adore Charlie Whitehurst.
Former wide receiver Jacoby Ford was another candidate to grab the honor as the best to wear No. 6. Ford became a major playmaker at Clemson from 2006-’09, as both a wide receiver and as a kick returner.
Linebacker Dorian O’Daniel wore No. 6 with great pride from 2014-’17. He became an All-American in 2017, and in 2016, he helped the Tigers win a national championship for the first time in 35 years.
However, it is hard to go against DeAndre Hopkins as the best to ever wear the No. 6 jersey at Clemson.
When Hopkins played for Clemson from 2010-’12, he thought every college program was like Clemson’s. Of course, he knew there were probably a few differences, but he did not realize how unique the Clemson Football Program was until he made it to the NFL.
“People do not understand. This is not just a typical program,” Hopkins said to Clemson wide receivers’ coach Tyler Grisham back in April on Instagram. “You really do not understand that until you are around other players that played at other programs.”
Hopkins learned how special Clemson was after he got drafted in the 2013 NFL Draft by the Houston Texans. The former Clemson receiver believes so many former Tigers have had success in the NFL, especially the wide receivers, because of the Clemson Culture.
“I think that has a lot to do with Clemson University. I have been in the locker room with a lot of other guys who did not have the success that I had in college and they expected to come in and never play special teams,” he said. “My first year in the NFL, I was first round, 27th draft pick, but my mindset was, I was going to do whatever I have to do to help my team win. I think that comes from being at Clemson. That mindset of doing whatever they have to do for their team to succeed is definitely one of the big reasons.”
Hopkins was at the start of Clemson’s current success in football. In 2011, he helped the Tigers win their first ACC Championship in 20 years, while in 2012, he made one of the greatest catches in Clemson history—a sliding catch on fourth-and-16—to beat LSU in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
“I’m around a lot of guys from Clemson that don’t have egos. I am around a lot of different guys from different programs that have not had the success of a Clemson, but those guys’ egos are through the roof,” Hopkins said. “You would think they won a couple of ACC Championships or had 18 touchdowns in one season, but you come into contact with a person from Clemson and our mindset is to keep our head down and grind. I think that has been the success.”
When he finished his career at Clemson, Hopkins was first in school history in receiving yards (3,020), first in touchdown receptions (27) and second in catches (206). Though they have since been broken, he also set a freshmen record for catches (52) and yards (637) as a freshman and set all-time single-season records for catches (82) and yards (1,405) in 2012. His 18 touchdown catches in 2012 still stand as a single-season record at Clemson.
Since Hopkins’ time in Tigertown, Clemson has become one of the elite programs in the country. Hopkins was on the first two teams to win 10-plus games, which has now stretched to nine straight seasons.
The Tigers are the only program in the country that can claim it is currently on a five-year streak in which it has won 12-plus games. The Tigers’ 69 wins during that time is the most of any program in the country.
Clemson has also won five straight ACC Championships, had five appearances in the College Football Playoff, four appearances in the national championship game and has won two national championships.
“You have to have that family component to make guys want to play for each other in the first place to win those championships, to get to that championship. Without that, you are not going to get nothing,” Hopkins said.
“You kind of get a bigger picture of what Clemson has become to be. It has really been like one family.”
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