On Monday, it was announced former Clemson running back C.J. Spiller was selected for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame.
Spiller becomes Clemson’s eighth inductee in the College Football Hall of Fame and just the fourth player, joining Tiger greats Banks McFadden, Terry Kinard and Jeff Davis. John Heisman, Jess Neely, Frank Howard and Danny Ford are in the Hall of Fame as former head coaches.
Spiller will be the first former player since Davis in 2007 to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame, which sets up a debate on which former Clemson greats will follow Spiller in the next decade.
Former 2-time All-American Donnell Woolford, who was a Consensus All-American in 1988, has already been nominated for inclusion into the Hall of Fame.
To be eligible for the College Football Hall of Fame, a player must first be 10 years removed from the game. He also has to have been a First Team All-American on at least one of the five All-American teams the NCAA recognizes. Those five teams are the Walter Camp, Associated Press, Sporting News, Football Writers Association of America, and the American Football Coaches Association.
Each individual school nominates a player or coach. And this is where another requirement comes in, at least for Clemson anyway. Clemson only nominates players that have graduated.
What that means is two of Clemson’s greatest of all-time, wide receiver Sammy Watkins and defensive end Shaq Lawson will not be nominated by Clemson unless they return to school and earn their college degrees.
Former wideout DeAndre Hopkins will also not be eligible because he was not selected during his playing career to one of the five First Team All-American squads the NCAA recognizes.
From the older teams, Brian Dawkins, who was enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2018, will not be eligible for the College Football Hall of Fame because he was not named a First Team All-American during his time at Clemson from 1992-’95.
Spiller is the first Tiger who played under Dabo Swinney to be selected for enshrinement into the College Football Hall of Fame, but he is not going to be the last. The odds are good, Clemson will double the number of players it has had selected in the next 10 to 15 years.
Former Swinney eligible players that could get into the College Football Hall of Fame:
DaQuan Bowers, DE, (2008-’10): Unanimous All-American, Bronko Nagurski Award, Hendricks Award
Dwayne Allen, TE, (2009-’11): All-American, Winner of the John Mackey Award
Tajh Boyd, QB, (2010-’13): All-American, ACC Player of the Year
Vic Beasley, DE, (2011-’14): 2-time All-American, Consensus All-American, ACC Defensive Player of the Year
Deshaun Watson, QB, (2014-’16): Consensus All-American, 2-time Davey O’Brien winner, Heisman runner-up
Christian Wilkins, DT, (2015-’18): 3-time All-American, Unanimous All-American, Campbell Trophy winner
Clelin Ferrell, DE, (2016-’18): 2-time All-American, Consensus All-American, Hendricks Award
Mitch Hyatt, OT, (2015-’18): 2-time All-American, Consensus All-American, 2-time Jacob’s Trophy winner
Isaiah Simmons, LB, (2017-’19): Unanimous All-American, Butkus Award winner
Travis Etienne, RB, (2017-’20): 2-time All-American, 2-time ACC Player of the Year
Trevor Lawrence, QB, (2018-’20): All-American, ACC Player of the Year, Heisman runner-up