K.D. Dunn has enjoyed watching Clemson’s recent success on the football field.
Like many former Tigers from the 1981 National Championship team, Clemson’s recent success and national championship runs in 2016 and 2018 have led to a lot of reminiscing for the former All-ACC tight end.
“It is good to see that same feeling come back with them winning,” Dunn said. “I am always rooting for them and things like that. I have been behind them hundred percent. I believed in them each year and then they finally did it, and then they did it again. It is exciting. I feel like I was on the sideline.”
Dunn was a freshman 40 years ago when Little ole Clemson shocked the world and won the 1981 National Championship. No one gave them a chance to beat Nebraska in the 1982 Orange Bowl. However, the Tigers dominated the game and won 22-15.
The final score was not an indication of how much the Tigers dominated the game. After the game, legendary Nebraska head coach Tom Osborne said Clemson was the most physical team they played all season.
“It was a magical year in 1981,” Dunn recalls. “No one ever thought Clemson (could win), and no one did not even know where Clemson was at the time.”
Dunn is considered one of the greatest tight ends to play at Clemson. Though the tight end position was not utilized in college football the way it is used today, he still had a great career at Clemson.
“The tight end position has changed a lot. I probably would have been drafted a little higher if I was playing now,” he said with a big grin.
Dunn was first-team All-ACC selection in 1983 after he caught 17 passes for 236 yards and five touchdowns. He followed up his junior season with a career-best 19 receptions for a career-high 261 yards and two touchdowns in 1984.
He finished his Clemson career with 44 catches for 561 yards and nine touchdowns from 1981-’84.
To compare Dunn’s numbers to that of Jordan Leggett’s when Clemson won the national championship in 2016, it is like comparing apples to oranges. Leggett caught 46 passes for 736 yards and seven touchdowns in 2016 alone.
“Right now, they are splitting them out. They are going in motion. They are lining them out wide and some of them are going against the cornerbacks, I like that,” Dunn said. “With the spread offense, you can do a lot with it, especially with the tight end. If you have a big and fast tight end, you can matchup with any corner, safety, free safety and even a linebacker in the wide-open space.
“You would love to get your hands on it. The spread would have done me well.”
Dunn did alright for himself, though. He was drafted in the fifth-round of the 1985 NFL Draft by the Cardinals and played four seasons in the league.
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