5 Greatest Clemson Football Players of All Time

Zach Brunner
The greatest players in Clemson football history include quarterback Deshaun Watson.
The greatest players in Clemson football history include quarterback Deshaun Watson. / Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
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The Clemson Tigers have dominated college football for the past few seasons, but they also have a rich program history that features plenty top talent. Many of these players went on to have successful careers in the NFL, but it shouldn't overshadow their accomplishments with the Tigers.

These are the five greatest players in Clemson program history.

5. Sammy Watkins, WR, 2011-13

Clemson has produced some incredible playmakers in recent years, and Sammy Watkins may be the most explosive of them all, highlighted by the only two 200-yard receiving games in program history. Watkins leads the program with 3,391 receiving yards and is tied for most receiving touchdowns (27). He added another 339 yards and a touchdown on the ground, as well as a kick return touchdown.

4. C.J. Spiller, RB, 2006-09

C.J. Spiller was one of the most explosive running backs in college football history, being a big-play threat from anywhere on the field. He ranks fourth in program history, with 3,547 rushing yards and 32 touchdowns. He added another 1,420 yards and 11 touchdowns through the air, making him the school's all-time leader in yards from scrimmage (4,967). Dangerous on special teams as well, Spiller totaled another 8 touchdowns from punt and kick returns.

3. Travis Etienne, RB, 2017-Present

Travis Etienne has crushed Clemson rushing records over the past three seasons. He is now the all-time leaders in rushing yards (4,038) and rushing touchdowns (56). Etienne also showed off how explosive of a runner he his, averaging 7.8 yards per carry. He was also a receiving threat out of the backfield, totaling another 567 yards and 6 touchdowns through the air. He's only 362 yards behind Spiller for that yards from scrimmage record, and he should have no trouble clearing that mark in his final season at Clemson in 2020.

2. Deshaun Watson, QB, 2014-16

Deshaun Watson was a seriously impressive quarterback for the Tigers. He ranks second in school history in passing yards (10,168), while he threw for 90 touchdowns to 32 interceptions. Watson also used his legs as a weapon, running for 1,934 yards and 26 touchdowns. Most notably, he led the Tigers to the National Championship in back-to-back seasons, losing to Alabama the first time around, but emerging victorious after orchestrating a huge comeback with a 21-point fourth quarter against Alabama in 2017. Watson put an exclamation point on his Clemson career by capping it off with a game-winning touchdown pass with only 1 second remaining on the clock.

1. William Perry, DT, 1981-84

Best known as "The Refrigerator," Williams Perry was a dominating force for the Tigers in the early 80's. He became the first three-time All-American in the program's history and only the 13th ACC player to accomplish the feat. The big man in the middle dominated opposing offensive lines, setting the program record for sacks (25), which is especially impressive for a defensive tackle.


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