Smallest Clemson senior class since 1999 hoping to go out in style

Tigers' group of 13 seniors includes 11 original scholarship players, trying for 36th victory

Clemson linebacker Jonathan Willard walks down the hill for the last time at Memorial Stadium in Clemson.

Photo by Ken Ruinard

Clemson linebacker Jonathan Willard walks down the hill for the last time at Memorial Stadium in Clemson.

With accomplishments aplenty already under their belts, members of one of the smallest senior classes in Clemson football history will be trying for a bit of icing on the cake when the Tigers face LSU in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.

Clemson has one of the youngest teams in the nation with just 13 seniors on its roster, 11 of which came to Clemson as scholarship players. This marks the fewest seniors on a Clemson football roster since 1999, when Tommy Bowden’s first team had just 10 seniors, including only six on scholarship.

The only other year in the last 30 seasons that Clemson has had less than 13 seniors was 1985, when Danny Ford’s team had 12 seniors. The 1985 team finished 6-5 and the 1999 Clemson team finished 6-6, so this year's 10-2 team is among the best young teams in school history.

The current squad, which also has just 13 scholarship juniors, is the youngest Clemson team since 1944, when the entire team was made up of freshmen and sophomores, as all upperclassmen left campus for the armed services.

Here are some of their significant accomplishments of Clemson's senior class, headed into the Chick-fil-A Bowl:

• Has 35 wins, the seventh-most in school history and the most by a Tiger senior class since 1991.

• Established a Clemson class record for conference regular-season wins (23).

• Won the ACC Atlantic Division three of four years.

• Won program’s first ACC Championship in 20 years (2011).

• Recorded two seasons with 10 wins, the first class to do that since the seniors of 1992.

• Won 10 games in the regular season (2012) for first time since 1981.

• Set the Clemson record in 2012 with 10 wins by two touchdowns or more.

• Took Clemson to four bowl games, including its first BCS bowl appearance in 30 years.

• Beat seven top-25 teams in the last four years, including a season-record four in 2011.

• Set the ACC record for consecutive wins over top-25 teams (3) in 2011.

• Helped establish the school record for consecutive home wins (13).

• Has an active streak of 28 consecutive weeks ranked in both polls, the third-longest streak in Clemson history.

• Finished in the top 25 of the BCS standings three of four years and in every BCS listing the last two years.

• Contributed to Clemson having the seventh-best APR score (983) for 2012.

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Comments » 3

kellytown writes:

you all should be very proud of what you have accomplished on the field and off. We appreciate each and every one of you. Now its time to carry your talents to the world and continue to strive for higher goals and bigger things. GO TIGERS.

Bigboots writes:

If you hadn't lost to usc four years in a row, it would have been even better.

Tigerfan75 writes:

in response to Bigboots:

If you hadn't lost to usc four years in a row, it would have been even better.

I'm sure it sticks in their craw too but dwelling on it doesn't do any good. Negative much?

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