Clemson Football: Location, History & Best Current NFL Players

Dabo Swinney Clemson

Getty Clemson Tigers football coach Dabo Swinney and team

The Clemson Tigers have quickly become one of the most well-respected programs in college football. After years of falling short of the elite level, and results even considered mediocre, the program has taken a major turn in the right direction over the recent years. With the Tigers now in the College Football Playoff once again, it’s clear they’re among the best in the country.

We’re going to take a look at the history of Clemson football, some of their best current NFL players and the team’s overall outlook. After the 2018 season had wrapped up, the Tigers sat with a 13-0 record and an ACC Championship. Entering postseason play, head coach Dabo Swinney’s squad held the No. 2 ranking in the country.

Following another great year, Clemson faced the No. 3 ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the Cotton Bowl for a chance to play for the title.

Where Is Clemson University Located?

While it may seem obvious, it’s actually somewhat surprising for many to hear that Clemson University is located in, you guessed it, Clemson, South Carolina. It’s a town near Greenville, South Carolina and a bit further from Spartanburg. The Tigers home stadium and campus is located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains next to Lake Hartwell.

The latest breakdown of enrollment for the school features a total number of students enrolled at 24,387, according to Of that group, the undergraduate enrollment number was most recently marked at 19,402. The school has rapidly grown in popularity and was named in the 2019 edition of Best Colleges.

Clemson Football History

While the school has two national titles to their name, the most recent came during the 2016 season. Prior to that, they won the championship in 1981. Clemson has now made the College Football Playoff in four consecutive years dating back to 2015. Since that season, the Tigers have gone 53-4 and have finished ranked no worse than No. 5 at the end of the year.

After making back-to-back national title games in 2015 and 2016, Clemson lost in the Sugar Bowl in 2017, falling to the Alabama Crimson Tide. Nick Saban’s team then went on to win the championship.

Since Swinney took over as the Tigers’ head coach during the 2008 season, the team has made a bowl game in each year. There was also just one year that Clemson was not ranked at any point during the year. Under previous coaches in Tommy Bowden (1999-2008), Tommy West (1994-98) and even much further back with Danny Ford (1979-89), Clemson had success. But it’s fair to argue that the success Swinney has had with the school has been unrivaled in the team’s history.

Best Current NFL Players From Clemson

Two names that immediately come to mind are Houston Texans quarterback-wide receiver duo Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins. Both players put together impressive collegiate careers but didn’t play together at Clemson. Hopkins was there for three years from 2010-12 while Watson joined the Tigers in 2014, playing three seasons and going pro after the 2016 season.

Both players were impressive during their time with Clemson, as Hopkins totaled 206 receptions for 3,020 yards and 27 touchdowns over 39 games. Watson threw for 10,168 yards and 90 touchdowns while tacking on 26 rushing scores in 38 games.

A few other talented NFL players who played collegiately with the Tigers include Atlanta Falcons pass-rusher Vic Beasley and Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins. It seems both the Texans and Falcons have done their research on Clemson, as Houston also has defensive tackle D.J. Reader while Atlanta drafted DT Grady Jarrett.

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