CB Tye Hill

2004 Statistics

Coach: Tommy Bowden
44-29 ,6 years
2004 Record: 6-5
at Texas A&M LOST 6-27
at Florida State LOST 22-41
at Virginia LOST 10-30
at Miami FL WON 24-17
at Duke LOST 13-16

2004 Final Rankings
AP2-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

2005 Outlook

For its core following, Clemson has been maddeningly inconsistent in recent years. They've had big-time talent capable of winning, but they've been unable to hold it together over a full season. Last year, expectations were high in August, but the Tigers started 1-4. They made a late run to finish 6-5, but capped the season off with an embarrassing brawl in the South Carolina game that led the school to decline a bowl bid. To shake things up, Tommy Bowden fired his offensive and defensive coordinators and hired two of the best assistant coaches the minor conferences had to offer. What it will equal is a revamped approach that accentuates Whitehurst's finer points and brings a new, swarming mentality to the D.

Neither Rob Spence nor Vic Koenning plan to make big changes early -- Clemson will still feature a(n often) no-huddle, pass-first offense and a small, quick, aggressive defense. But both offer new perspective and a fresh start to a program that needs it. More running on offense will allow Whitehurst to fall into a groove more easily, with play-action then effectively opening up those rarely seen longer routes (often run by TEs). Look for likely 2006 starter Will Proctor to get reps in later games, and his fleet feet will add a dimension that foes won't be ready for - will Bowden have the guts, though, to put him in early? The defense will swarm to make up for size issues in the middle, and the interchangeable back seven will grow up much quicker than foes may suspect. These are the kinds of qualities coach Tommy used to prosper, the one's that took him from a perfect season at Tulane (12-0 in 1998) into his spot now. A conservative approach based on speed will work here.

The ACC's defensive MVP, its leading receiver and the country's best kick return man are gone, but there's potential left after nine total starters have vacated. As they've shown the last couple of years, they can beat anyone. Good thing, too, because the schedule is brutal. A tough first six games means all problem areas will be matured through immediate experience, and character built will be something the slate's second half will reap. Most of the toughest foes come into "Death Valley", an apt nickname for Memorial Stadium in case you don't know, and Bowden's 16-8 home conference mark makes us believe a change is gonna come. Clemson definitely improves, but how much of that improvement shows in actual wins is not guaranteed.

Projected 2005 record: 5-6
WR Chansi Stuckey
QB - 4 DL - 2.5
RB - 3 LB - 3.5
WR - 3.5 DB - 3.5
OL - 2.5 ..

Passing: Charlie Whitehurst, 177-349-17, 2067 yds., 7 TD

Rushing: Reggie Merriweather, 136 att., 670 yds., 11 TD

Receiving: Chansi Stuckey, 25 rec., 280 yds., 0 TD

Scoring: Reggie Merriweather, 11 TD, 66 pts.

Cole Chason, 66 punts, 40.2 avg.

Kicking: Jad Dean, 12-15 FG, 17-18 PAT, 53 pts.

Tackles: Anthony Waters, 70 tot., 46 solo

Sacks: Charles Bennett, Gaines Adams, Bobby Williamson - 5 each

Interceptions: Jamaal Fudge, 3 for 55 yds.

Kickoff Returns: C.J. Gaddis, 3 ret., 10.0 avg.

Punt Returns:
Chansi Stuckey, 4 ret., 7.5 avg.


OFFENSE: Airese Currie-WR, Ben Hall-TE, Cedric Johnson-OG, Tommy Sharpe-C, Yusef Kelly-TB
DEFENSE: Eric Coleman-DT, Maurice Fountain-DE, Leroy Hill-LB, Eric Sampson-WHIP, Travis Pugh-FS, Justin Miller-CB (NFL)

This is Charlie Whitehurst's year. It had better be. Clemson's big, athletic helmsman looked to be the best quarterback in the conference heading into last season. He had his moments, especially during the win at Miami, but overall he struggled mightily, with 17 INTs, and Clemson finished 113th-in-the-nation for its pass efficiency rating. He's capable of much better (see his 3500 yards and 62 percent completion rate in 2003) and the Tigers need him at his best. He'll get back to those higher levels of play learning the ropes from new offensive coordinator Rob Spence, a QB specialist who has led those explosive attacks at Toledo the last four years. And, as Spence's tutelage sinks in, Whitehurst's (bad) experiences will pay off. He becomes a four-year starter who has the talent to play on Sundays, so watch for a big year. Junior Will Proctor, who's played sparingly the last two seasons, is the future, so his size-speed-strength combo makes us believe he will see time and affect this offense, eventually. Watch the variable of the running dimensions affect how the QB play goes - the more that ground attack can achieve, the more patience these QBs will have to make the right decisions on big plays.

Running Back
It's been awhile since the Tigers had a strong ground attack, but that will start to change under Spence. He's known for his balanced system and he's got two solid backs to choose from, plus an incoming stud freshman. Returning rushing leader Reggie Merriweather is a battering ram, especially in the red zone. Duane Coleman, who led the team in rushing in 2003, was plagued with foot injuries last season but came on strong by the end. He's a versatile back, dangerous as a receiver, and will contribute in many ways. James Davis arrives in August and the true freshman from Georgia should make a difference "fast" if given the rock. He's got speed and size with his acclaim (No.6 RB at Rivals.com). Fullbacks Cliff Harrell and Steven Jackson will continue to hope (in vain) for the ball as they try to keep Whitehurst's jersey cleaner (25 sacks allowed). With so many new linemen, a struggle for early yards will eventually produce a strong showing for the unit.

Four of last year's top five receivers come back, but the one who was by far the best -- Airese Currie -- is gone (led ACC with 61 catches). What will be most missed - his 14+ per snarl eclipsed the rest of them. Coaching clue: this is more of a comment on how Whitehurst has to deliver deeper more often, not about the receivers being sub par. The first option will now be former QB Chansi Stuckey, who hopes to be fully recovered from ankle injuries. He's fast and has good vision, as well as a QB's knowledge of the field to be the established, legitimate downfield threat he is. When Whitehurst needs a first down, he'll turn to Curtis Baham, the veteran possession receiver back for his senior year. The most physically gifted of the bunch may be the ever-improving Kelvin Grant. Out of Currie's shadow, look for him to shine as a deep threat. RS frosh Aaron Kelly represents the best of the rest, and there isn't too much there, so health issues here will seriously affect this entire offense.

Tight End
Spence has said he'll throw to the tight ends more. Ergo, TE-turned-DE Bobby Williamson has switched his explosive ways back to offense. Spence is a fine blocker who has good hands to give Whitehurst a reliable big man (to throw to deep, as Clemson does with its TEs). He'll be backed up by former OG Cole Downer, who'll mostly see blocking action.

Offensive Line
This unit needs to get better if the running game's going to go anywhere. Clemson's ground attack ranked 100th in I-A, and the line was a big reason why. Three of the five starters return, led by left tackle Barry Richardson, and the turnover can only help. This 6-7, 350 pound then-newbie wowed his way out of a redshirt, started by the fourth game and was a consensus first-team freshman all-American. He's got good footwork for such a big guy, and he's a fast learner. After Richardson, Marion Dukes is solid at the other tackle, and guard Nathan Bennett, perhaps the team's best run blocker, gives a good, young (though experienced) core around which to further build. Guard Chip Myrick comes back strong from his bout with mono. Dustin Fry has the "inside" position in vying against non-related Roman Fry for the center spot due to his experience, but Roman has played at all the line posts, so his presence on many reps is guaranteed, regardless. The entire crew is 290 and up, so mobility will be at a premium for playing time, and these guys will either learn to move, or they will sit.

Clemson will run more this year, but let's be honest, it's all about Charlie Whitehurst and the receivers. Whitehurst will be strong like he was in '03…why? Well, given Spence's track record with quarterbacks, there's no reason to think the pair working together can't succeed. They will run more than Clemson has in the past (51% in '04 were runs), to keep defenses thinking this way first. But Whitehurst needs people (to catch the ball) downfield more to then open up the other possibilities, not this predictable short game they've recently employed that stacked the box and underneath areas with eager DBs who weren't scared of being beaten over the top. Stuckey is good, and so is Williamson. But there are no established game-breakers here, yet, and recruiting classes sparse with WRs have left the corps weakened. Even though, Spence will use four-man sets to spread things out. Accordingly, the QB will be able to throw deep over the middle to the TEs and underneath to the RBs, making the WRs open enough to do their damage and again make defenses respect all of the Tiger's offensive dimensions. Keep defenses guessing and the chains moving will be the new moniker on this side of the ball. They'll either rise or fall with Whitehurst, so his game management skills will either compliment his teammates, or they will lead the entire Clemson squad's campaign off a cliff.


QB Charlie Whitehurst


Returning Starters/
Key Players
QB Charlie Whitehurst-Sr (6-4, 225) Will Proctor-Jr (6-2, 210)
TB Reggie Merriweather-Jr (5-8, 215) Duane Coleman-Sr (5-10, 195)
Kyle Browning-Sr (5-7, 172)
WR Chansi Stuckey-Jr (6-0, 190) La'Donte Harris-So (5-11, 185)
WR Kelvin Grant-Jr (6-2, 215) Andrew Diomande-Fr (6-1, 190)
SB Curtis Baham-Sr (6-1, 195) Cliff Harrell-Sr (6-1, 250) (FB)
TE Bobby Williamson-Sr (6-3, 255) Cole Downer-Sr (6-3, 263)
OT Barry Richardson-So (6-7, 350) Tim DeBeer-Jr (6-6, 280)
OG Chip Myrick-Sr (6-4, 290) Brandon Pilgrim-So (6-5, 285)
C Dustin Fry-Jr (6-2, 315) Roman Fry-Jr (6-4, 295)
OG Nathan Bennett-Jr (6-5, 315) Bobby Hutchinson-Fr (6-3, 305)
OT Marion Dukes-Jr (6-4, 315) Christian Capote-So (6-5, 300)
K Jad Dean-Jr (5-11, 208) ..



Defensive Line
Enter the bandit, as new defensive coordinator Vic Koenning plans to bring back this position, which requires an unusually versatile defensive end to blitz, stuff the run, and/or drop back into pass coverage at any time. That man is Gaines Adams, an athletic junior who's been productive off the bench. On the other end is Charles Bennett's 14 TFLs and 11 quarterback pressures. He'll be a bear requiring double-teams, or else. A pack of talented youngsters, led by Cortney Vincent and Brandon Cannon, add depth, but this unit will miss Bobby Williamson (TE again) and his intuition. The tackles are solid, if unspectacular. Trey Tate returns experienced and stout against the run, but not a big playmaker. The other tackle spot will likely go to senior Corey Groover a JUCO-transfer who served respectably as a reserve last year. Again, there's plenty of depth, but the middle could be vulnerable to pounding ground attacks (3.2 yards allowed per rush will go up). The smallish LBs may not be enough to bolster weaknesses here, but the "bandit" will blur opposing linemen's ability to carry out assignments so that hole-plugging can then succeed.

Anthony Waters will take over as the leader of this unit, and he's a good ballplayer, but he's still not at departee Hill's level. Waters has yet to show he can use his great speed effectively in coverage. Tramaine Billie will move over to the strong side "WHIP" where his 4.45-second 40-speed should help stop the outside running game as well as underneath routes. Newbies Clay and Miller fit into the prototypical (modest) size-speed combo that seems obviously to be a prerequisite for making this corps. Koenning will use this player-formula like he did at Troy State to maximize mobility and swarm.

Defensive Back
This is still a solid bunch, even with two major exits. With leaders like fifth-year seniors Tye Hill and Jamaal Fudge, there is a good foundation here upon which to build. Hill is the ACC's 100-meter (outdoor) champ and finished third nationally with 18 total passes defended. Week after week, he'll cover well the best receivers in the ACC. He's up to it. Jamaal Fudge is another stud (116 tackles in '03). He's not that big, he's not that fast - he just seems to play that way. Sergio Gilliam is green, but the coaches like him and, at 6-3, he (at least) gives them physical play here and a rather unbeatable guy on those endzone fades. With the two reserves slated for the CAT slot, we see another pattern of size-speed consistent throughout each DB, so that the back-seven seem almost interchangeable. This will pay off as soon as the fourth quarter comes around - the Tiger's stunts/schemes/blitzes will be just too much for tiring O-linemen, and the swarm mentality will just wear away any resolve left at that point.

Once again, Clemson will be vulnerable to big, power-running attacks - they're decent (yet unspectacular) up front, the linebackers are fast but not big, and the corners are just plain skinny. But, save BC and Virginia Tech (who they don't play), the ACC's not really a power-running conference, so this is not a fatal flaw. Their approach to pass defense will be strong, with two good defensive ends to bring pressure and well-sized, hard-hitting DBs to cover and clean. Gilliam, Billie and Gaines will step up together and keep the outside run contained. Koenning turned Troy State into a top-10 unit here, but week-in, week-out, he's never faced offenses like these. To be fair, he also never had this kind of recruiting and talent at his will's want, so it isn't a stretch for Clemson to again finish somewhere around 25th overall. The Tigers will inversely switch the running and passing rankings. Just follow how well the DBs do to see how well the team itself is doing.


ROV Jamaal Fudge


Returning Starters/
Key Players
DE Charles Bennett-Sr (6-4, 254) Phillip Merling-Fr (6-5, 265)
DT Trey Tate-Sr (6-4, 275) Chris McDuffie-So (6-4, 310)
NT Cory Groover-Sr (6-3, 290) Donnell Clark-Jr (6-2, 271)
DE Gaines Adams-Jr (6-5, 261) Cortney Vincent-Fr (6-1, 235)
SLB Tramaine Billie-Jr (6-1, 205) Maurice Nelson-So (6-2, 212)
MLB Anthony Waters-Jr (6-3, 237) Antonio Clay-Fr (6-1, 220)
WLB David Dunham-Sr (6-2, 227) Nick Watkins-So (6-2, 217)
CB Tye Hill-Sr (5-10, 178) Chris Clemons-Fr (6-1, 195)
CB Sergio Gilliam-Jr (6-3, 178) Brandon Nolen-So (5-11, 198)
CAT C.J. Gaddis-So (6-0, 207) Tavaghn Monts-Sr (6-2, 189)
FS Jamaal Fudge-Sr (5-10, 192) Roy Walker-So (6-3, 199)
P Cole Chason-Jr (6-0, 163) ..




Jad Dean's a boomer. Half of his kickoffs will again go for touchbacks, providing a nine-yard advantage (last campaign) in average starting field position. He's not bad at getting three points either, as he hit all eight inside the 40, and 12-of-15 overall. He could use some more distance for his FGAs, but the leg is obviously there. Coverage here was stellar, and should stay that way.

Cole Chason is getting better, as he added four yards to his average (40.2 yards per). He also put nearly a third of his tries inside the 20, and less than eight yards per return shows his great hang time. Net results will continue to improve.

Return Game
This area is wide open, and we mean w-i-d-e. To list all of the possibilities, at the time of publishing, would be meaningless, so keep an eye on the post-spring updates to see the short list of candidates that will get looks in the first few games.