Clemson graduate Charlie Whitehurst was selected in the third round of the NFL draft by the San Diego Chargers on Saturday evening. He was the 81st selection of the draft.
Here are some notes on his selection:
Whitehurst is the first Clemson quarterback to be drafted since the 1979 draft when Steve Fuller was a first round pick of the Kansas City Chiefs. Patrick Sapp played quarterback at Clemson for his first three seasons, but played outside linebacker as a senior in 1995. He was a second round pick, the 50th selection of the 1996 draft, ironically, by the San Diego Chargers. Sapp played linebacker his entire NFL career, including two years with the Chargers.
Whitehurst will now be a teammate of former NC State quarterback Philip Rivers, who played for the Pack from 2000-03. Rivers ranks first in ACC history in career passing yards (13,484), and is first in career completions (1087), while Whitehurst is third in both areas. Whitehurst is third in passing yards with 9,665 and in completions with 817.
Whitehurst and Rivers have something in common. They are the only quarterbacks in ACC history to beat Florida State twice. (Florida State joined the ACC in 1992). Rivers was 2-2 in his career as a starter against the Seminoles, while Whitehurst was 2-1, including a 35-14 victory on his Senior Day this past season.
Whitehurst and Rivers were the opposing starting quarterbacks in a game just once, in Raleigh in 2003. With two of the top three
quarterbacks in ACC history in terms of passing yardage competing in the same game you would think it was a high scoring affair. But, it was not, as the Pack beat Clemson 17-15 in a nationally televised Thursday evening game on ESPN. Whitehurst was 23-37 for 196 yards passing that night, his fewest passing yards in an ACC game that year. Rivers was 20-34 for 213 yards, his low passing yardage total that season against an ACC team.
Whitehurst is the second member of his family to be drafted into the NFL. His father, David Whitehurst was an eighth round selection, the 206th pick of the 1977 NFL draft by the Green Bay Packers. David Whitehurst played seven years in the NFL, all for the Packers, between 1977-83. Charlie was actually born in Green Bay on August 6, 1982, as David was going through preseason camp for the Packers just prior to his sixth season in the NFL.
Fuller was drafted on April 29, just two days after his father's birthday (April 27). His father was drafted on May 4, 1977.
Whitehurst is the first former Tiger drafted by the Chargers since the 2001 draft when Robert Carswell was a seventh-round pick as a free safety.
Whitehurst will attempt to be the first former Tiger to play for the Chargers since Adrian Dingle, who was a starting defensive end for San Diego between 1999-04.
The last time a former Clemson quarterback was on an NFL roster as a quarterback was 1988 when Steve Fuller was on the roster of the San Diego Chargers. Fuller did not play in a game that year, but was on the active roster. Former Clemson quarterback Woody Dantzler played in the NFL in 2002-04, but he was never a quarterback. He was a running back, receiver and kickoff returner. A former Clemson quarterback has not thrown a pass in an NFL game from the quarterback position since Fuller threw 64 passes for the Chicago Bears in 1986.