Hamlin Family Reunion
Clemson Memorial Stadium will be
the site of a Hamlin family reunion this weekend.
There will be three brothers on the field with
that last name, Clemson starting safety Michael
Hamlin and South Carolina State defensive
backs Markee Hamlin, a junior, and Marquais
Hamlin, a freshman.
This is the first time brothers will be
on opposite sidelines in a Clemson game since
1981 when Mark Richardson was a defensive
end for Clemson and Jon Richardson was a
receiver for North Carolina. Both Richardson's
had outstanding games in that 10-8 Clemson win
27 years ago.
Mark had a career high seven tackles
from his defensive end position and Jon had four
receptions for 48 yards to lead North Carolina
receivers. There were actually a couple of plays
where Mark tackles Jon after a reception and
of course they engaged many times on running
plays. Both now work in the front office of the
All three Hamlins are defensive players
and likely won't go against each other on
special teams or scrimmage plays on Saturday.
But that doesn't mean there won't be a strong
competition going. We are sure all three will be
striving to win the interception and tackle race on
the final stat sheet.
Michael Hamlin is arguably Clemson's
top defensive player and the same can be said
for Markee on the South Carolina State side.
That was actually the case a year ago when Michael
was voted Clemson's top defensive player
and was named permanent defensive captain
for the 2007 season. Markee was named South
Carolina State's top defensive player last year.
Michael was tied for the Clemson
team lead in interceptions a year ago with four,
while Markee led South Carolina State with
five. Michael was second on Clemson's team in
tackles last year with 97, while Markee led South
Carolina State in tackles last year with 51.
This year both players are second on
their respective defenses in tackles. Michael
has a 3-0 lead in interceptions so far as he tied
a Clemson single game record with three picks
in the win over The Citadel. Both were second-
team all-conference selections last year, Michael
in the ACC and Markee in the MEAC.
So far this year both Hamlins are
second on their respective teams in tackles.
Michael has 28 to rank second on the Clemson
team and he is fourth in the ACC. Markee is
second on South Carolina State's team with 15.
We don't mean to leave Marquais out
of this comparison. He is just a red-shirt freshman
and just learning the system. He has one
tackle so far as a reserve defensive back, but he
is also destined to be an outstanding player for
It should be noted that all these Hamlins
come by this football ability naturally. Their
father, Michael Hamlin, once had five interceptions
in a high school game at Timmonsville
High (the rival of sons high school, Lamar) and
that is still the record for a high school game in
South Carolina. The proudest of all will probably
be their mother, Jeanette Hamlin, who will be
attending Saturday's game with many family
Blackwells on Both Sidelines
While there will be a brothers on
each side Saturday, there will also be a coaching
brother combination. Each coaching staff has
a member of the Blackwell family. Clemson's
linebacker coach is David Blackwell, who is in
his sixth season mentoring the Tiger linebackers.
Joseph Blackwell is in his sixth season as an
assistant at South Carolina State. He currently
coaches the Bulldogs guards and centers and is
also the running game coordinator.
The Blackwell family is from Greenville
so we are sure there will be many family members
on hand Saturday.
David has been a big reason Clemson
has finished in the top 25 of both polls three of
the last five years, including last season. He has
coached many outstanding Clemson linebackers,
including 2004 ACC Defensive Player of the
Year Leroy Hill. Clemson has finished in the
top 25 in the nation in all four major defensive
categories each of the last three years, a first in
Clemson football history.
Joseph joined the Bulldogs program
in 2003, the same year David came to Clemson.
South Carolina State has led the MEAC in rushing
each of the last two seasons. In 2005 they
led the MEAC in fewest sacks allowed, and they
rank fourth in the FCS level so far this year with
just one sack allowed in three games.
Napier Coached at South Carolina State
Clemson assistant coach Billy Napier
is another Clemson coach with a tie to South
Carolina State. Napier, now in his third full season
at Clemson, served as quarterbacks coach
at South Carolina State in 2005. He helped the
Bulldgos to a 9-2 record that year, including a
7-1 mark in the MEAC. South Carolina State
averaged 34.4 points per game, 17th best in Division
I-AA that year. They were also 12th in the
nation in rushing and 15th in passing efficiency
Napier is also the recruiting coordinator
at Clemson and has had a positive impact on
Clemson's recruiting rankings the last couple of
years. Last year, Clemson's class was ranked
second in the nation by ESPN.com. Napier also
coaches the Clemson tight ends and is a big
reason Clemson led the ACC in scoring offense
each year he has been at Clemson.
S.C. State Update
South Carolina State enters this game
with a 2-1 record. The Bulldogs lost to Central
Florida in the season opener 17-0, but have
gained wins over Benedict College (42-3) and
Bethune Cookman (28-19) in the last two outings.
South Carolina State has some
outstanding numbers on both sides of the ball,
but in particular on defense. The Bulldogs rank
fourth in the nation in pass defense (85 yards
per game allowed), sixth in total defense (243
yards allowed) and sixth in scoring defense (13.0
points per game). They held FBS team Central
Florida to just 17 points in the season opener.
The South Carolina State defense has
recorded nine sacks and allowed just one on offense
so far this year. Six different players have
recorded sacks on defense. Thirteen different
players have recorded a tackle for loss, including
Matt Key, who has a team best four stops behind
the line of scrimmage.
Rafael Bush is the top tackler with
21, including 16 first hits. He also has a fumble
recovery. Markee Hamlin and Desmon Benjamin
are tied for second on the team in tackles with
15 apiece. Julius Wilkerson is a top defensive
lineman with 14 stops.
The offense is led by William Ford,
who has 334 rushing yards in just three games.
He also has five touchdowns and ranks 11th in FCS in rushing yards per game at 111. He had
175 yards rushing and scored two touchdowns
in the win over Bethune Cookman and leads the
team in scoring with five touchdowns.
QB Malcolm Long completed
16-24 passes for 211 yards in the win over
Bethune Cookman. For the year, Long is 40-64
for 458 yards and three scores. His top receiver
in terms of receptions is Dusten Dubose, who
has 11 catches for 79 yards. Oliver Young has
10 catches for 142 yards and a score, while
Octavius Darby has nine receptions for 141.
Clemson Offense on Record Per Play Pace
Clemson has been productive on a
per play basis so far this year. In fact, the team
is averaging 6.79 yards per play, ahead of the
record pace of 6.50 yards per play in 2006. The
Tigers average just 380 yards per game, which
means the Tigers have not run many plays so far
Clemson has had just 168 offensive
snaps and has not had as many as 65 plays in
a game yet this year. That is an average of 56
snaps per game. The new 40-second rule must
have something to do with that, and Clemson's
quick score capability is a factor, as is the time of
possession for the opposing offense.
It is interesting to note that both teams
have combined for 127.7 plays per game over
the first three Clemson games this year, down
from 141.5 plays for the two teams combined for
the 13 games during the 2007 season. This is
down from the 2001 season when the two teams
averaged 150.1 plays per game, the high figure
in the last 10 years.
Clemson's game last Saturday started
at 12:10 PM and ended at 3:10 for a time of
3:00. That was with television. Had we not had
TV timeouts the game would have taken 2:50
PM to play.
Fans may have to realize a new standard
in evaluating a team's offensive numbers.
Yards per play may be the new yards per game
because teams are just not going to have as
many plays to accumulate yardage.
Buchholz Still Perfect as Kicker
Clemson placekicker Mark Buchholz is
yet to miss a placekick this year. The graduate
student from Georgia is a perfect 4-4 on field
goals and 10-10 on extra points. He is now
58-58 on extra points in his career and is closing
in on the Clemson record for consecutive PATs.
Chris Gardocki has the record with 72 in a row
between 1988-90. Gardocki never missed an
extra point in his Clemson career. Bob Paulling
made 70 in a row from 1979-81.
Buchholz set a Clemson single season
record for scoring last year with 114 points. He
is currently second on the Clemson team in that
category with 7.3 points per game on 22 points
in three games. Buchholz now has 26 field goals
in 16 games in his Clemson career, an average
of 1.625 made field goals per game. On a
career basis, that is fourth among active FBS
Clemson Has a Productive Ford as Well
While South Carolina State's top
offensive player might be running back William
Ford, one of Clemson's most productive players
so far this year has been receiver Jacoby Ford.
Jacoby missed the last five games last year with
a broken ankle and it certainly hurt the Clemson
Ford has been an All-American in
track each of the last two years and has been
clocked in the 40 at 4.03 by Clemson conditioning
coaches on the Clemson track. That is the
fastest by any football player in Clemson history.
So far this year, Ford has been very
productive on the field with a team best 219 receiving
yards and 54 rushing yards, third best on
the team. He is second in all-purpose running
yards behind C.J. Spiller.
Ford had what might have been his
best all-around game last week against NC
State when he had 106 yards receiving on six
catches and added 48 rushing yards on just two
carries. It was his first 100-yard reception game
at Clemson and his six catches were a career
high. It marked the second straight game that he
had a career high in catches, as he had five the
previous week in the win over The Citadel. Ford
had 154 all-purpose running yards against NC
State, tied for the second highest figure in his
career. But all 154 yards were from scrimmage
(receptions and rushing yards), his career high in
yards from scrimmage.
In his three-year career, Ford has now
touched the ball 123 times and gained 2009
yards. That is an average of 16.3 yards every
time he touches the ball. He has averaged 15.9
on receptions, 12.2 on rushing plays, 10.6 on
punt returns and 28.2 on kickoff returns.
Austin ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week
Thomas Austin graded 85 percent and had 12 knockdown blocks
in Clemson's win over NC State as the Tigers gained 428 yards of offense.
The leader of an offensive line that started three red-shirt freshmen for the
first time since 1943, Austin did not allow a sack and had four knockdown
blocks on Clemson's last drive of the game, a 96-yard drive that took 8:07
off the clock. Austin played all 59 snaps at center in the 91-degree heat.
This is the second time in his career he has been named ACC Offensive
Lineman of the Week. He also won the honor for his performance against
Central Michigan in 2007.
Tigers in the National Rankings
Clemson safety Michael Hamlin has three interceptions in the
first three games of the year. All three came in the win over The Citadel.
With his 1.0 average he ranks third in the nation in interceptions per game.
Hamlin is one of three Tigers ranked in the top 25 in various
stat categories this week. C.J. Spiller is fifth in scoring average with 12.0
points per game, as he has six touchdowns in the first three games. He is
also 11th in kickoff return average at 31.3 and is 24th in all-purpose running
at 149.0 yards per contest. Cavell Conner is ranked 20th in the nation in
tackles with a 10.0 average.
Spiller Leads nation in Yards/Play
C.J. Spiller is one of the top all-around backs in the nation. He
ranks 24th in the nation in all-purpose running with 149.0 yards per game.
He has achieved that average with 36 touches on rushing plays, receptions,
and kick returns. That is an average of 12.4 yards every time he
touches the ball.
Over his career, Spiller has gained 3,585 all-purpose yards on
422 plays in 29 games. That is an average of 123.6 yards per game and
8.50 yards per play. Among current FBS Division players, that is the best
per play average in the nation. He now has 25 career touchdowns. The
only other player in the nation with an average of over 8.0 yards per play
among players with at least 400 plays is Brandon West of Western Michigan,
who has an 8.02 figure.
Jacoby Ford has a 16.3 per play average for his career, but he
has just 123 touches in his career, so he has a long way to go to reach the
NCAA minimum of 400 attempts.
Spiller has shown his all-around abilities in many areas this year.
He is the team's second leading rusher with 143 yards, but has averaged
7.9 yards per carry. He is fourth on the team in receptions with 8-94 and
leads in kick return yards with 210. He also has six touchdowns and has
scored them three different ways. He has four touchdowns rushing, one
receiving and one on a kickoff return.
NOTES: S.C. State Clemson
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