Clemson's 10 Best: Top Specialists In Program History

Travis Boland

Today's Clemson's 10 Best series focuses on the top specialists to play for the Tigers. The list includes punters, kickers and returners who have honored for their accomplishments.

10. Donald Igwebuike - 1980-1984

Named third-team All-American by the Associated Press after leading the nation in field goal percentage at 94.1 percent. Was a perfect 43-of-43 on extra points for his career and the only Clemson kicker to make a 50+ yard field in each of his four seasons. Also starred on the Clemson soccer team. Was drafted in the 10th round by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after the 1984 season. 

9. Ray Ray McCloud - 2015-2017

Named second-team All-American after the 2017 season as a punt returner and honorable mention by the ACC as a specialist and all-purpose player. Ranked in the top 10 in average return yards with 12.1 per return. His 485 career punt return yards ranks ninth in Clemson history. Had a 77-yard punt return for touchdown against N.C. State. Drafted in the sixth round by the Buffalo Bills. 

8. Obed Ariri - 1977-1980

While at Clemson he set or tied nine NCAA records for field goals and scoring. In his All-American senior season he led the nation in field goals with 23 and finished his career as the NCAA's all-time leader in field goals with 63. He was the all-time leader in kick-scoring points with 288 for Clemson and ACC until 1994. He was seventh-round pick of the Baltimore Colts in the 1981 NFL Draft and was inducted into the Clemson Hall of Fame in 1998.

7. Dale Hatcher - 1981-1984

Was named second-team All-American after his senior season where he ranked No. 20 in the country in net punting. He avearaged over 40 yards per punt in each of his four seasons at Clemson. Still holds the Clemson single-season punt average record with 42.4 yards. Was a third round pick of the Rams in the 1985 NFL Draft and led the league in punting as a rookie. He was named to the Clemson Centennial team in 1996.

6. Greg Huegel - 2015-2018

The first Clemson player to earn All-American honors as a walk-on. Led the nation with 27 made fields goals in 2015. His 27 made field goals also set a single season Clemson record. In four seasons he made 217 extra points which is the most of any kicker in Clemson history.

5. Justin Miller - 2002-2004 

Earned All-American honors in 2004 after leading the nation in with 33.1 yards per kickoff return. He also averaged 13 yards per return as a punt returner. Set a then NCAA single-game record with for kickoff return yards with 282 against Florida State. Also scored two touchdowns against the Seminoles and added a punt return for a score against Wake Forest.

4. David Treadwell - 1985-1987

Was a consensus All-American in 1987 after finishing fifth in the nation with 1.8 field goals per game. Was the leading vote-getter on the All-ACC Sportswriters' team. Ranks eighth in Clemson history with 47 career field goals. Finished his career with four game-winning field goals. Played in the NFL Pro Bowl as a Rookie with the Denver Broncos. Inducted into the Clemson Athletic Hall of Fame in 1997.

3 .Chris Gardocki - 1988-1990

During his three seasons, he twice finished the year ranked in the Top 10 of the NCAA in both punting (fourth) and placekicking (fourth). Was selected honorable mention All-American by the United Press International as a punter each of his three seasons. He was named third-team All-American as a placekicker after his sophomore season and second-team All-American as a placekicker after his junior season. He made 72 consecutive extra points. He still holds the Clemson record for punting average for a season (44.5 yards) and career (43.5 yards). After his junior season he was a third round selection of the Chicago Bears in the 1991 NFL Draft. An All-Pro selection in 1996 with the Indianapolis Colts. Named to Clemson's Centennial team in 1996 and inducted into the Clemson Hall of Fame in 2001.

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Former Clemson football standout Nelson Welch, former Greer High School standout, in the October 30, 1993 game against Maryland in Clemson. (Ken Ruinard/Anderson Staff)

2. Nelson Welch - 1991-1994

Named third-team All-American by the Associated Press after his sophomore season. Was either a first-team or second-team All-ACC selection each of his four seasons. Was Clemson's career scoring leader until 2003 and at the time of his graduation held 14 school records. He had 25 multiple field goal games including three games in which he had five field goals. Inducted into the Clemson Athletic Hall of Fame in 2007.

1. CJ Spiller - 2006-2009

The 2009 ACC Player of the Year and was a unanimous first-team All-American as a kick returner. His seven career kickoff returns for touchdowns is tied for No. 1 in the NCAA record book. Ranks first in Clemson history in career kickoff return yards (2052) and sixth in the Clemson record book in career punt return yards (569). Has eight total return touchdowns in his Clemson career. 

Comments (1)
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Christopher Hall
Christopher Hall

Chandler Catanzaro was another good one and made some big kicks. Still have that cell phone video of the game-winner against LSU saved somewhere on my computer. What a game that was to watch live.


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