Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Clemson's 1981 National Championship Team

With the Tigers currently undefeated and in first place at 9-0, it's fair to say they have a good shot at the National Championship this year. Since we're all about throwbacks here at The Vault, we're going to take a step back in time to the year 1981, which was the last and only time Clemson won the title. And what a year it was.

The 1981 Clemson Tigers were headed by Coach Danny Ford.  They went undefeated on the season, finishing at 12-0 with a 22-15 Orange Bowl victory over Nebraska on January 1st, 1982 that secured them their first national title. Coach Ford was awarded the 1981 Coach of the Year award, and QB Homer Jordan was named Offensive MVP, and in 1993 he was inducted into the Clemson Hall of Fame. WR Perry Tuttle made the cover of Sports Illustrated for his final college touchdown pass and was voted First Team All-American. He went on to play 3 years in the NFL.

And then there was LB Jeff Davis, the team captain and the 1981 MVP of the ACC, also named the defensive MVP of the 1982 Orange Bowl. He was a consensus All-American and in 1989 he was inducted to the Clemson Hall of Fame, then in 1995 the Clemson Ring of Honor, in 2001 the South Carolina Hall of Fame, and finally in 2007 the College Football Hall of Fame. He went on to play 5 seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Davis holds the all-time Clemson records for both causing and recovering fumbles.

Last, but certainly not least was Clemson DB Terry Kinard, the only player on the Tigers to receive a unanimous All-American vote. Kinard is Clemson's all-time leader in both interceptions, with 17, and tackles by a defensive back, with 294. In 1983 Kinard was drafted in the first round by the New York Giants. He was the 10th overall draft pick and played with the Giants from 1983-1989. He was on the Giants when they won the Superbowl in 1986. Kinard is ranked as the third best Clemson football player of all-time, and in 2001 he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. He is also in the Clemson Hall of Fame as of 1992 and the Clemson Ring of Honor as of 2001.

Basically, the 1981 Clemson Tigers were a bunch of bosses. 

Watch the full 1981 Orange Bowl game vs Nebraska on Youtube:

Do the 2015 Clemson Tigers have what it takes to win the National Championship? Let us know what you think in the comments below!

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