Twenty-one former Clemson football players, including seven members of last year’s ACC Atlantic Division Championship team, are on NFL rosters as league play opens Thursday night. Sixteen of the players are on active rosters and five are on either the Practice Squad or Reserve Squads.
The list of seven rookies from Clemson on NFL rosters includes 2009 unanimous first-team All-American C.J. Spiller who will start the opening game for the Buffalo Bills at running back against the Miami Dolphins this Sunday in Buffalo. Spiller had three rushing touchdowns and a five-yard average in the preseason for the Bills. His three rushing touchdowns led the NFL in the preseason. He played just three preseason games.
Other rookies who made NFL rosters off the 2009 team are Crezdon Butler with Pittsburgh, Kavell Conner with Indianapolis, Jacoby Ford with Oakland, Michael Palmer with Atlanta, Kevin Alexander with Denver and Ricky Sapp with Philadelphia. Palmer, who set a Clemson record for a tight end with 43 catches last year, made the Falcons as a free agent. Alexander is on the Practice Squad with Denver and Sapp is on Injured Reserve with the Eagles.
Brian Dawkins starts his 16th year in the NFL on Sunday with the Denver Broncos. It is his second year with the Broncos after 14 years with the Eagles. He made the NFL Pro Bowl last year, his eighth career Pro Bowl selection, more than any other former Tiger. Dawkins has already been inducted into the Clemson Hall of Fame, the only active Tiger in the NFL in the Clemson Hall of Fame.
Trevor Pryce is second among former Tigers in seniority in the NFL. Pryce is in his 15th year in the league, his fifth with the Baltimore Ravens. He has 90 career sacks entering this year to match his uniform number.
The list of former Tigers in the NFL includes former Clemson teammates Charlie Whitehurst, who is in his first year with the Seattle Seahawks, and Anthony Waters, who won a Super Bowl Championship ring with the New Orleans Saints last year. Chris Clemons is in his second year with the Miami Dolphins and is slated to start at free safety for the Dolphins against Spiller and the Bills on Sunday.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have the most former Tigers with three (Butler, Nick Eason and Tyler Grisham), while the Denver Broncos, Cleveland Browns, Seattle Seahawks and Miami Dolphins all have two apiece. Thirteen of the former Tigers are defensive players, including six defensive linemen, and eight are offensive players, including three wide receivers.
Clemson Players on NFL Rosters in 2010
No Player Pos CU years NFL Exp Team
48 #Kevin Alexander LB 2006-09 R Denver Broncos
40 Crezdon Butler CB 2006-09 R Pittsburgh Steelers
30 Chris Clemons SAF 2005-08 2nd Miami Dolphins
53 Kavell Conner LB 2006-09 R Indianapolis Colts
28 James Davis RB 2005-08 2nd Cleveland Browns
20 Brian Dawkins SAF 1992-95 16th Denver Broncos
93 Nick Eason DT 1999-02 8th Pittsburgh Steelers
12 Jacoby Ford WR 2006-09 R Oakland Raiders
13 #Tyler Grisham WR 2005-08 2nd Pittsburgh Steelers
56 *Leroy Hill LB 2001-04 6th Seattle Seahawks
36 Mike Hamlin SAF 2005-08 2nd Dallas Cowboys
97 *Phillip Merling DE 2005-07 3rd Miami Dolphins
81 Michael Palmer TE 2006-09 R Atlanta Falcons
90 Trevor Pryce DT 1996 15th Baltimore Ravens
67 Barry Richardson OT 2004-07 3rd Kansas City Chiefs
94 ^Ricky Sapp DE 2006-09 R Philadelphia Eagles
97 Dorell Scott DT 2005-08 2nd St. Louis Rams
21 C.J. Spiller RB 2006-09 R Buffalo Bills
83 Chansi Stuckey WR 2003-06 4th Cleveland Browns
59 Anthony Waters LB 2003-06 3rd New Orleans Saints
6 Charlie Whitehurst QB 2002-05 5th Seattle Seahawks
^-Injured Reserve, # Practice Squad, * Reserve List