The 5 best Clemson football defensive players each had astonishing statistics during their college seasons, and went on to play NFL football. Clemson University is located in Clemson, SC and has had over 190 players drafted to the NFL, including a record holding ten players in 1983. In the 2005 NFL season, Clemson was one of six schools to represent each of the four teams involved in the conference championship games, ensuring an amazing reputation for Clemson football players.
- Terry Kinard. The first Clemson football player to win a national award with the 1982 national defensive player-of-the-year. Terry Kinard was the first unanimous All-American in Clemson football history and first-team AP All-American two years in a row. Having 294 tackles as a Clemson defensive player, he was a first-round pick for the New York Giants in 1983. He is the best Clemson football defensive player because he was named to Clemson's Centennial team in April 1996, and in 2001 was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
- Dorell Scott. Born March 15, 1986, Dorell Scott was a three-year starter at Ridge View High School before playing football for Clemson. Dorell did not see playing time until a sophomore in 2005 where he had eighteen tackles in nine games. He became the first Clemson football player since 1996 to recover two fumbles in a game. During the 2006 football season Dorell Scott started all thirteen games at defensive tackle and had at least two tackles in every game. Dorell is one of the best Clemson Football defensive players because he started 26 consecutive games in two years, and had 104 tackles during his last two seasons. During the 2009 NFL Draft the St. Louis Rams picked Dorell as the 103rd overall pick.
- Michael Hamlin. Player-of-the-Year during junior and senior year of high school, Michael Hamlin went on to become Clemson defensive captain that started 43 games, the most by a defensive back in school history. During his first Clemson start in 2005 he had two interceptions for 42 yards, and eight tackles. In the 2006 season he held the team-high of fifteen tackles in the Music City Bowl against Kentucky and 64 tackles in ten games. Michael Hamlin was also named defensive player-of-the-game by the coaches against Florida Atlantic in 2006. In 2007 Michael intercepted a two-point conversion pass which turned into the first defensive score off an opponent's extra point in Clemson history.
Gaines Adams. After being red-shirted during his 2002 freshman year at Clemson, Gaines Adams became a second-team defensive end who had sixteen tackles in twelve games during 2003. During the 2004 football season he became the first Clemson defensive end to block two punts in one season. In the same year he won the 12th Man Award for Clemson defense, which is the award for top non-starter. The 2005 season Gaines Adams had 56 tackles to rank sixth on the team, but first among defensive linemen. He was the was the fourth overall selection of the 2007 NFL draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and in 2009 was traded to the Chicago Bears. On January 17, 2010 Gaines Adams passed away following a heart attack from an enlarged heart.
- Brian Dawkins. Born October 13, 1973 Clemson first noticed Brian Dawkins when he was a junior at Raines High School, and sucessfully recruited him as a safety after his senior year. During his sophomore year, Brian Dawkins became starting safety and had 66 tackles, three interceptions and earned second-team All-ACC honors. His best game as a Clemson football player he made fifteen tackles against Florida State in 1994. In his four years at Clemson, Brian had 251 tackles, eleven interceptions, and earned National Defensive Player-of-the-Week honors by "Sports Illustrated". He went on to graduate Clemson in 1996 and was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles during the second round. In 2002 Brian Dawkins became the first player in NFL history to have a sack, interception, recovered fumble, and touchdown reception in the same game.