Clemson’s football Mount Rushmore: McFadden, Davis, Kinard, Spiller

The South Carolina Sports Hall of Fame Inductees gather at a hotel in Columbia, S.C., on Thursday, April 26, 2001. In front are, from left, Jeff Davis, Larry Nance and Shelia Foster. In back are Dickie Harris, left, John Kresse. (AP Photo/The State, Katrina A. Clark)

Carving faces out of South Dakota granite is harder, barely.

Building a Clemson football Mount Rushmore and limiting the mountain to four players picked for their college contributions means there is no room for a quarterback or an iconic kitchen appliance — or his brother.

It’s likely that few Tigers fans have the same favorite foursomes.

Final four
(chronological order)

•Banks McFadden (1937-39). A member of the College Football Hall of Fame, McFadden was Clemson’s first great player. A halfback, he led the Tigers to their first bowl game, a 6-3 victory over Boston College in the 1940 Cotton Bowl. The late McFadden dabbled as a basketball All-American and track star.

•Jeff Davis (1978-81). A first-team All-American and the ACC Player of the Year in 1981, the magical season Clemson won the national championship. Davis led the Tigers in tackles in 1981 and was named Defensive MVP of the Orange Bowl conquest of Nebraska.

•Terry Kinard (1979-82). Clemson’s only two-time consensus All-American. Kinard is one of the defensive backs on Sports Illustrated’s All-Century team, and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2001. He leads Clemson with 17 career interceptions.

•C.J. Spiller (2006-2009). The third-year Buffalo Bills running back already has had his Clemson jersey No. 28 retired. He was sixth in the 2009 Heisman Trophy voting. Spiller did quite a bit of everything, finishing with 7,588 all-purpose yards (Derrick Hamilton is a distant second with 4,839). Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year in 2009.

Underrated near miss
It’s very hard to leave Anthony Simmons off the mountain. All this linebacker did from 1995-97 was make the All-ACC first team three times. Clemson had a losing record the year before Simmons arrived and the year after he left for the NFL. Put Simmons on better Clemson teams and he would be a sure-fire College Football Hall of Famer.

In the wings
Junior quarterback Tajh Boyd at his current record-blasting pace will move someone off Clemson’s Mount Rushmore by the end of the 2013 season.

Argument worthy
Everyone has their favorites. There are too many to mention, but here are some of the most prominent:

•Quarterback Steve Fuller (1975-78) is Clemson’s only two-time ACC Player of the Year. He tied for sixth in the 1978 Heisman Trophy voting.

•Brian Dawkins (1992-95), the recently retired NFL safety, likely will become the first Clemson player to make the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

•Linebacker Keith Adams (1998-2000) is Clemson’s leading career tackler.

•Defensive linemen William “The Refrigerator” Perry (1981-84) and Michael Dean Perry (1984-87) each have ACC Player of the Year trophies.

•Quarterback Woodrow Dantzler (1998-2001) was so dazzling, Louisiana Tech players asked for his autograph after the Humanitarian Bowl.

•Jerry Butler (1976-78) was a first-team All-American and twice made the All-ACC first team.

•Fred Cone (1948-50). A Clemson Ring of Honor member, Cone was longtime head coach Frank Howard’s best player and the Tigers’ first 2,000-yard rusher.

•Charlie Whitehurst (2002-2005) owns most Clemson career passing records, and by a wide margin. He also was 4-0 as a starter against South Carolina.

•Raymond Priester (1994-97) is the career rushing leader at a school well known for productive running backs.

Follow Gene Sapakoff on Twitter @sapakoff

The series

Today: Clemson’s football Mount Rushmore - Banks McFadden, Jeff Davis, Terry Kinard, C.J. Spiller

Sunday: South Carolina’s Mount Rushmore

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