CLEMSON — Sports Illustrated covers and appearances are becoming a regular occurrence for Clemson, but the Tigers have never been featured quite like this before.
In SI’s double issue (April 18-25) hitting newsstands this week, the magazine is previewing the upcoming NFL Draft. Clemson has three potential first-round products, but the Tigers were highlighted in a completely different way.
SI photoshopped an illustration of the line of scrimmage with Clemson’s offensive line against the mighty defense of the Seattle Seahawks. The picture accompanied stories written by senior NFL reporter Greg A. Bedard and college football writer Andy Staples examining whether college football breeds solid professional prospects,
Seen clearly in the photo is center Jay Guillermo with his hand on the football. To his left in focus is former left guard Eric Mac Lain, and shown (yet a bit blurry) are left tackle Mitch Hyatt and ex-tight end Jay Jay McCullough. It’s not clear which right guard and right tackle were lined up next to Guillermo in the photo.
The Tigers line up against a pack of seven Seahawks; the player most visible is All-Pro outspoken cornerback Richard Sherman.
Guillermo and Mac Lain, upon seeing the image on social media, tweeted their delight at the unorthodox photo.
Staples’ story includes a segment with Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney, delving into the era with former offensive coordinator Chad Morris, quarterback Tajh Boyd and current NFL receivers DeAndre Hopkins and Sammy Watkins.
Clemson was on four separate SI covers last year during its run to the College Football Playoff national championship game. Quarterback Deshaun Watson graced two covers during the regular season, and tailback Wayne Gallman and defensive end Shaq Lawson were each pictured in the weeks leading up to the Tigers’ 45-40 title loss to Alabama.
Both Clemson and Seattle have reached their sport’s championship round recently. The Seahawks made back-to-back Super Bowls after the 2013 and 2014 seasons, first beating the Broncos then losing in the final minute to the New England Patriots.
By the way, SI’s mock NFL Draft projects three Clemson players to be taken in the first round — which would be a first in school history. SI projects Lawson to be selected No. 10 overall by the New York Giants, cornerback Mackensie Alexander 26th by the Seahawks and defensive end Kevin Dodd 30th by the Carolina Panthers. The NFL draft begins April 28.