Clemson Comparison art

It was just seven years ago this month when the Huskers and first-year coach Bo Pelini defeated the Clemson Tigers in the 2009 Gator Bowl 26-21. The 7-6 Tigers were led by interim coach Dabo Swinney, who kept his position and eventually took the Tigers to the College Football Playoff Final this season.

So what brought Clemson to the pinnacle of college football while Nebraska continues to scribble around with the drawing board? How did a lesser team get guys such as Deshaun Watson, Tajh Boyd, Sammy Watkins and a long list of prolific players while Nebraska tries to coach up three-stars?

Here’s what happened since Nebraska defeated Clemson in the 2009 Gator Bowl:

2009

Clemson’s top recruit (according to 247sports.com) : Four-star quarterback Tajh Boyd

Nebraska’s top recruit: Four-star quarterback Cody Green

Clemson’s record: 9-5 (Music City Bowl win)

Nebraska’s record: 10-4 (Holiday Bowl win)

Clemson’s NFL Draft Picks: 4 (Notable players include Chris Clemons)

Nebraska’s NFL Draft Picks: 3 (Matt Slauson)

2010

Clemson’s top recruit: Four-star wide receiver Martavis Bryant

Nebraska’s top recruit: Four-star offensive tackle Andrew Rodriguez

Clemson’s record: 6-7 (Meineke Car Care Bowl loss)

Nebraska’s record: 10-4 (Holiday Bowl loss)

Clemson’s NFL Draft Picks: 5 (C.J. Spiller, Jacoby Ford)

Nebraska’s NFL Draft Picks: 3 (Ndamukong Suh)

2011

Clemson’s top recruit: Five-star outside linebacker Tony Steward

Nebraska’s top recruit: Four-star running back Aaron Green

Clemson’s record: 10-4 (Orange Bowl loss)

Nebraska’s record: 9-4 (Capital One Bowl loss)

Clemson’s NFL Draft Picks: 6 (Byron Maxwell, Da’Quan Bowers)

Nebraska’s NFL Draft Picks: 7 (Prince Amukamara, Roy Helu Jr., Niles Paul)

2012

Clemson’s top recruit: Four-star defensive tackle Carlos Watkins

Nebraska’s top recruit: Four-star offensive tackle Paul Thurston

Clemson’s record: 11-2 (Chick-fil-A Bowl win)

Nebraska’s record: 10-4 (Capital One Bowl loss)

Clemson’s NFL Draft Picks: 4 (Dwayne Allen)

Nebraska’s NFL Draft Picks: 4 (Lavonte David)

2013

Clemson’s top recruit: Five-star cornerback Mackensie Alexander

Nebraska’s top recruit: Four-star running back Terrell Newby

Clemson’s record: 11-2 (Orange Bowl win)

Nebraska’s record: 9-4 (Gator Bowl win)

Clemson’s NFL Draft Picks: 4 (DeAndre Hopkins, Andre Ellington)

Nebraska’s NFL Draft Picks: 2 (Rex Burkhead)

2014

Clemson’s top recruit: Four-star quarterback Deshaun Watson

Nebraska’s top recruit: Four-star offensive guard Tanner Farmer

Clemson’s record: 10-3 (Russell Athletic Bowl win)

Nebraska’s record: 9-4 (Holiday Bowl loss)

Clemson’s NFL Draft Picks: 5 (Sammy Watkins, Martavis Bryant)

Nebraska’s NFL Draft Picks: 3 (Stanley Jean-Baptiste)

2015

Clemson’s top recruit: Five-star wide receiver Deon Cain

Nebraska’s top recruit: Four-star cornerback Eric Lee Jr.

Clemson’s record: 14-1 (Orange Bowl win, National Championship loss)

Nebraska’s record: 6-7 (Foster Farms Bowl win)

Since 2009, Clemson has defeated 71 opponents, 14 of them being ranked teams. As for Nebraska, the Huskers have won 64 times since 2009, defeating 10 ranked opponents. Right now, the Tigers are comfortable with coach Dabo Swinney while Mike Riley is looking to get Nebraska close to where Bo Pelini had the Huskers.

The thing with Swinney was that he was able to get the Tigers over the hump. Since 2010, Clemson has beat out Nebraska on the recruiting trail, earning a higher ranked class. Every year during that span, Clemson had a top-20 recruiting class. Despite losing 45-40 to Alabama, the Tigers are in a spot in college football that the Huskers are clawing for.

sports@dailynebraskan.com