PINEHURST, N.C. - Terry Kinard called it "tremendous." Joe Hamilton deemed it the "icing on the cake," a final exclamation point to a college career that was filled with them.
Being named among the 50 best football players in Atlantic Coast Conference history didn't seem to be taken lightly by Kinard, a former Clemson great, and Hamilton, who starred at Georgia Tech.
"I'm gratified," said Hamilton, who played quarterback for the Yellow Jackets from 1996-99. "I'm happy. I want to shake all the voters' hands."
The 50th Anniversary football team was released Tuesday, the final day of the 31st annual ACC Football Kickoff. Kinard, who played defensive back for the Tigers from 1978-82 and was a key cog on the 1981 national title team, was one of nine Clemson players to make the list - the most of any other ACC team, past or present.
Aiken's William Perry and Michael Dean Perry, brothers who were dominant defensive linemen for Clemson during the 1980s, also were selected. The other Tigers were Joe Bostic (1975-78), Jerry Butler (1975-78), Bennie Cunningham (1973-75), Jeff Davis (1978-81), Steve Fuller (1975-78) and Anthony Simmons (1995-97).
Florida State and North Carolina were next with eight players on the list, followed by N.C. State with six. Georgia Tech tied with Wake Forest and Duke with three players each.
The other Yellow Jackets were Marco Coleman (1989-91) and Ken Swilling (1988-91). Former South Carolina halfback Alex Hawkins (1956-58) made the list for the Gamecocks, who withdrew from the ACC in 1971.
The team was selected by a 120-member committee.
"I'm thrilled," said Kinard, who works in Atlanta as a sales manager for Burger King. "That just shows how Clemson University has been a big part of the ACC and has a great tradition in the football program. It has some good quality guys who have come through there. I am extremely proud to be one of the people selected from Clemson, and I'm sure all of the guys that were accepted who played at Clemson would say the same thing."
Kinard was perhaps the most dominant defensive back in ACC history. He was the first and only Tiger to have been a unanimous All-America pick (1982), and he earned All-America honors in 1981 and 1982.
Tuesday's honor was just the latest in a recent series of them for Kinard. Last year, his jersey was retired at Clemson and he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
"The accolades I have received over the last six months have been truly special for me," said Kinard, who recently returned to school and received a degree in Industrial Technology. "I view my college career as something far more special than my NFL career. The relationships and the people that I'm closer to is on the college level."
For Hamilton, who is trying to forge a career in the NFL, being named one of the ACC's 50 best players represented yet more validation of a college career that some didn't think was possible.
Hamilton still appears peeved at critics who said he was too small to be a successful college quarterback. He disproved that assertion by finishing as the 1999 Heisman Trophy runner-up, earning first-team All-America honors and winning the Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award the same year.
"I can't say too much about how I feel right now, because really they can't say anything to me but congratulations," Hamilton said of his doubters. "I don't want to rub it into anybody's face. It's more gratifying to me and Georgia Tech."
ACC TOP 50 (by team)
ACC TOP 50 (by position)
Charlie Ward, Florida State (1990-93)
Boomer Esaison, Maryland (1981-83)
Chris Weinke, Florida State (1997-2000)
Joe Hamilton, Georgia Tech (1996-99)
Steve Fuller, Clemson (1975-78)
Roman Gabriel, N.C. State (1960-61)
Norm Snead, Wake Forest (1958-60)
RUNNING BACKS (11)
Don McCauley, North Carolina (1968-70)
Ted Brown, N.C. State (1975-78)
Amos Lawrence, North Carolina (1977-80)
Tiki Barber, Virginia (1993-96)
Warrick Dunn, Florida State (1993-96)
Kelvin Bryant, North Carolina (1979-82)
Mike Voight, North Carolina (1973-76)
Dick Christy, N.C. State (1955-57)
Frank Quayle, Virginia (1966-68)
Brian Piccolo, Wake Forest (1962-64)
Alex Hawkins, South Carolina (1956-58)
WIDE RECEIVERS/TIGHT ENDS (6)
Peter Warrick, Florida State (1996-99)
Torry Holt, N.C. State (1995-98)
Herman Moore, Virginia (1988-90)
Clarkston Hines, Duke (1986-89)
Jerry Butler, Clemson (1975-78)
Bennie Cunningham, Clemson (1973-75)
DEFENSIVE LINEMEN (8)
Randy White, Maryland (1972-74)
Peter Boulware, Florida State (1994-96)
William Perry, Clemson (1981-84)
Julius Peppers, North Carolina (1991-2001)
William Fuller, North Carolina (1980-83)
Chris Slade, Virginia (1988-92)
Michael Dean Perry, Clemson (1984-87)
Dennis Byrd, N.C. State (1965-67)
OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (6)
Jim Dombrowski, Virginia (1982-85)
Bob Pellegrini, Maryland (1953-55)
Joe Bostic, Clemson (1975-78)
Mike McGee, Duke (1957-59)
Jim Richter, N.C. State (1976-79)
Stan Jones, Maryland (1951-53)
Lawrence Taylor, North Carolina (1978-80)
Derrick Brooks, Florida State (1991-94)
Anthony Simmons, Clemson (1995-97)
Marvin Jones, Florida State (1990-92)
Marco Coleman, Georgia Tech (1989-91)
Jeff Davis, Clemson (1978-81)
Bob Matheson, Duke (1964-66)
DEFENSIVE BACKS (4)
Terry Kinard, Clemson (1978-82)
Dre Bly, North Carolina (1996-98)
Ken Swilling, Georgia Tech (1988-91)
Bill Armstrong, Wake Forest (1973-76)
Sebastian Janikowski, Florida State (1997-99)
QUARTERBACK: Woody Dantzler, Clemson; Shawn Jones, Georgia Tech; Ben Bennett, Duke; Shawn Moore, Virginia
RUNNING BACK: Thomas Jones, Virginia; Lamont Jordan, Maryland; Robert Lavette, Georgia Tech; Terry Kirby, Virginia; Leon Johnson, North Carolina; Natrone Means, North Carolina
WIDE RECEIVER: Desmond Clark, Wake Forest; Jermaine Lewis, Maryland; Marvin Minnis, Florida State
DEFENSE: Mike McCrary, Wake Forest; Levon Kirkland, Clemson; Greg Ellis, North Carolina
SPECIALIST: Johnny Evans, N.C. State (punter)
- Compiled by Scott Michaux and Larry Williams
Reach Larry Williams at (706) 823-3645.