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Dantzing to Victory

It's always fun to sit back and think "what if?" What if the earth was flat? What if the moon was made of green cheese? What if Woodrow Dantzler's father didn't force his son to get involved in athletics?

"Growing up in a house with two older sisters and no brother, he wanted to get me into something athletic just to occupy my time," said Dantzler, Clemson's starting quarterback. Before sports, "I don't think I did anything. Get in trouble basically."

Unfortunately for opposing defenses, he discovered football and hasn't looked back.

Entering this weekend's game against Virginia, the Tiger offense is second in the nation in scoring behind Kansas State and second in total offense behind Air Force.

In three weeks, Dantzler has turned heads with his performances. The redshirt junior from Orangeburg, S.C. is second in the nation in passing efficiency and 38th in rushing.

Dantzler leads the ACC in passing efficiency and rushing. And thanks to coach Tommy Bowden's offensive scheme, he could become the first player in conference history to finish atop both categories.

"It's just such a fun, explosive offense that you can't help but like it," Dantzler said. "It's a whole lot of fun, especially when everything's going well for you."

His versatility earned him a feature article in Sports Illustrated that touted a new style of quarterbacks. Yet Dantzler hasn't been overwhelmed to the heaps of praise for his "unique" style.

"Guys like us have always been around, but now we're starting to come out of the fog and get a little attention," Dantzler said. "You could see this coming. Defenses are getting so much better. Now they've got more athletic guys up front, linebackers that can run as well as defensive backs who always could run. You need a guy who's pretty mobile."

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    In his first game of the 2000 season against The Citadel, he broke two Clemson passing records. He completed 16 of 17 passes to break a 41-year old completion percentage record, and his 247.2 efficiency rating was the best single-game mark in school history.

    Dantzler's accuracy also has earned him the No. 2 ranking for interception avoidance in Clemson history. He has thrown just six interceptions in 218 attempts.

    Virginia coach George Welsh said he "can't remember anybody in recent memory" like Dantzler. Virginia linebacker Donny Green went even further in describing the Tiger offense.

    "It's like Florida State with Ronald Curry at quarterback," said Green, a former Hampton High teammate of the North Carolina quarterback. "It's dangerous. He has a green light to go any time he wants."

    Regardless of the hype that surrounds him, Dantzler is not focused on personal glory. He wants to do his job.

    "What I think about is executing offense," he said. "If this offense is executed the way it's supposed to be, things like [leading the ACC in passing and rushing] will happen. That's just the potential of this offense"


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