2018: Tabbed as the best overall defensive player in the Sun Belt Conference by SB Nation . . . Athlon Sports Preseason First Team All-Sun Belt Conference . . . Among current A-State players, returns for his senior season as the team’s career leader in almost every major defensive statistical category, including tackles (179), tackles for loss (18.0), interceptions (4), pass break-ups (19) and forced fumbles (4) . . . 23 career passes defended are the most among all Sun Belt players entering the 2018 season . . . Clifton is one of just 17 NCAA FBS players this decade (2010-17) to compile career numbers featuring at least 179 tackles, 18 tackles for loss and 19 pass break-ups, while he is one of just three in the nation to do so over the last three seasons (2015-17).
2017: Second Team All-Sun Belt Conference . . . Jim Thorpe Award Watch List . . . Started every game at nickel, finishing the season with 63 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, one interception, career-best 13 pass break-ups, career-high two forced fumbles and his first career fumble recovery . . . Ranked third on the team in tackles, second in pass break-ups and tied for second in forced fumbles . . . Ranked 35th in the Sun Belt in tackles and fifth in passes defended (14), Clifton was the only player in the league and one of just six players in the nation with 63 or more tackles and at least 13 pass break-ups . . . He was one of just four players in the nation in 2017 to compile at least 63 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss and 13 pass break-ups . . . Ended the season ranked 32nd in the nation in passes defended . . . Posted multiple tackles in every game and had double-figure stops in two outings, including a career-tying 12 against SMU . . . Responsible for at least a 0.5 tackle for loss in six games, including a season-best 1.0 in three different contests . . . Accounted for at least one pass break-up in nine games, including a career-best three against South Alabama . . . Phil Steele’s, Street & Smith’s, Lindy’s and Athlon Preseason First Team All-Sun Belt Conference . . . Phil Steele’s No. 45 ranked “Top Draft Eligible Strong Safety” in the nation at the start of the season.
2016: Second Team All-Sun Belt Conference . . . College Sports Madness Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Week (Nov. 20) . . . Played in all 13 games, including 11 as a starter . . . Recorded a career-high 87 tackles that were the second most on the team . . . Ranked 20th in the Sun Belt in tackles with 6.7 stops per game . . . Career-best 8.0 tackles for loss were the fifth most on the squad . . . Also recorded two interceptions and five pass break-ups, the second and fourth most on the team, respectively . . . Seven passes defended tied the 14th most in the Sun Belt . . . Recorded double-figure tackles in three games, including a career-high 12 against UCA, 11 versus Toledo and 10 against Texas St. . . . Responsible for at least four tackles in every game and six or more in seven outings . . . Posted at least 1.0 tackles for loss in five games and had a season-best two in three contests . . . Both of his interceptions came against Troy, helping A-State knock off the nationally-ranked Trojans . . . Recorded a season-best two pass break-ups against Utah St.
2015: Played in the first 10 games of the season, including one start versus ULM, before suffering a season-ending injury . . . Recorded 29 tackles (20 solo/9 asst.), 5.5 tackles for loss of 27 yards, 2.0 sacks for loss of seven yards, one forced fumble, five quarterback hurries, one pass break-up and one interception he returned 37 yards for a touchdown in A-State’s victory over South Alabama . . . Posted at least one tackle in every game played and had multiple stops in nine, including a season-high five against both ULM and Missouri State . . . All 5.5 TFL came in different games, as did his 2.0 sacks . . . Sun Belt Conference Academic Honor Roll and A-State Athletics Director’s Honor Roll.
HIGH SCHOOL: 3-star recruit by ESPN, which also rates him as the No. 36 player in the state of Mississippi and the No. 130 linebacker in the nation . . . Rated as the No. 46 player in the state of Mississippi and the No. 177 outside linebacker in the nation by 247Sports . . . Four-year varsity letterman . . . A strong force for Tupelo High School over the past three seasons, Clifton quietly worked his into one of the state of Mississippi’s best linebackers at the end of his senior campaign . . . Earned all-conference and all-state honors in class 6A and was the Defensive Player of the Year in his conference . . . Helped lead Tupelo to the Class 6A state championship and has displayed quickness and strength at football camps over his last two seasons . . . Honorary Scholar Distinction Award . . . Named to the Mississippi roster for the Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Classic . . . Also recruited by schools such as Louisiana-Lafayette, Middle Tennessee and Southern Mississippi.
PERSONAL: Born Oct. 9, 1996 . . . Son of Aretha Nabors . . . Exercise Science major.
CLIFTON'S CAREER STATISTICS