100 in 100: Columbus County’s Chester McGlockton, unstoppable defensive tackle

"Big Chet" from Whiteville was dominant at Clemson and then terrorized NFL quarterbacks for nine seasons

Whiteville’s Chester McGlockton terrorized NFL quarterbacks for 12 seasons, registering 51 career sacks. (Kevork Djansezian / AP Photo)

North State Journal’s 100 in 100 series will showcase the best athlete from each of North Carolina’s 100 counties. From Alamance to Yancey, each county will feature one athlete who stands above the rest. Some will be obvious choices, others controversial, but all of our choices are worthy of being recognized for their accomplishments — from the diamond and gridiron to racing ovals and the squared circle. You can see all the profiles as they’re unveiled here.

Columbus County

Chester McGlockton

They didn’t come any bigger or meaner than “Big Chet,” who at 6-foot-3, 335 pounds cast a larger-than-life presence as one of the most feared defensive linemen in football during the 1990s.

He started his career as a tight end and defensive tackle at Whiteville High School, where he played on the varsity all four years and helped the Wolfpack go 15-0 and win a state championship while himself earning Parade All-American honors during his senior season.


At Clemson, McGlockton earned a starting position as a freshman in 1989 and tied for the ACC lead with seven sacks that first year for a team that ranked among the nation’s top 10 in both total defense and rushing defense. His 20.5 sacks are still the 10th-best career total in school history.

Chester McGlockton had 51 sacks in nine NFL seasons with four teams. (Ed Zurga / AP Photo)

McGlockton’s formidable stature and surly attitude made him a perfect fit for the Al Davis-era Los Angeles Raiders, who made him the 16th overall pick in the first round of the 1992 NFL Draft.

He played six seasons with the Raiders, earning Pro Bowl selections in four of them, including 1994 when he recorded a career-high 9.5 sacks and three forced fumbles. He also spent time with the Kansas City Chiefs, Denver Broncos and New York Jets, retiring with 51 total sacks in nine pro seasons.

“There was no one in the NFL who could block Chester if he didn’t want to be blocked,” former teammate Steve Wisniewski told the Bay Area News Group in 2008. “He had that ability to be a dominant force like a Mean Joe Greene. He was as good as they come.”

After retirement, McGlockton began taking better care of himself, losing more than 60 pounds after undergoing lap band surgery. He got into coaching and was an assistant at Stanford when he died of an apparent heart attack at the age of 42 in 2011.