Okay – the Clemson Tigers victory last night doesn’t officially bring the national title to our little town, but it certainly feels like it.
With three homegrown players on the roster – running back Wayne Gallman II, defensive back Ryan Carter, and backup quarterback Nick Schuessler – the Tigers’ win over favored Alabama had a lot of local ties. Current Grayson High School quarterback Chase Brice is committed to Clemson, so the connection looks primed to continue.
Of course, Grayson’s ties to Clemson were deepened this spring when former Grayson head coach Mickey Conn – a teammate and friend of Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney – took a position on the Clemson coaching staff. Conn, who coached GHS to a state title in 2011, serves as a senior defensive assistant on the Tigers staff.
Gallman finished the game with a touchdown and 46 yards on 14 hard carries. The Crimson Tide defense was stout early on, but wore down as Clemson’s offense kept pounding. Alabama’s inability to generate much in the way of offense – they had 7 three-and-outs as well as 11 consecutive failed third-down conversions – played right into Clemson’s hands.
With a strong recruiting base, Clemson’s first national title since 1981 might not be their last. And if local players continue to head up I-85 to join the program in Death Valley, it might not be the last time Grayson celebrates vicariously.