Before running down the hill in Memorial Stadium and taking the field to face Florida State on Saturday, Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant might let his mind wander back 10 years, to the first time he visited the stadium.
Clemson’s opponent will be the same as that day, but for Bryant, nothing else will be.
Grace Raynor of the Charleston Post and Courier told the story of how Bryant’s father, Russ Bryant, surprised his son with tickets to the Clemson-Florida State game on the first weekend of the 2007 season. It was the younger Bryant’s first time attending a Clemson game. Even though the two sat in the stadium’s upper deck, Kelly was enthralled.
“I had never seen Kelly act that way before,” Russ told Raynor. “He was really sold.”
Clemson upset the No. 18 Seminoles that day. Dabo Swinney was the team’s wide receivers coach at the time, and Jimbo Fisher was in his first season as Florida State’s offensive coordinator.
Seeing the Tigers play in person had a lasting effect on Kelly.
“He said, ‘Dad, I had a really good time,’” Russ recalled. “And that made me feel joy in my heart once he said that because that’ll be a tie he’ll carry for the rest of his life.”
Kelly was less verbose in his summation of the experience.
“That was pretty sweet,” he said.
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