Swinney and Clemson Family Reunion: A Decade To Remember


by - Senior Writer -
Dante Stewart, Charone Peake, Robert Smith, and Travis Blanks with Swinney Friday.
Dante Stewart, Charone Peake, Robert Smith, and Travis Blanks with Swinney Friday.

CLEMSON – Spring is the time of year when families gather in a church fellowship hall or under a covered picnic shelter for the annual family reunion. The family catches up on family news and eats a few meals and recalls earlier times.

Dabo Swinney’s first Swinney Football Family Reunion is happening Saturday as the program will host its “Decade to Remember Reunion: The Swinney Era, 2008-2019.” Swinney is expecting close to 200 players, dating back to when Swinney became Clemson’s interim head coach in 2008. They will attend Saturday’s half-practice/scrimmage at Death Valley and then eat barbecue and tell stories. There will even be a portion of night that will be “open mic” and will be sure to be entertaining.

“We have all kinds of guys coming in, it is going to be a blast to hug everybody’s neck and have some fun and try to have an old fashion Swinney team meeting tomorrow night with these guys. I’m looking forward to that,” Swinney said following Friday’s practice.

Wide receiver Sammy Watkins will be on hand to talk about his Super Bowl win, while Nuk Hopkins and Charone Peak, Breeland, Ben Boulware, Kavell Conner, CJ Spiller, Dwayne Allen, Andre Ellington, Grady Jarrett, Hunter Renfrow, Aaron Kelly, Jonathan Meeks, Michael Palmer, Bradley Pinion, Marcus Gilchrist, TJ Green, AJ Terrell, Deshaun Watson, DeShawn Williams, DJ Reader, and Dorian O’Daniel are just a few of the former players that will be on campus.

“It is really cool for me,” Swinney said. “First of all, I can’t believe I have been here long enough to have a reunion. But it is what it is. Some of these guys are like 33, 34-years old that were on that ’08 team. We took the last decade and through that interim group in ’09. We are going to have a ball this weekend.”

Clemson has had a fantastic run over the last decade – two National Championships, played for four National Championships, won five consecutive ACC Championships, and has appeared in five straight College Football Playoffs.

Swinney turned and pointed to the current team – many of them getting in extra work after practice – and said today’s players might not understand what it took to get to this point.

“As we start the Roaring 20's, as I've been calling them, we are in a different place in '20 than we were in '10. Most of y'all that were here remember that very well,” Swinney said. “In '10 we were in a different place as a program than we are now. A lot of these guys were six or seven in 2009. Nine 10-plus win seasons and five Playoffs, a lot of these guys don't know anything other than who we are and it's kind of hard for them to understand. In 2009 we won our first division and in 2011 we won our first ACC Championship in 20 years. We had our first 11-win season since 1981 in 2012.”

Swinney said he wants his current to meet the players that set the foundation for the current success and understand the obligation they have in continuing the tradition.

“I think with the guys coming back this weekend it's going to be great. I don't think you can really appreciate what you have if you don't know the history and the DNA of it,” Swinney said. “We have talked a lot about that this spring and the responsibility of this team as kick off a new decade. Hopefully, we can have more than six wins like we did in 2010. It's going to be an awesome and special weekend hanging out with these guys. We are going to have some fun.”

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