Brandon Clear has a great weekend

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Wide receiver Brandon Clear audio (WMA Format)

CLEMSON – Brandon Clear had a great weekend, and the bright smile on his face Monday morning in the West Zone bore testimony to just how good it was.

The junior wide receiver out of Hoover, Alabama, caught his first career touchdown pass Saturday afternoon against North Texas, a 70-yard bomb from quarterback Kyle Parker, but might have gotten the best news of all on Sunday when he found out his father won’t be returning to Afghanistan as was expected.

Clear’s father, Samuel Clear, is a full Colonel in the 82nd Airborne, and had been deployed to Afghanistan when a death in the family late last month brought him home. The expectation, however, was that orders would send him back overseas, so Sunday’s news that he would be able to catch more of the Tigers’ games was good news to his son, who also learned that his dad will be stationed at Virginia’s Fort Monroe.

“I found out yesterday that my father won’t have to go back overseas, so he’ll be able to come to the games and everything like that,” he said. “It was like icing on the cake- with the win and then my father gave me the great news and we’re really glad that he’s going to be able to stay. I didn’t even know he was coming to this first game. He’s serving our country, but the Army allowed him to come see my first game, which was great. We just found out that he won’t have to go back over there so he will be able to catch so more games- I’m really glad that happened.”

His father had been in Atlanta for the funeral, and made it up for Saturday’s game and got to see his son’s first career touchdown. His twin brother Byron, who also played at Clemson but graduated in August to pursue a career in communications, was also at the game but missed the touchdown because he left his seat to get water for their mother.

However, Clear said the entire family was able to celebrate the score.

“My dad was just really proud and my mom was too,” Clear said. “They just know how much hard work I’ve put into this game. All of us actually. For them to be here to see my first catch of the season and it to be a touchdown, it was a great experience to share with them. You just talk about all of the blood, sweat, and tears you put into the game and to see that to come to fruition, it was great.”

The touchdown play was actually called on the sideline during a T.V. timeout, but Clear said that noticing how the safeties were responding to Clemson’s running game prompted the call.

“We actually saw that the corners and the safeties were sitting, so we knew that the play was going to open,” he said. “Kyle [Parker] and I had been working on that the entire week- me running that post, it looked like a “Go” route on the screen because I knew I had to get out of there. I know I should’ve probably broken it in a little more, but we actually saw them sitting.

“Jamie Harper gave a great play fake- he brought down the safety and the corner actually bit on the run as well because he was going full speed. Kyle just launched it out there and I was able to get underneath it and just go ahead and keep on running- I almost fell, but I didn’t. It was a great outcome. I had a lot of fun. Just talking to Kyle throughout the week about that play possibly being there- he just launched it out there. I was glad to see that come.”

Entering Saturday’s contest, Clear had played just 170 snaps in his Clemson career, with only three catches for 31 yards, which came last season, and he said being able to contribute a big play made the hard work worth the result.

“It felt great. Just getting out there and having that first game that you worked so hard during the spring and off season,” he said. “Just to get out there during the fall and earn a spot and try to be the best person you can for your team and get the chance to go out there on a Saturday for all of the fans to see all of the hard work you’ve been putting in. It was a wonderful feeling, so I was glad to get out there finally.”

He was asked what he had to work on to improve, and he mentioned the usual things – blocking, depth on routes, etc., but ended up the interview by saying that if he is going to score more touchdowns, he really needs to work on his touchdown celebration. Following the catch, he simply turned and headed back up the sideline while fellow receiver Bryce McNeal tried in vain to catch up with him to celebrate.

“Yeah, I was just caught up in the moment, and I think I just turned around and went straight to the sideline,” he said, laughing. “I guess that’s one thing I really need to work on.”

Especially now that the Colonel will be watching.

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