Carman bulldozes a Syracuse player
Carman bulldozes a Syracuse player

Diet change and old-fashioned alarm clock helping Carman maximize his talents

by - Senior Writer -

CLEMSON – Jackson Carman had all the tools to be great. He just needed accountability.

Jackson, Clemson’s super sophomore left tackle, has made the nation take notice with his play during the Tigers’ first four games, living up to the 5-star status he had in high school. It wasn’t always that way, however. There were questions about his weight and questions about his dedication after he was late to team events.

Those questions seem to have been answered, and it started when he realized he was too heavy to compete in team drills.

“When I was 375 pounds trying to go through mat drills,” Carman said of when he noticed weight was a problem. “It’s not an easy task if anyone was wondering. It’s been gradual. It’s actually been fun because I learn so many things…I have also gained a lot of muscle mass and strength over the time since I’ve been here.”

Carman also missed many of those 5:30 a.m. workouts and had to buy an old-fashioned alarm clock.

“I would be in such a deep sleep that my alarm would go off, and I would still be sleeping, and I would hear the alarm in my dream,” he said. "It would just turn into my dream. I wouldn’t even wake up. It would incorporate itself into my dream. I would just sleep right through it with the alarm going. I bought an old-timey fancy alarm clock with bells that jumps on the table. I would also set every other alarm in my house and ask my roommate to help me.”

Carman’s actions didn’t sit well with his teammates.

"Definitely backlash, and even though it seemed negative at the moment -- it was definitely positive because it puts that pressure and accountability," Carman said. "Like if we’re all gonna be here, why are you not gonna be here? You’ve gotta be a part of the team. You’ve gotta put in just as much work as everyone else does. If anyone were to miss, if Trevor or Christian Wilkins missed, we’d be on them the same way."

During those long hours of self-discovery, Carman made the decision to utilize all of his talents.

“At this level everyone’s good, you know what I mean? Everyone has talent, everyone has potential,” Carman said. “You have to find what’s going to be able to separate you from everyone else. So if you’re willing to work harder than everyone else in the room, then you’ll end up being the best in the room, but if you just sit back and think that your talent is going to carry you, it’s only going to take you so far.

"You think about it, the more talent you have, the harder you work, the better you can be. Why would you not want to maximize?"

Head coach Dabo Swinney has seen a positive change in Carman.

"I think he wants to be the best in the country," Swinney said on Tuesday. "I don't think he just wants to be the best in this league. I think he wants to be the best in the country. I think he's just gotten serious about life, accountability, discipline. Very immature when he got here. Not in a bad way, just couldn't show up on time. Making a 5:30 a.m. workout was hard for him. He was one of the least accountable guys.

"Once he realized there wasn't going to be any compromise just because he was a good player he eventually bought in. And it's just been sky-straight forward for him. Mitch did a great job of really mentoring him, and then these other guys. You talk about John Simpson, Tremayne Anchrum, Sean Pollard, Gage Cervenka. Those are four great leaders, unbelievably committed, and it was like, 'Hey, this is how it's gonna be.'

"And Jackson, man, he jumped in there, and now he's a leader. And if you'd have told me that at this time last year, I'd have laughed at you. He's just kind of happy-go-lucky and this is easy. But he's now really become a very polished, complete player. Academically, just socially, just as a man. And certainly, on the field his presence has been felt these first four games. He's been awesome."

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