Emotional Isaiah Simmons recaps bittersweet night in the Superdome
|Friday, January 17, 2020, 1:37 PM- -|
NEW ORLEANS, LA – One game doesn’t define Clemson football and it certainly won’t define Isaiah Simmons.
While the season, and possibly Simmons’ Clemson career, didn’t end the way he wanted it to, one game and one loss doesn’t write the story for the 2019 Clemson football team.
Simmons was full of emotion as he walked off the Superdome field late Monday night, but as upset as he was by the outcome of the game, he was just happy with the time he spent with his coaches and teammates over the last three years.
“At the end of the year, it's always emotional regardless of if you win or lose because there are some guys that you may have become really close with throughout your years in college and you're parting ways,” Simmons said after Monday night’s national championship. “You don't go see them every single day anymore and watch film with them, practice, lift. Things change. It's all emotional. The loss definitely made it hurt more. Nobody wants to go out like that. It was more tears of joy than tears of sorrow just because we know what we did together as a group.”
The game was full of ups and downs but through it all and during the immediate aftermath, Simmons enjoyed every second.
“At the end of the day, this game doesn't write out who we are as a team, who we are as a program,” Simmons said. “I know what kind of year we had together. I enjoyed it. I enjoyed this game and just being out there with my guys and some of the guys who are leaving. I just enjoyed it all. We had a great group of seniors along with the group of juniors that this will serve as their last year. It was great. I just really enjoyed myself.”
Winning back-to-back national championships is something not many programs have done, and while Clemson came up short, their 29-game ride was an incredible journey.
“It's hard to win any game,” he said. “It doesn't matter who you're playing. Tonight really came down to who was the better team. They executed better than we did. They had more big plays and first downs. It's definitely hard to repeat. That would've been our 30th game in a row that we would've won, which would've been incredible. 29 games is incredible.”
Simmons – who is being billed as a first-round pick in the NFL Draft – has a decision to make about his future. Should he decide to make the jump, he took time immediately after the game to thank the fans who have followed Clemson nationwide.
“Pretty much I just wanted to thank them for being the best fans and fanbase in the nation,” he said. “They show up in all types of weather, no matter how far they have to travel. I really just wanted to thank them for all of their support.”