Tigers Show Fans Their Appreciation

by - Correspondent -

Special to TigerNet from the Seneca Daily Journal/Clemson Messenger

CLEMSON --- The gates to Memorial Stadium opened upped just enough Sunday to where a few of the throngs of Clemson fans waiting on the other side could slip through in search of their favorite players, while waiting for the festivities of Clemson’s Fan Appreciation Day to begin.

Some ran up to fifth-year senior quarterback Will Proctor, while others stopped Chansi Stuckey for a quick picture and an autograph.

At about that same time, Clemson running back James Davis was making his way up from Frank Howard field to his designated area under the South Stands. But Davis’ attempt to get to his table was unsuccessful as one fan after another asked for pictures and autographs.

This was the scene for nearly three hours Sunday afternoon as all of Clemson’s players and coaches signed autographs and took pictures for the thousands of fans dressed in orange from head-to-toe.

All of this was just another example that the enthusiasm for the No. 18 ranked Tigers is at its highest form than in any of Tommy Bowden’s previous seven seasons. Clemson has been ranked in every preseason magazine and poll released to this point, and is the media’s darling pick to win the ACC’s Atlantic Division.

“We have looked this way before,” Bowden said. “We have been at this position before with similar excitement and had not produced. So there is some caution from our standpoint, knowing until November it is irrelevant.”

But it isn’t November, it’s August, and right now, the Clemson Tigers are perhaps the hottest thing going in the State of South Carolina. Bowden admits to noticing there is a different level of excitement about the upcoming season.

“It does seem like there is a little more enthusiasm,” he said. “I can’t put my finger on it because there is always enthusiasm here, but I can understand why it can be higher.

“It just seems like through the IPTAY meetings and being around this summer that there is a little more excitement. Though I wish I can say ‘yeah I remember this guy picked up my gas tab up there at the gas station.’ It is not that high, but there is more excitement.”

Bowden feels most of the excitement is based on what has taken place at Clemson in the last year. The Tigers closed the 2005 season with six wins in their last seven games --- the first Clemson team in 14 years to do so --- and 15 starters and 43 lettermen return from that team.

For the second straight year, Bowden and his staff signed a top-15 class and phase one of the WestZone project was completed.

“I think a combination of things have made it like the moon, the stars and the sun have all lined up like it hasn’t been in the last 15 years,” Bowden said.

Even the Clemson players are feeling a little more loved than in years past. Though he hasn’t taken the first snap from under center, Will Proctor’s No.14 jersey is lined up all downtown on clothes racks outside of stores. There are even some shops that carry “I heart WP” T-shirts.

“I have fun with all this stuff,” Proctor said. “At fan day, I’m going to try to sign as many autographs I can and as many as anyone wants.

“I have a good time with all the fans.”

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