"Now the hard part is over and we can get on to winning a championship." And such is the personality of the charismatic wide receiver/defensive back from Bennettesville, South Carolina, -- Tymere Zimmerman.
The 'hard part' he was referring to was the SAT test score that he needed to qualify for entrance into a Division I institution, a score that has taken him an extra year of preparation to obtain.
"I don't think I was ready," said Zimmerman this weekend from his home in Bennettsville. "I mean, I knew it was something I had to do, but I just never really took it seriously until it was too late. But I worked hard this year and I knew it was just a matter of time."
Zimmerman spent this past season at Fork Union Military Academy, a top knotch prep school in Virginia. He caught 25 passes and scored six touchdowns while there. But more importantly, he got himself prepared academically to get the score he needed to pursue his dream.
Despite his problems qualifying early on, he says he was never worried. "I knew I'd get it," said Zimmerman. "I mean, I knew if I worked hard and put it in God's hands, it would happen."
The 6-4, 210lbs receiver will only add to the already strong corps of wide outs that the Tigers boast. Coming out of high school, Zimmerman was one of the top players at his position in the country. He participated in the national high school all star game in Texas, playing defensive back and making some key plays for the East team. He played on the South Carolina Shrine Bowl team and was the leading receiver with over 170 yards in seven receptions. He was voted to several All-American teams, and was a finalist for the SCVarsity.com Athlete of the Year award 2000-01, as well as runner up for the Gridiron Trophy, given to South Carolina's best football player, in 2000.
But all that is past and Tymere is ready to get on with the present and future.
"I'm ready to get to Clemson and start working for that championship," said Zimmerman. "I'm looking forward to seeing Derrick (Hamilton) and Roscoe (Crosby) again. Man, together, look out. And if they need me on defense, that's where I'll be. I'll do whatever they need me to do to make the team better."
One thing he's already done to make the team better was work out. He's been running and lifting on his own since football season ended, and according to him, has gotten stronger and faster.
"I know I've dropped some time off of my 40 and I know for sure I've gotten stronger. I made a committment to myself that I was going to work harder than I ever had so that when I report to Clemson, I'll be in the best shape I've ever been in."
Tymere plans on enrolling at Clemson in May.
Jim Baxter is the editor of SCVarsity.com, the leader in South Carolina high school sports news.