Players Visit Shriners Hosiptal
TigerSource spent four hours Sunday morning and early afternoon at the Shriners Hospital in Greenville, SC. We interviewed many of the stars from both the North Carolina and South Carolina squads, chatted with several of the kids who are patients at the hospital and had a chance to visit with some of the Shriners themselves. But one thing really stuck out on the visit--character. We will spend the next few days talking about athletic ability and evaluation of the field but today we had the pleasure to spend time with some of the nicest kids we have ever met at this game.
A couple of years ago several of the Shriners took notice and complimented the North Carolina staff when most of their players took off their hats when they came into the building. I have seen many teams come through the hospital. Most have been classy and represented themselves well. Some did not and were sent home during the week of practice. Many players find inspiration in the kids who are patients. Others already had it through family members. Today we met two players who have already been through that kind of adversity. One player's mom has had both legs amputated but she has so much to be proud of in her son. Another spoke to me today about his sister's battle with cancer and the loss of her limb.
In a sports world where some selfish athletes embarrass themselves on a daily basis, it is so refreshing to see what I saw today. When Clemson commitment Barry Humphries stopped to speak and thank each Shriner and administrators it only reaffirmed what we had already known. Humphries is a young man with tremendous character. When you talk with those in his community you hear them rave about what kind of person he is. We saw it again today when he took so much from each kid he visited with.
Humphries is one of many players that really impressed us with his personality today. C.J. Byrd has to be one of the nicest young men we have ever had the pleasure to be around. We had a terrific conversation about humility and how his parents raised him. I will take with me forever one of the most pleasant conversations I have ever had with a player of this ability.
Rendrick Taylor not only was the physically most impressive player I met today but also a very nice kid. In today's society many people see long hair or dread locks and they may pass judgment on a kid. Please spend five minutes with Taylor if you had any stereotype biased opinions and you will probably change your opinion.
Damien Wright is another very intelligent young man who was a pleasure. This is a prospect that displayed humility and class. USC is getting a terrific young man in this Sumter native.
We interviewed other really nice kids like Sadat Chambers, Haydrian Lewis, Mike Davis, Montario Hardesty, Alonzo Higgins and Hivera Green. Chambers and Green were shy at first but both really opened up and we pleasured to be around. Lewis is a very likeable personality who is also very bright. Davis and Hardesty are two great backs but both have learned the lesson of humility and both were great kids.
We will interview a total of 35-40 prospects this week but we are really looking forward to visiting with kids we believe to have this kind of character that we did not talk to today. The list of guys we believe to be on this list include: Thomas Austin, Josh Miller, J.C. Neal, Reynaldo Hunter, Jamie Robinson, Mohammed Massaquoi, Joe Cox, Jonathan Hannah and Derek Nicholson.
Tune into our radio show "The Overdrive" weekdays from 3-5 PM as we will play all of our interviews this week with players, coaches, Clemson and USC coaches and have all of the latest news live from the Shrine Bowl. We will attend practice each morning then do our radio show live at the team hotel each day. Also on Saturday tune into WCCP-FM 104.9 or wccpfm.com for the game where I will have the pleasure to be the color analyst alongside Clemson play-by-play announcer Pete Yanity. We will also have updates each day from practices here on TigerSource.