Christmas is the season of giving. As we celebrate today, here are a few gifts I’d like to give to various players and coaches on campus for feats from the past year:
Deshaun Watson, Key to the City of Columbia: Watson promised he would never lose to the Gamecocks, and he delivered with a 3-0 career mark against Clemson’s most bitter rival. One could argue he owns Columbia, so receiving the key to the city would only serve to formalize that sentiment.
Christian Wilkins, Power Rangers collectible set: Wilkins will be the defense’s emotional leader next year, but he already toes the line of business on the field and fun off of it as well as anyone. The defensive line’s Halloween costume deserves to be immortalized, and he is seen as the one who birthed the idea.
Mike Williams, Saddle: Perhaps Williams’ finest moments came against South Carolina, when he carried Gamecock defenders across the goal line. The saddle also cements his status as the Tigers’ top skill player. A consolation gift would be the Footprints parody going around the internet, which is also about Williams carrying defenders into the end zone.
Marcus Edmond, Three feet of turf: That’s approximately how far James Quick was from the first down marker when Edmond tackled him at the end of the Louisville game. The play he made there might have saved the season. As an added bonus, the turf could come from the east end zone, where Edmond’s overtime interception sealed a win over NC State.
Hunter Renfrow, Robert Horry jersey: No player epitomizes clutchness to this generation of sports fans like Horry. Renfrow has similar qualities, showing up only when his team needs him most.
Ray-Ray McCloud, September 2016 calendar: Remember when McCloud was named a Player of the Week three different times during the first month of the season? It’s important that he does, because since then, McCloud’s season has gone south. Better luck in 2017 for him.
Tavien Feaster, New transmission: Coaches have raved about Feaster’s potential, but his inability to play fast has kept him on the sidelines for much of this season. The Tigers will need him to kick it into gear next season to create some explosiveness on the ground.
Seth Beer, Telescope: I’ve seen some of Beer’s moonshot home runs. The one he hit in Athens was legendary. I’m not convinced some of them have left orbit yet, so maybe he can track the progress of his longest home runs after the fact with this gift.
Pat Krall, All seasons of “The Closer” on DVD: Kyra Sedgwick was a baller in this series. I watched every episode. Pat Krall was more valuable at the back end of Clemson’s bullpen in 2016 than Sedgwick was to the LAPD’s Major Crimes Division. Now he can make that comparison for himself.
Robert Jolly, Santa suit: When your name is Jolly, you get a Santa suit. This isn’t a hard concept. Also, he’s a fun person, so his personality would fit Santa’s personality perfectly.
Brad Brownell/Jaron Blossomgame, Framed picture of both of them: Brownell’s top recruiting job was getting Blossomgame to come back for his senior season. Blossomgame has a chance to reach the NCAA Tournament. The two will forever be joined at the hip in Clemson basketball history, and now they can both memorialize it.
Avry Holmes, Portrait of Lewis and Clark: Holmes transferred to Clemson from San Francisco when it wasn’t cool to do so. He blazed the trail, paved the way, cleared the path—really whatever pioneer reference works for you—so that others could follow.
Shelton Mitchell/Marquise Reed/Elijah Thomas, The Three Musketeers: These are the players that followed. All of them transferred from different parts of the country to be part of something unique at Clemson, and they might be among the five most talented players in the program. The book would work as a gift here, or a trio of costumes would also do the trick.
Mike Noonan/Eddie Radwanski, Big empty trophy case: Both the men’s and women’s soccer programs are on the rise. They’re already bringing in conference hardware, and Noonan’s team was on the cusp of a national title a year ago. The good news is that they’re far from finished.
Audra Smith, Amateur sketch of a leprechaun: This is an inside joke, so I’ll just leave it here. But it’s funny, and women’s basketball has started to turn the corner, so it’s well deserved.