Calhoun Falls is a small town in South Carolina located about an hour south of Clemson in Abbeville County. There are only about 1,900 people that live there as it’s known for its beautiful state park as well as being the hometown of former Clemson Tiger, now Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver, Martavis Bryant and former Major League outfielder, the late Neil Chrisley.
Now Kelly Bryant’s name can be added to that short list of popular athletes from Calhoun Falls.
When No. 5 Clemson runs down the hill and into Death Valley for the first time this season on Saturday, when the Tigers take on Kent State at noon, Bryant will be the first person from Calhoun Falls to be the starting quarterback at Clemson.
“Everybody down there is ready for the season,” Bryant said. “They are giving me words of encouragement whenever I see them. So it has been good vibes from down there so it is always good to go back home and know you have the support from the town’s people there. It has been very good to see and here.”
Bryant remembers those days as a child in Calhoun Falls when he dreamed what it might be like to be the guy at Clemson. Those long afternoons in the backyard and on the playground pretending he was leading the Tigers to glory. On Saturday, he will actually get that opportunity.
“It’s always been my plan,” he said. “I have always thought about being the guy, running down that hill and taking the snaps. Now it seems like it is real. It is coming true, so I just want to keep it going throughout the season.
“It is now up to me to go out there and perform.”
Bryant became the Tigers’ starting quarterback by first being patient as he waited behind two-time Heisman Finalist Deshaun Watson before earning the job as he beat out talented freshmen Zerrick Cooper and Hunter Johnson in an intense battle that began in the spring and lasted well into fall camp.
But now, he is the guy and his dream of being is childhood team’s starting quarterback has come true.
“I’m just so anxious now getting ready for that kickoff and the first couple of snaps of being in the Valley,” Bryant said. “There is just so much good energy around here. I’m just anxious.
“It is game week so the energy is here. Now it is time we turn the page and focus on someone else besides Clemson. Fall camp is done. It’s football season. I’m ready to play.”
And his small hometown of Calhoun Falls is ready to watch him play.