In Clemson’s senior meeting prior to its game against Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl on Saturday night, normally soft-spoken Artavis Scott had a message for his teammates that resonated loud and clear.
“Let’s not have this be the last time we strap on our pads,” he said.
It wouldn’t be, as Clemson’s dominant 31-0 blanking of the Buckeyes set up one final showdown, a rematch of last year’s national championship game against Alabama.
Scott, a junior who is quietly one of Clemson’s all-time great receivers, hasn’t completely ruled out a potential return to Clemson. But he graduated with a communications degree in December, participated in Senior Day activities in November and is likely headed to the NFL after the title game on Jan. 9.
So, Scott has a chance to win a national championship in what will probably be his final game. Moreover, he has the chance to do it at home.
Scott will play in front of many family members and friends when the Tigers take on the Crimson Tide in Tampa, which is located less than an hour from his hometown of Clearwater, Fla.
“We’re playing a great team, and we had a bumpy road, but we just kept fighting, kept chopping away,” Scott said, “and it’s awesome that it’s back in my home state.”
Scott, who is second on the team behind Mike Williams with 73 catches this season, has accomplished a lot in his three seasons as a Tiger. The former four-star prospect from East Lake High School enters the national championship game having totaled 242 catches, 2,474 yards and 19 touchdowns in his career.
On Saturday, he became Clemson’s career receptions leader with a 7-yard catch in the second quarter that marked No. 241. It was the 37th consecutive game that Scott has recorded a reception, setting the school record he shared with Sammy Watkins entering the contest.
The 5-foot-10, 190-pounder who has always played bigger than his size also ranks seventh in school history with the 2,474 receiving yards. In addition, he is just a touchdown away from tying fellow receiver Mike Williams and former receiver Aaron Kelly for third place on Clemson’s all-time receiving touchdowns list with 20.
A three-time All-ACC receiver, Scott has checked off a lot of personal goals in his career. Now, it’s all about completing Clemson’s last team goal — winning the closer and earning the school’s first national championship in 35 years.
“They’re the best team in the country. We wouldn’t want to have it any other way,” Scott said of playing Alabama. “They’re a great team, so we just have to go take them down. They’ve been the best for a while, so if you want to be the best then you have to beat the best.”
The narrow defeat at the hands of Alabama in the 2015 national title game has fueled Clemson all year long, and that fire inside of the Tigers is burning as intensely as ever right now.
“There’s a little salt in our mouth from what happened last year, and we know what we could have done to change the game,” Scott said. “But we’re focused on just going to play them and competing.”
If Scott’s next game is indeed his last, there would be no better way for him to cap his historic career than to help Clemson win it all while playing at home where it all began.
“I know I have a lot of support back home,” Scott said, “so going down there and playing with my brothers to win this national championship is going to be awesome.”