Swinney says his senior class does not let football define them
For guys like Christian Wilkins, Hunter Renfrow, Austin Bryant, Mitch Hyatt, Kendall Joseph, Milan Richard and the rest of the senior class, the last four years have been wonderful. Their college experience at Clemson is like no other.
Not only have they won a lot of games and a lot of championships, but they have also built memories and friendships that will last a lifetime. As special as these moments are, remembering them 10 to 20 years from now will make them even more special.
“I cannot wait ten years from now, I don’t know where we’ll be, but ten years from now to see what this group of young men are going to do in life. It’s going to be unbelievable to see,” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said. “I’ve had some great, amazing, dynamic leaders that have come through our program the last ten years. But collectively, as a group, I’ve never seen anything like it. I mean, it’s just amazing.”
Clemson’s seniors became the first group, not just in Clemson history, but in ACC history to win four straight outright championships. They made the College Football Playoff every single year, has won a national championship and their 53 career wins is not only an ACC record, but it ties for most wins by a senior class in college football history.
“I was a part of a pretty special group when I was a player,” Swinney said. “I mean, we went 11-1 my junior year, 13-0 my senior year and we won the first conference championship game. I had an unbelievable experience as a player. Won the National Championship. We were a pretty special senior class, at that time.
“I’ve been around some great groups here. Man, that senior class last year, the year before, I think this is either the fourth or fifth year in a row that our senior class has become the winningest class in school history. This group has taken it a step forward because they’re the winningest class in ACC history. Now they’ve tied the record for college football.”
However, putting all the wins and championships aside, what makes this year’s senior class special is how consistent they have been in everything they do, whether it’s working out, practice or in the classroom. They have consistently worked hard for a long period of time to become the best.
“You just got to tip your hat,” Swinney said. “For me, like I said, as a grown man, to see in this world a bunch of young people be so passionate about something, just sold out to achieve it, and bought in, just truly love each other. I mean, man, the servant leadership on our team is unbelievable. These guys are amazing human beings, first and foremost. They’re great players, but they are unbelievable young people that are going to dominate in life.”
Swinney appreciates the fact he gets to be around his seniors as much as he does, and he hates he can’t truly share the moments he gets to have with them behind closed doors.
“I wish everybody could be a part of my meetings that I have on Mondays and Fridays with these guys,” he said. “To hear some of the things that are articulated. It just gives you great inspiration for what our future is going to be when you’ve got a bunch of young people like this. Man, they’re winners.
“They don’t let football define them. It’s bigger than that with this group. They’re going to do some awesome things in life.”