Former Clemson star Corey Crawford gets to relive ‘The Most Exciting 25 Seconds in College Football’ while other former college football players are excited to experience one of college football’s greatest traditions
Corey Crawford will get to do something Saturday most former Clemson players only dream they could do one more time … touch Howard’s Rock and run down the hill.
Crawford, who played defensive end for the Tigers from 2011-’14, will get the opportunity to relive his playing days at Clemson again as one of the 50 or so players who are extra’s in the Disney movie “Safety” that is being shot at halftime of the top-ranked Tigers’ game against Charlotte Saturday at Death Valley.
“It is crazy. I am too excited about it,” Crawford said to The Clemson Insider. “I am trying not to get too hyped up and jump off the little hump in the middle of the hill. It is going to be something crazy. Being able to relive that experience, ‘The Most Exciting 25 seconds in College Football,’ it is really exciting to be able to do it again.”
“Safety” is based on the life of former Clemson player Ray Ray McElrathbey and how he took on the custody of his little brother Fahmarr and kept him out of social services when his mother went into drug rehab and there was no father in the picture.
McElrathbey was just 19 years old at the time.
“I didn’t really know a lot about the story, but I knew Fahmarr when he was here,” Crawford said. “He was with Jeff Davis for a while before he moved out to California with his brother. Fahmarr is around Will (Swinney’s) and Drew (Swinney’s) age. He was with the Davis twins.
“I really did not know much about Ray Ray before the movie came about.”
Obviously, Crawford is not the only former college football player being used in the film. More than 100 or so former college players, some that played in the ACC, SEC and Big Ten, will play the role of Clemson and Florida Atlantic players during the six to eight minutes the production crew will shoot a couple of scenes at halftime.
The movie is reacting parts of the Tigers’ 54-6 win over Florida Atlantic to start the 2006 football season, a game in which McElrathbey had four tackles while playing on special teams and at defensive back that day.
Clemson is asking fans to please stay in their seats at halftime so the movie can get realistic shots on what Death Valley is like on game day.
One of the scenes will be of the Tigers’ entrance into Memorial Stadium. Thirty seconds into halftime, the fake Clemson players will charge down the hill and into Death Valley.
“I have seen those guys run down that hill probably 50 times on television. I have always thought it was so cool,” former Indiana wide receiver and defensive back Collin Taylor said. “So when I found out they were doing a Clemson film, and first off it is an awesome story, but the fact we get to be there on the field at halftime of a game, it’s exciting because it gives you the feeling that you are actually there, you are on the field.”
The film’s producer, Mark Ciardi, is hoping to give the movie a realistic look at what a game is like in Death Valley, similar to the one the producers and directors were able to portray about Notre Dame’s game-day atmosphere in the 1993 sports drama, “Rudy”.
“There are things that stick out it my college career, like running out on the field for my first start against Illinois on Homecoming. Running out at the Big House and playing against Michigan. Running out for the bowl and the first time being introduced in a championship game professionally, you know little things that stick out,” Taylor said. “I always try to make sure I am in the moment because I think it is really easy to get lost in everything that you have going on around you.
“I think this will be another opportunity to close my eyes and relax and really soak it in. Just the number of people who want to run down the hill compared to the number of people who do get the opportunity to do it, it is a very, very small percentage. There will be 85,000 people watching. I am definitely going to be in the moment and really soak all of that in.”
Blake Sims, who was a part of Alabama’s national championships teams in 2011 and 2012, will not get to run down the hill, but will instead be the quarterback of the Florida Atlantic team. He was recruited by Clemson in 2009 and even attended a game.
He remembers what Death Valley was like, and he is anxious to get on Frank Howard Field and experience it from a different perspective.
“I remember in ’09 when I went to a game, I remember how crazy the fans were when the players went down the hill,” said Sims, who was Alabama’s starting quarterback in 2014. “I am ready to see it again. It is exciting to see because a lot of schools don’t have that tradition. It is kind of different from everybody.”
But no one is more excited than Crawford, who will get to experience “The Most Exciting 25 Seconds in College Football” one more time.
“It is going to epic,” said Crawford, who will be wearing No. 77 in the movie. “I am truly excited for this opportunity. There are a lot of guys I know playing in the NFL that wish they could strap it up and play inside Memorial Stadium again. There is nothing like it.
“For me to be able to relive it, it is going to be epic for me.”
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