It is crazy how things work out.
If it was not for a bribe, Tee Higgins might never have gone to Clemson. He might never have become the superstar receiver he is today. And Thursday night, instead of hearing his named called out in the 2020 NFL Draft, might be just an ordinary night.
To understand how Higgins became an All-ACC receiver at Clemson, you have to go back 12 years when he was eight years old and was just learning how to catch a football. Like anywhere in the South, the summer months can be hot and humid, and it was no different in Higgins’ hometown of Oak Ridge, Tenn.
“I wasn’t really big on being outside in the heat with all the pads. That was not my thing at the time,” Higgins said to ESPN’s Maria Taylor last week.
During a Pop Warner game, Higgins had enough. He was tired. He was hot and he was done. So, he headed into the stands and sat down beside his aunt.
“It was real hot that day, and I was like, ‘I don’t want to do this,’” Higgins recalled. “So, I went into the stands, in the middle of the game, and sat next to me aunt. She was like, ‘I will buy you two Hot Wheel cars for every touchdown that you score.’
“I was like, ‘You said two, right?’”
So, Higgins got up, went down onto the field, and scored three touchdowns that afternoon.
“After the game I was like, ‘Let’s go to Wal-Mart. Let’s go get my Hot Wheels.’ Ever since then, football is just a part of me and I have loved it ever since,” Higgins said.
If his aunt were still giving Higgins Hot Wheels today, he would have collected 26 this past season alone, and 54 during his career at Clemson. He would have received six for his performance in the ACC Championship Game last December when he hauled in a championship game record three touchdowns.
Higgins will gladly trade those Hot Wheels for dollars, preferably millions of dollars, after he is drafted by an NFL team on Thursday night.
“It is real crazy. Everything is actually starting to hit me now,” Higgins said. “I actually took a moment to myself yesterday and realized what is about to happen with my life. I cried a little bit, simply because this is something that I have always dreamed of. This is something I have always wanted to do.
“I always wanted to be in the NFL and me being able to take care of my mom, and have her stress free, is just something I always wanted to do. So, this is something I have been looking forward to. You know, it is crazy. I am kind of nervous.”
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