Kirkland’s goal was to have fun, entertain Clemson fans

Kirkland’s goal was to have fun, entertain Clemson fans

Football

Kirkland’s goal was to have fun, entertain Clemson fans

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Levon Kirkland is happy to just be in the stadium at Memorial Stadium when he attends a game, much less have his name etched in the concrete across the base of the north upper deck.

“My family’s last name is inside the stadium, so that is the best part about it,” the former Clemson Tiger said. “I am really happy with what has happened throughout my life and throughout my career. I can just remember being that eleven-year-old dreaming big dreams, so for all of this to happen, it is just amazing to me.”

The latest thing to happen for Kirkland came on June 2, when he was nominated for the College Football Hall of Fame. Of course, a lot of people know Kirkland from his days with the Pittsburgh Steelers, where at one point he was considered the best inside linebacker in the NFL.

However, the College Football Hall of Fame is not about what a player did in the NFL, but what he did in college. At Clemson, Kirkland was one of the top outside linebackers in the country his junior and senior years, which is why he is now in Clemson’s Ring of Honor at Memorial Stadium.

“It means a great deal (to be nominated for the Hall of Fame),” Kirkland said. “It means your work was really appreciated and that people like what you put on the field.”

He put a lot of good stuff on the field.

Kirkland was a consensus First-Team All-American in 1991 and a second-team selection in 1990. He was also a finalist for the Dick Butkus Award, which goes to the nation’s top linebacker and the leader of a Clemson defense that led the nation in total defense in 1990 and was the top rushing defense in 1991.

He was also a three-time First-Team All-ACC performer and the 1989 Gator Bowl MVP. He also was a part of two ACC Championship teams at Clemson.

“My whole thing when I played football was to have fun and entertain people and make my family as proud as I possibly could,” Kirkland said. “To get this (nomination), it is really amazing. I was stunned by the news when I saw on Twitter, but it is really cool.

“My fingers are crossed that I can be a part of the Hall of Fame.”

Clemson fans’ are crossing their fingers too.

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