With this year’s Dabo Swinney camps complete, thousands of football players from around the country made the trip to Clemson to experience and learn from one of the top programs in the country. Former Clemson running back Rodney Blunt, who played at Clemson from 1989-’93, made the trip alongside six of his players and is continuing to give back to the sport that gave him so much.
In 2010, Blunt put two of his passions together, his love for sports and helping people, and found City Streets to Student Athletes (CS2SA). In his over 18 years of law enforcement experience, Blunt saw just how destructive drugs can be and knew he wanted to do something about it.
“I have witnessed drugs and crime devastate and derail people from reaching their full potential,” Blunt said. “CS2SA was established to deter athletic students from drugs and crime in the city streets and develop them into productive student-athletes. Our coaches and mentors recognized that there was an epidemic taking place across America.
“Regardless of financial or ethnic backgrounds, student-athletes are facing daily challenges to try illegal drugs. Student-athletes are not reaching their full potential due to lack of exposure, life skills, character development, and peer pressures. As a collective, CS2SA has cultivated a strategic methodology and dedicated its resources to better facilitate student-athletes in becoming productive members of society.”
Since its start in 2010, City Streets to Student Athletes has shared its drug-free message with over 11,000 student athletes, with 462 of those students being selected over the years as drug-free ambassadors to make the annual trip to Dabo Swinney Football Camp. As a result, over 150 students have earned college scholarships, 26 have become college graduates, and one athlete, Andre Smith, was drafted into the NFL.
Blunt has been bringing his athletes to camp at Clemson for over 10 years, but this year was a little bit more special. Sabrina Greenlee, the mother of Clemson great DeAndre Hopkins, had the group over for dinner at her home, which meant the world to Blunt.
Greenlee is also the sister of Blunt’s late friend, Terry Smith, who was an All-ACC receiver for the Tigers from 1990-’93. Together, they won an ACC Championship in 1991 and were a part of Clemson’s 10-2 team in 1990.
“Sabrina Greenlee and her entire family have always treated me like I was family from my very first day at Clemson University,” Blunt said. “Her brother, former Clemson wide receiver Terry Smith, was my roommate and best friend. Sabrina Greenlee is the CEO and Founder of S.M.O.O.O.T.H (Speaking Mentally Outwardly Opening Opportunities Toward Healing). S.M.O.O.O.T.H is a major sponsor for our program and Sabrina Greenlee has mentored several of our kids in the past.
“She would normally meet us at our hotel to speak to our group. However, this year, we only traveled with six student-athletes. Sabrina invited us to meet her for dinner at her home and surprised our student-athletes with an impromptu workshop on the art of handshaking and gave them tips on how to enter a room with confidence. After dinner, she delivered an inspirational message about her life and how to overcome obstacles. DeAndre ‘Nuk’ Hopkins has always supported our program in various ways, and we are forever grateful.”
For Blunt, the Clemson family is what helped grow him into the man he is today. City Streets to Student Athletes was born out of the unique experience he had as an athlete at Clemson that has ultimately shaped the rest of his life.
“It is most definitely a family feeling for me,” Blunt said. “The Clemson Family is like the ultimate tree. Clemson is my roots. It is where I started and where I grew into a man. Clemson is where I started my family. CS2SA is a branch of that ultimate tree. The foundation and work ethics I learned at Clemson are wholly embedded into the fibers of CS2SA. How could I not share my family tree with CS2SA?”
Blunt finished his Clemson career in 1993. A four-year letter-winner, he rushed for 2,173 yards and had 13 rushing touchdowns. His 508 career-carries ranks 13th all-time in Clemson history.
He led the Tigers in rushing and touchdowns during their ACC Championship run in 1991 and in 1992.
“Coach Woody McCorvey was my Clemson recruiter in 1989 and is responsible for me becoming a Clemson Tiger,” Blunt said. “He planted the seed to one of the best decisions I ever made. I look forward to seeing him every year during the camps. Coach McCorvey always takes the time to speak to our group of kids every year with phenomenal words of wisdom.”
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