Homer Jordan made them legendary at Clemson
The legend goes, Homer Jordan was known to eat as many peanut butter and jelly sandwiches as his playing weight.
But was it legend?
There is a promotional picture prior to the 1982 season that shows the former Clemson quarterback about to eat one peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a stack beside him, as well. Jordan, who led the Tigers to the 1981 National Championship, says he still eats a lot of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches today.
“One of my favorite meals, with Lay’s potato chips and a glass of Kool-Aid,” he said with a big grin.
Jordan also smiles when he thinks back to the Tigers’ magical run in 1981. Clemson will celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Football Program’s first national championship on Oct. 2 when the Tigers host Boston College at Death Valley.
“Once you play here and go through here, they always welcome you back with open arms,” he said. “That is pretty much what they told you (when you attended Clemson), but it is happening. They just don’t talk about it, but they actually do it.”
Jordan comes to Clemson quite often to visit his former teammate, and close friend, Jeff Davis, who runs PAW Journey on Dabo Swinney’s staff. Swinney has always been receptive to former players who return to Tigertown to visit or watch practice.
“I have seen how the facilities have grown, we have always had the best, and they keep improving,” said Jordan, who still lives in his native town of Athens, Ga. “It feels like you were a part of it. So that is the thing for me.”
Until Deshaun Watson did it in 2016, Jordan was the only Clemson quarterback to lead his team to a national championship. Trevor Lawrence, of course, led the Tigers to the 2018 National Championship a couple of years after Watson.
“You’re glad to see them on T.V. and watch them win, but we were the first,” Jordan said while laughing. “But that is what you like and that is what you want to see happen. If you were a part of the first, you want to see the train keep rolling.”
With Jordan as the starting quarterback, the 1981 Tigers rolled over everyone who got in their way.
An All-ACC First-Team quarterback in 1981, Jordan led the Tigers to a perfect 12-0 record, which they capped with a 22-15 victory over No. 4 Nebraska in the 1982 Orange Bowl.
Jordan was well ahead of his time. He could run and throw the ball with the best of them. He had a rocket for an arm and ranks ninth all-time in Clemson history for passing yards per attempt at 7.61.
Clemson beat three teams that finished ranked inside the top 10 in 1981 in Georgia, North Carolina and Nebraska. The Tigers were the only team in the country to beat three opponents ranked inside the top 10 that season.
“We had a good team that year, and it came together for us,” Jordan said.
And yes, Jordan and the Clemson offense leaned on a great defense led by Davis, a First-Team All-American at linebacker.
However, when he had to, Jordan came through in the clutch in the biggest of games that season. No more than in the Orange Bowl when he used his arm and his feet to earn MVP honors.
Jordan threw for 134 yards and a touchdown, while rushing for 46 more, including a masterful 23-yard run on third down-and-four from the Clemson 37 late in the fourth quarter. The run came with 1:43 on the clock, forcing Nebraska to use its final timeout of the game.
The Tigers ran the clock down to six seconds before turning the ball over on downs to the Cornhuskers.
After the game, Jordan was so dehydrated and exhausted he did not speak with the media until the next morning. He later said he tried to sit down at his locker after the game, but he got really shaky. The doctors put him to bed after they got back to the team hotel, and he was unable to celebrate with the rest of the team.
“We took a lot of pride playing for our teammates,” Jordan said. “I remember Coach [Danny] Ford preached about playing for your teammates, playing for your family and go have a good time. So, that is what we did.”
Jordan has since been celebrating as one of Clemson’s all-time greats ever since. The Athens, Ga., native finished his Clemson career with a 23-6-1 record as a starter. He helped lead the Tigers to a second straight ACC Championship in 1982, as they finished that season 9-1-1 and ranked No. 8 in the final AP Poll.
In his last 20 starts, Jordan led Clemson to an 18-1-1 record.
Not too shabby for a guy who allegedly could eat his weight in peanut butter sandwiches.
–file photo courtesy of Clemson Athletics Communications