CLEMSON – National pundits have the Tigers as the ACC favorites and on the cusp of the national race with a consensus No. 8 preseason ranking.
Junior defensive end Corey Crawford is looking for a little more.
“This year we’re going to show everybody that we are national champion contenders,” Crawford said. “I think we should be getting the respect that we need and the respect for myself. I really don’t know if other teams respect me.
“This year is going to be the year to get that respect.”
Standing 6-5 270, Crawford has the look of an ideal pass rusher, and by all accounts, he has had the fall camp to earn said respect – lining up opposite Vic Beasley.
The Carver (Ga.) product started all 13 games last season, but the production was a mixed bag, posting a career-high eight tackles against Virginia Tech – and also five games with two or less with just one sack all year.
In Saturday’s scrimmage, Crawford doubled that sack number, and facing the home-state Bulldogs in a couple weeks, he has all the motivation and more to perform from the get-go.
“I really can’t wait for this first game,” said Crawford. “I’m really excited about it. It makes me more focused to see what (Georgia) is doing. When it’s my time and there’s a play our defense needs to stop, it makes me focused in more on those plays.”
Boyd says Tigers are close
He’s confident the whole team will be in line as well come August 31.
“When everybody sits down to watch Clemson, they’ll see that Clemson is ready to play. They’re ready,” Crawford said.
Boyd not worried about controversies on Fan Day: Autographs, money (both for the player and NCAA’s profit) and what to do about it has dominated the conversation of late in college sports.
Locally, Tajh Boyd’s name and likeness has even been used improperly to sell products at couple of S.C. outlets – one, his picture altered slightly to sell beer at a convenience store, and secondly, a Charleston restaurant selling a menu item with his name on it.
Additionally, the cloud surrounding pay-for-autograph scandals has changed the way some schools are doing their respective fan appreciation days.
Boyd, at this point, isn’t sweating what happens to items with his name or face on it.
“You can’t control things that get sold and that’s the thing,” he said. “It’s not going to make me more cautious. It’s to the point now where you can sell anything. I heard about the whole the thing at the gas station selling Bud Light or there’s a Tajh Boyd (quesadilla) or something in Charleston. At the end of the day, it is what it is.”
In late July, teammate Darius Robinson joined the O’Bannon lawsuit against the NCAA after years of the organization’s profits off from players.
Boyd can wait.
“We play college football for a reason. We’ll get paid at some point after we get out of college football,” said Boyd. “We’ll get it in due time. Right now, I don’t really have any say-so in that.”
Boyd says he isn’t letting the controversies affect how he treats folks off the field.
“I’m just trying to enjoy everybody that comes,” he said. “If you take one person and have an attitude towards them, you have that attitude towards the whole group and that’s not in my nature or my character. So I treat one person just like anybody else.”
The Tigers will have Fan Appreciation Day at 2:30 PM on Sunday at Memorial Stadium. Admission is free.