Editorial: Open Fan Letter To Clemson Football Team

Dear Clemson Football,

First, I want to thank you for the amazing seasons throughout the decade. Seven times the team went undefeated at home, including three in a row. Five straight playoff appearances, two national championships, and six playoff wins.

Clemson football is now respected on a national level. This team is also still the first one to go 15-0 in the modern era.  All in all, this team is still the best-ever, we just are not the only team that can say that we are.

Now for some personal thanks. To Trevor Lawrence, you showed the utmost class and dignity in the loss in the National Championship. All losses are hard to take, but it is how you respond to them that makes you a leader. You showed why you are one of the best leaders of this team. You picked yourself right on up after the loss and you are back to celebrating the success of this team with your teammates.

To Chase Brice, I wish you the best of luck at Duke. I know you will do great, and you already know your Clemson family will be behind you every step of the way. I am glad that you found a team and fan base that will love you, cherish you, support and encourage you, no matter what. You deserve nothing less than that, and there are sadly so many fan bases who do not treat their quarterbacks with that love and respect.

To the offensive line, you were amazing all season, and continue to make Clemson proud. To Chandler Reeves, we are all pulling for you as you prepare to marry the girl of your dreams. We are all pulling for you to be happy and that all continues to go well.

To all the seniors on offense, best of luck to you. Whether you are off to the NFL or a non-football related profession, whichever you choose to do. To the juniors who are leaving early for the draft, I know you will make a big dent in the NFL and will continue to represent Clemson to the best of your abilities.

To the defense, you guys are mostly a young group, but you did not play like it. You still showed toughness and you kept every offense you went up against in check. Mistakes happened, but that is the nature of the game.

To James Skalski, I want you to know that you make Clemson Nation proud. Nolan Turner, you also make Clemson Nation proud! You are an amazing athlete and consummate team player. You had the game winning interception in the Fiesta Bowl, but the number of interceptions you have is only a fraction of the work you put in.

To the special teamers (or as I like to call them, the Butt Kickers, and my favorite portion of the team after they named me their biggest fan), you guys are a special and an awesome group of young men. Your true fans know how much work you put in and we are all extremely proud of you.

Patrick Phibbs and Steven Sawicki, you two have done so much for Clemson and it is incredible to have been able to see you both succeed. I know you two will kick butt in your professions like you do with football!

To BT Potter and Will Spiers, you two kept your heads up and worked hard to prove the doubters wrong. Will, the way you punt, you have a long hang time that makes it very hard for opposing teams to have any kind of return. You keep the ball up there long enough for the coverage unit to surround the opposition and it is amazing.

BT, you have been perfect on PAT’s (a rare occurrence, so you should be proud of that alone) and even though not all of your kickoffs have been touchbacks, most would have been had the opposing returners not decided to take a chance on it. Also, apart from a couple of bad games, you would have been close to 80% on all field goals this season. Each one of you gents make me proud, and honored to be one of your biggest fans.

To the coaching staff, Coach Scott, I wish you the best of luck at USF. South Florida has proven they can tango with power five teams, and with your help, they will pull off a lot more upsets. I can smell it now.

To Coach Swinney, thank you for all that you do as well. It was an honor getting to meet you and connect with you even though it was only twice. I hope you know I do my part to stand up for you as well, just like all the other fans and the players. By the way, if I did not already know it, I never would have guessed you were 50.

Coach Venables, you have been doing, and will continue to do an amazing job as our defensive coordinator. I mean really, look at what you produced this season with such young talent. Each one of you, whether staying or leaving, graduate assistant or official, you guys make Clemson proud!

Finally, to the juniors who are staying, your time is now. You guys are the seniors now, and chosen leaders of the team. I know you will do great at it. Also, keep in mind, this season, you have the chance to finish out perfect in Death Valley. Go get it.

To the sophomores, everyone has bad days, and unfortunately some of you just had bad days on gameday. To the freshmen, what a fantastic first season. I hope you enjoyed your first semester and season at Clemson, and I know you will continue to rock and roll here.

I am sending thoughts, prayers, well wishes, and kind thoughts this off season. God bless every one of y’all and Go Tigers!

Your fan, brother in Christ, bud, and continued supporter,

Nathan Shipman.

P.S. I wrote this at the beginning of the year right after the Natty, and thought this would be the best way to get it to each of y’all.

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