Hi Everyone, I'm Drew Schneider, and Brian has been gracious and daring enough to allow me to do a little writing for Shakin' the Southland. I've been writing for Purdue's SB Nation site Hammer and Rails over the last few years, but thought it might be a fun to write about my alma mater, plus, Purdue football is pretty depressing (sorry dad).
The college football offseason is upon us. Spring practice is in the books, Fall practice is a few months away, and we have a long, hot summer (I live in College Station, Texas, so my summer is longer and hotter than most) to survive before we get another taste of that sweet, sweet, Tiger football. To kill some of the time, I thought it would be interesting to catch up with former Clemson athletes, and see what they are up to these days.
My first victim, errr, former player, is my former unofficial roommate Cedric "Silky" Johnson. Big #65 was a part of Tommy Bowden's 2000 recruiting class. Cedric came to Clemson as a 6'4, 310 pound guard out of Thomas County Central High School (Barwick, GA). He entered Clemson with grown man strength and size, touting a 440 pound bench press, and soon put his superhuman strength to work on ACC opponents. Cedric started on the offensive line for 3 of his 4 years at Clemson, and was a consistent force on the interior of the line, usually at left guard. Many ACC defensive linemen had to be scraped off the field after a massive Cedric Johnson pancake block. He was named Honorable Mention All-ACC as both a Junior and Senior. It was always easy to pick Cedric out on television or from The Hill. In a sport populated by mammoth human beings, #65 still stood out as a guy that was bigger than everyone else around him. Off the field, Cedric was truly one of the good guys, and the definition of a gentle giant. I have some really fun stories regarding Cedric, but they are probably best left off the internet. So without further ado, ladies and gentleman, let me reintroduce you to Cedric "Silky" Johnson.
What's up Ced, it's been a while. Why don't we start by letting the reader know what you are up to these days.
I live in Lexington, KY with my wife Sarah and our two boys Devin & Miles. I am the Director of Government Sales for a great company called Big Ass Fans (a ceiling fan and LED light manufacturer).
Most people don't realize just how much work Clemson athletes put into the classroom. What is your degree in?
I finished up with a degree in Human Resources. I had the opportunity to get my masters while at Clemson, but decided I was tired of school after graduation and spent my last year of eligibility goofing off, one of my biggest regrets.
The Last time I saw you, you had lost a considerable amount of weight from your playing days, and had just finished running a 5K. Level with me, what was your top playing weight at Clemson, what are you down to now, and are there any of your former linemen you would like to challenge to a race?
My weight while playing was around 335lbs. I am currently around 280lbs, but because my only workout is golf now, I'm definitely fatter now than I was then. If I had to challenge a former lineman to a race it would be Jermyn Chester, because I know he has bad knees.
Thinking back on your days at Clemson, what was the most satisfying victory you were a part of, and what was the most stinging defeat?
The most Satisfying victory was the 63-17 stomping of the South Carolina in 2003. This victory was sweet because it was a complete and utter dismantling of the Gamecocks on their home field.
The lost that stung the most was to Duke in 2004. We beat Miami on the road the week before and had the ultimate let down the next week at Duke. It still hurts to think about it.
I understand you still have a family connection to Clemson football. Can you talk a little bit about your cousin. Are you worried about him breaking any of your records in the weight room?
Current Clemson running back Adam Choice is my cousin and he, along with Austin Bryant, are some of the great football players that have come from my high school in Thomasville, GA (Thomas County Central HS). They are both better athletes than I could ever imagine being, but I think my bench-press record is safe for now.
Do you have any advice for incoming Clemson football players?
I know I'm running the risk of sounding like every old person in america, but I would tell them to enjoy every second and cherish the friendships they make. These are truly some of the best years of your life.
Do you get back to Death Valley for any games? What is your prediction for the upcoming season?
I try to get to a game once every couple of years. Now that my boys are older I am going to try and make it to a game every year.
I think if the D line is reloaded and with the quarterback we have, this could be another special season.
I know you've got quite the family working right now. What's it like to have two boys running around the house? Do you ever get any peace and quiet?
My boys are wonderful, but it is total chaos because they are full of energy and into everything. If it wasn't for my wonderful wife keeping everything in order, we would really be a mess.
I'm currently working on Lillian's (my almost 2 year old daughter) handles and jump shot, in hopes that in 17 years she can lead Clemson to basketball glory. Do your sons play any sports? Do you envision yourself as a football dad, a baseball dad, a soccer dad, or a golf dad?
Of course I am a huge believer in sports and all the benefits they provide to kids, so we are exposing the boys to all sports. However, I would prefer they not play football because of how it can affect the body and brain. Hopefully they will fall in love with golf, like I have in recent years.
I think we can both agree that getting old is terrible. I for one, miss my hair and my knees. What do you miss about not being old?
I miss how quickly you can recover from anything from an injury to having one to many adult beverages when you're young. I literally hurt my back walking up some stairs recently and it took me a few months to get better.
You blocked for Charlie Whitehurst, who has gone on to have the most amazing professional career in the history of the NFL, both on and off the field. I know you're not supposed to talk about what goes on in the locker room, but has Charlie's hair always been glorious? When he takes his helmet off does it just bounces back to incredible, or does he have to work on it?
Charlie was more clean cut when he was at Clemson. It wasn't until he started living the NFL lifestyle that he grew his beautiful yet manly mane.
What is more intimidating, having to block a 300 pound defensive tackle, or changing a diaper in the dark at 3am?
Definitely changing diapers and raising kids in general. Football games last a couple of hours and parenting lasts forever.
Do you still answer to "Silky" and do you still have your gold fangs?
There are a few people that still call me "Silky"; and yes I still have my gold teeth. I even went as 2002 Cedric for Halloween a few years back and wore the gold teeth and my old jewelry.
My wife's question to Cedric: Remember 2002 when velour was big? Tell the truth: is there still any velour in the back of your closet?
I may or may not have some velour in a box of college stuff in the back of my closet.
I want to thank Cedric Johnson for taking time out of his busy day to help me out with this article. I have a few more football players lined up for this series of articles, but I am always looking for more material. Are you a former Clemson athlete (male or female) that would like to participate in this series? I would love to talk to you. Feel free to respond in the comments section or hit me up on twitter Drew Schneider@drewtigeralum.