Right now, Banner Society is putting on a retroactive vote to decide once and for all the People’s Heisman Winner for every year since Y2K (submit your picks here). The People’s Heisman is a wonderful award, given to “the college football player most beloved, remembered, and defended by the regular college football fan, whether this person was a nominee for the actual Heisman or not.” And Clemson should definitely have one or two.
C.J. Spiller in 2009 was a folk hero that carried Clemson kicking and screaming out of the Bowden era. Deshaun Watson might’ve won it with his performance in Clemson-Bama 1 alone. I’d vote for Woody Dantzler for every one of these years if I could, and my first thought was 2016, where any number of Clemson players could pick up the award.
Renfrow could get it, a walk-on who became an unlikely safety valve WR and ultimately caught the title winning pass? Feels almost too easy – but then there’s Deshaun, Clemson’s favorite son and the ultimate Alabama slayer. He seemed to be just coated in grease, able to slip out of any tackle and glide to a first down on a scramble. That’d be a good choice.
But, personally, my 2016 vote is for Christian Wilkins and his Power Rangers.
Wilkins was playing out of position all year putting his 320 pounds out at DE, but sometimes he was even further away – playing full back in the BEEF PACKAGE, and moonlighting as a special teams weapon from time to time.
Despite all that, he was still the best player on the defense. And he could do this:
Give the man his award.
Last week, Clemson announced new renovations to our beloved Death Valley, adding a few thousand seats around the hill, expansions to the jumbotron, redesigns to the west endzone parking lot, and a complete remodel of the facade facing Williamson Road at the Hill.
Early stadium renderings: That would be a massive scoreboard upgrade.— Riley Morningstar (@RBMorningstar) October 10, 2019
Want construction to begin in December 2020, completed in August 2021. pic.twitter.com/X9PZ2mDm2b
A much, much better look of proposed Lot 5 work: pic.twitter.com/S9h2PrTcKW— Riley Morningstar (@RBMorningstar) October 10, 2019
Other renderings: That would be a really neat way to pass by games outside the Hill. pic.twitter.com/UVxvWN5SQT— Riley Morningstar (@RBMorningstar) October 10, 2019
It’s wonderful! I clearly see the need for these remodels: the Jumbotron is dated; the sound system above it is abhorrent. The west endzone parking lot needs to be centered with the Oculus and beautified. Most notably, Clemson wants to expand the amount of club seats available in order to bring in more premium revenue, and the east endzone makes the most sense. It could be the beginning of a slow process to turn much of the hill into regular seats – that could just be paranoia, though.
Even without the increased stadium capacity, the increased popularity of the football team brings increased game day traffic. Many more people come to Clemson on game day just to tailgate and watch the whole Saturday’s slate of games on a truck bed TV. I do it too if I don’t have a ticket, it’s just good fun. But there’s one main problem: Cars.
Driving in Clemson is an absolute nightmare. The streets don’t make sense; half of them are under construction, and to try and drive in or out of town on game day is a colossal undertaking. It took me 2 hours to get to campus last week, yet I live 10 minutes away on a normal school day. Hell, part of why meeting at the paw is promoted by the school is because it helps meter out the traffic post-game.
This could be mitigated if Clemson decided to end its blood feud with parking garages and actually build some. Maybe they don’t build them because parking garages aren’t something someone donates money for, maybe it’s because they can’t find a very good place for one – or maybe the administration just thinks they’re ugly and wants everything to be a beautiful marvel of aesthetic design.
In its 2017 long-term plan, Clemson literally says that it wants to “Limit the need for parking garages as long as possible” but Clemson’s needed parking garages since well before 2017.
When it’s not game day, students and employees complain about the pitiful lack of parking, long walks to class, and insufficient (and… inconsistent) busing. They must deal with the constant construction – which while exciting for people that will be at Clemson a few years from now, only increase traffic and parking problems now.
I graduate this May and in my time here Clemson’s built the new Core Campus and Douthit Hills residence halls, redesigned LittleJohn, put up the Watt building, and constructed the (great and powerful) Oculus. Right now, they’re building a wholly new building for the College of Business, preparing to likely tear down the union and Johnstone, and performing seemingly endless road repairs. That’s a lot to get done since just 2015 – but with all that construction came 2 new parking lots, both at Douthit hills.
In the past few years commute time has gone up, traffic in-general is worse, parking harder to find, streets harder to navigate, and the CATbus isn’t improving.
Clemson, as you build more housing, more buildings, or more seats in Death Valley – please build some parking decks, too. They’re desperately needed.
Send me hot, cold, or like icky mushy/warm takes to @STSouthland, @JuanFabulous, in the comments below, or to my email at email@example.com and try to keep them Clemson, or ACC, or CFB related – but parking solutions are good too.