SYLACAUGA, Ala. – Former Sylacauga High School football star T.J. Green was a starter in the defensive backfield for Clemson last year when his Tigers were just a few plays away from knocking off the University of Alabama in the national title game.
Green admitted he always wanted to play and beat Alabama since he grew up in the state, but said he and his teammates just came up a few plays short in last season’s match-up.
Now Green is a member of the Indianapolis Colts, but that did not stop him from spending Monday night’s title game with his former team in Tampa.
Green told SylacaugaNews.com he was on the sideline with the Tigers when Clemson got the revenge it had been looking for since last January. Green said last years loss left a bad taste in guys’ mouths and no one wanted to go through that again.
“The feeling after last season’s loss in the locker room was a feeling that no one wants to go through,” said Green. “There were guys sobbing because you knew you just lost the most important game of your life.”
According to Green, Head Coach Dabo Swinney told his team they were good enough to win the game, and he promised them they would be right back in the mix next season.
After a few close games early in the season the Tigers received a wake-up call from the Pittsburgh Panthers. The Tigers lost that game, but would be the hottest team in college football for the remainder of the season. Swinney’s promise to his team came true, and his team found its way back into the college football playoff and in the national title game against Alabama.
Green’s Tigers got down 14-0 early in the title game. He told SylacaugaNews.com he was a little nervous on the sideline, but said he knew the coaches would make the necessary adjustments Clemson needed to pull out the victory.
Clemson did make those adjustments, and finally took a lead late in the fourth quarter. Alabama got the ball back and drove the field. Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts scored on a 30 yard scamper with just over two minutes left to take a 31-28 lead. Green knew Alabama left too much time on the clock.
“When they scored I looked at the clock, and told myself we have Deshaun Watson, Mike Williams, and Wayne Gallman,” said Green. “If you give those guys that much time they’re going to score.”
Green was right. Clemson put together one of the most memorable drives in college football history. With one second left on the clock quarterback Deshaun Watson found receiver Hunter Renfrow in the end zone for the game winning score. Green said it was crazy to know his team was about to win its first national title since 1981.
“When that last second came off the clock I felt like I won the the national championship with them,” stated Green. “It was just as special to me as it was to them just to watch them make the biggest moment in Clemson history.”
SylacaugaNews.com asked Green what the post-game scene was like with his former teammates. Green responded, “They feel like they’re on top of the world. They’re the best in the world, and no one will ever be able to tell them any different.”
Jeremy Law for SylacaugaNews.com | © 2017, SylacaugaNews.com/Marble City Media LLC. All Rights Reserved.