by: Phil Orban Updated:CLEMSON —
Sixty-three alumni of the Big 22 program have moved on to play college football.
They have spread out across the country, playing at 28 programs from Florida to Oregon.
The first-ever Big 22 winner, Stephone Anthony, is entering his senior season at Clemson, trying to wrap up some unfinished business with the Tigers.
Anthony was the leading tackler for a team that brought Clemson its first-ever Bowl Championship Series win. The team finished that season ranked seventh in the country.
“I think we’re just excited to get back and have another opportunity to try to do something a little bit bigger; try to take that next step, get to the big game, get to the national championship game,” Anthony said.
As Anthony sets his sights high on a title, it was not too long ago he was bringing home another trophy as Big 22 Player of the Year.
“It was definitely a great accomplishment. I owe that to the people that voted for me, just stepping behind me and pulling for me,” Anthony said.
Player of the year is not about statistics, it’s about votes. Anthony connected with Channel 9’s audience, beating out the eventual No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft, Jadeveon Clowney.
“I guess my character really shined through and just a great opportunity for me. I owe that to my parents, they raised me the right way.”
As this year’s class of Big 22 seniors prepare for their next step in football and life, Anthony can pass on the lessons he learned after four years in Death Valley.
“Just keep that hard-nosed grind, keep stepping one foot at a time. It’s going to take time, be patient, Anthony advised.
The Clemson linebacker hopes to be drafted into the NFL next May.