Nobody really wanted Tommy Sharpe.
There was talk from Georgia Southern and Valdosta State about Sharpe walking on, but enthusiasm wasn't terribly strong toward the height-challenged center from Albany's Westover High, for neither apparently offered him even invited walk-on status.
For somebody who dreamed of playing major college ball, it was a belly punch.
"That was my dream," Clemson's starting center said. "You never think that you can end up being a college football player."
Sharpe is listed at 6-feet tall, but coach Tommy Bowden isn't buying it.
"That's very generous," Bowden said. "That's (with) platform shoes in the 70s."
He took Sharpe, though, when nobody else wanted him. Particularly depressing was no attention from Georgia.
"I grew up watching the old Vince Dooley/Herschel Walker films, and going to games with my grandad in South Georgia," Sharpe said. "In South Georgia, Albany, Georgia, it's Bulldog country."
Things have certainly worked out. Sharpe worked his way from a walk-on to an ACC starter.
"I'm glad nobody wanted me because now, I'm playing big-time college football," the 270-pound junior said. "It worked out for the best."
COMEDIAN COACH: Bowden sounded like a man who hadn't lost a game yet Tuesday when he met with the media.
Always colorful and funny, he talked with humorous ease about a variety of things regarding his team and the game with Georgia.
On his position in the hot seat: "I think there'd be one. I was on it last year. You can't worry about it. If you're in the profession, you're gonna be on it. (Oklahoma's Bob) Stoops I don't think's been on it yet. Maybe (Maryland's Ralph) Friedgen."
On losing recruiting battles to Georgia: "We tried to get all of 'em, couldn't get any of 'em. Most of the ones we got from the state, they pretty much recruited and let us have."
On Georgia's suspensions: "I don't think any of 'em are first-teamers. Mark (Richt) is doing a good job. He's learning quick."
On the perception of Clemson's chances Saturday: "What's the guy who won the British Open? Ben Curtis. Nobody picked him to win it. I'd say the odds would be about the same. I doubt anybody's picking us to win."
On how much I-formation, shotgun, and pro formations Clemson has worked on: "If I told you, I'd have to kill you."
On the impact of having to discipline players during the offseason: "I haven't started cursing or drinking. Drugs, yes. No drinking and cursing."
News & Notes: Linebacker Odell Thurman returned to practice Wednesday, a day after his father's funeral. Otis Thurman died last week of kidney and liver failure.
Richt, who attended the funeral, didn't know when Thurman would be back, and said Wednesday that how much the sophomore from Monticello would play Saturday was a play-it-by-ear situation.
"Odell seemed to be doing pretty good out there today," Richt said. "I'm not sure if he'll start Saturday but he'll see the field."
The Bulldogs moved Derrick White, a redshirt sophomore from Creekside High, back to his original spot at middle linebacker from the secondary. True freshman Des Williams of Dacula was Thurman's backup. ...Former Northside quarterback Chansi Stuckey is inspiring speculation. Clemson's No. 2 quarterback has been compared to Georgia's multi-talented D.J. Shockley, with reports that the Tigers have installed special packages for the redshirt freshman.
Is it true?
"I don't wanna say," Bowden said.
A year ago, Stuckey assumed the role of Shockley on Clemson's scout team in preparation for the UGA game....Clemson officials are asking fans to get to Memorial Stadium early Saturday. Like, be there by 8 or 9 a.m. "We encourage people to get to the Clemson area early," said ticket manager Van Hilderbrand. "We will have attendants in the parking lots starting at 6 a.m."
Georgia Always on Sharpe's Mind
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