Like any other younger sibling, Carrie Whitehurst was picked on by her older brother when they were growing up.
"I mean I appreciate it now, but he was mean to me," said Whitehurst, a rising sophomore on the Clemson University women's basketball team. "I think everybody has sibling rivalry, but I think ours was well beyond that. But it was very beneficial to me. It made me tougher I guess."
Tougher is an understatement, considering that older brother that picked on her grew up to be Charlie Whitehurst, the 6-foot-4, 215-pound star quarterback that led Clemson's 2003 football team to a 9-4 record and victories over two Top-10 ranked opponents.
"In high school, we started getting along a little bit better, but (as children), it was definitely a sibling rivalry," said Charlie. "That's what it was, and that's exactly how I'd describe it. It was a rivalry, not just us not getting along."
Maybe that's why both Charlie and Carrie grew up to be athletic superstars at Chattahoochee High School in the Atlanta suburb of Alpharetta, Georgia.
Charlie, who graduated in the Class of 2001, passed for over 1,700 yards and 13 touchdowns his junior year before missing most of his senior season due to injuries. In addition to being the football team's gunslinger, he was also a four-year letterman and starter for Chattahoochee's varsity baseball team.
|"My initial attraction was that of Charlie being here," said Carrie. "And when I got here, I loved the coaches, I loved everything about it."|
But was their childhood rivalry really the driving force behind the Whitehursts' determination to succeed?
Possibly. Then again, maybe it had nothing to do with it at all.
Maybe it was simply genetics. After all, their father David played quarterback at Furman University in the 1970s, and then went on to play seven seasons for the Green Bay Packers in the NFL.
With his knowledge of football, David taught Charlie how to play the position at a very young age.
"It was definitely an advantage," said Charlie. "I mean, I'd go to practice and it's like, I'd heard it once before (from his dad). So, it was really beneficial. I would say I had a base to go on that was probably better than everybody else."
Although David didn't play professional basketball like he did football, that didn't mean he wasn't helpful in Carrie's growth as an athlete as well.
"There were two sides to it," explained Charlie. "There's the technical stuff that he definitely knew in my sport, and then there's how to compete, which he also knew about. So, he was teaching (Carrie) how to compete. He might not have known exactly what he was talking about (with Carrie and basketball technique), but I think it was enough to kind of get his point across, but what he really taught both of us was the competition."
No matter what it was that got the two Whitehurst's where they are today, be it their rivalry or the knowledge and genes passed down from their dad, the fact of the matter is Carrie and Charlie ended up at Clemson together. And now, instead of trying to "one up" one another like they did as children, they cheer for each other not only as brother and sister, but also as fellow Clemson University student-athletes. But that almost didn't happen.
Originally, Charlie was torn between Clemson and the University of North Carolina.
"I visited North Carolina and here. It kind of came down to those two," said Charlie. "So you kind of go where you get the best feel."
Ultimately, he got a better feeling about Clemson, and decided to come to Tiger Town and don his now famous orange and white #6 football jersey.
"I think the atmosphere was a little bit different here (than at North Carolina)," said Charlie. "(With Clemson) being a football school, it's just kind of more what I'm used to."
While Charlie's college choice might have initially been a tough decision to make, Carrie's was an easy one.
"My initial attraction was that of Charlie being here," said Carrie. "And when I got here, I loved the coaches, I loved everything about it."
|"She's got a pretty good shot," said Charlie of his younger sister. "She can knock ‘em down."|
"What I can remember about that is her just waiting for the (scholarship) offer," recalled Charlie. "She was like, ‘This is where I want to go.' Eventually she was just playing her senior year (of high school) waiting for the call."
Eventually, the call did come, and Carrie accepted an offer to play forward for Coach Jim Davis and his Lady Tigers basketball squad. "Clemson is a great place and I'm glad to be a part of it," said Carrie with a smile. "I mean, (it's in) the ACC. Who doesn't want to play in the ACC?"
Opposing athletes, that's who.
Since he took over in 2002 as the starting quarterback of the Clemson football team, Charlie has shattered record after record and become one of the nation's top NFL quarterback prospects. If you want to know just how talented he is, ask a linebacker or defensive back on one of the other ACC teams.
Meanwhile, this past season as a freshman, Charlie's little sister established herself as one of the conference's top up-and-coming sharpshooters on the basketball court. Take the game this past December against Western Carolina as a perfect example. In just 24 minutes of playing time, Carrie nailed three three-pointers en route to scoring 17 points.
With statistics like these, you might start to think that the Whitehurst siblings have no weaknesses on the athletic playing fields.
But that's not the case.
Like any other athletes, Charlie and Carrie have things they need to work on, and when asked what the other needs to improve upon the most, they were each eager to jokingly take a free jab at their sibling.
"I wish he wouldn't throw the interceptions, because then I get bashed in the stands," joked Carrie.
In retaliation, Charlie laughed as he said, "What she needs to work on is getting in shape, that's what I think. (At first) she comes out, and she's all over the place, playing defense, and she just looks like she gets a little bit tired. That first two minutes, she's hell, but after that, she goes a little bit down."
But don't think for one minute that these two are still rivals. If anything, they are each other's biggest fan.
Take for example Carrie's positive outlook on having to live in her brother's shadow for now. While some Clemson fans and members of the media might refer to her as the "other" Whitehurst, she says it doesn't bother her because she is proud to be her older brother's younger sister.
"Nobody knows my name on campus, they just know who I am, but it doesn't bother me," said Carrie. "I respect (Charlie) as an athlete, and I'm proud to be part of what he's doing. I think it's great that I have a link to him. I love it that he's doing so well."
So it seems that little girl who was picked on by her brother has now grown up to admire him and all that he does athletically.
And, Charlie feels the same way about her, and warns any woman that has to guard Carrie on a basketball court, "She's got a pretty good shot. She can knock ‘em down."
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