Groover Happy to be Back

CLEMSON – The first thing entering Cory Groover's mind while en route to a hospital in Anderson was whether or not the newly formed bullet hole in his left leg would prevent him from ever playing football again.

"I was worrying about playing," said the Clemson senior defensive tackle. "That was the first thing that came to my mind. I wanted to be good to play. It's my last year and I want to be able to play. Then when I got to the hospital and I found out it wasn't that serious, I started to calm down then."

Even though the bullet from that incident in the Waffle House parking lot on May 1, remains in his leg just above and behind the knee, there are no deficiencies. Groover said he's recovered 100 percent physically and mentally.

"I've put it behind me," he said. "I really don't want to think about it. We've got a big season coming up. I'm not even worrying about it, to tell you the truth. It's time to go forward and put it behind me."

He has no problems reliving the moment. To listen to him tell the story, it almost sounds as though he harbors no ill will toward the shooter. Richard Terrell Hailey, of Anderson, was later arrested and charged assault and battery with intent to kill.

"When I came out, (the shooter's group) were talking to everybody and I just happen to be the first person close when he started shooting," Groover said. "He wasn't aiming at anybody. He just started shooting and I happened to get hit. …

"Maybe if I thought he intentionally meant to do it, I would probably (would have sleepless nights). But he was talking to everybody in the parking lot … and I just happened to get hit."

And when the bullet entered his leg, he knew in an instant what had happened.

"It was like getting chopped-blocked or getting blindsided in my leg," Groover said. "I just fell. When I fell, I felt something in my knee and then it started burning and then it started going numb. … There was a lot of numbness and tingly feeling. It wasn't really a lot of pain. I was just worried."

The very scary incident has Groover a very valuable lesson.

"Yeah, stay away from the Waffle House," he said. "As a matter of fact, whenever I go by it, I just turn my head."

News and Notes
Clemson coach Tommy Bowden cited the play of all the tight ends of as being really good. He also said wide receiver Chansi Stuckey has had two quality practices. … He believes it will be easier to evaluate the defensive and offensive lines, as well as the running backs, when the team puts on shoulder pads for the first time on Sunday. …

Bowden said he is concerned about not having a backup punter to challenge and push Cole Chason in practice. Stephen Furr and Mark Buccholz are getting most of the time right now as the backup punter.

Bowden was also disappointed in the production of placekicker Jad Dean, who seemed to struggle with the trial of different holders.

"I know those kickers are whacky enough where if you just sneeze wrong or you've got your eyelash parted incorrectly, they're off kilter like with another holder going in there," he said. "But he's too much a veteran to be thrown off by another holder in there. …

"When you throw another holder out there, these guys go in the tank. He's kicked for two years, he doesn't need to go in the tank just because a new holder didn't put it right on a blade of grass. I mean holy smokes. He's kicking pretty good, but if (the holder) Cole Chason gets hurt, we can't stop kicking."

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