Back in Action

CLEMSON – Last school year was so bad for Tramaine Billie that he had to fight off two potential career-ending situations.

First, there was the broken ankle during fall practice and then there were the academic problems that hovered over him all fall, spring and summer.

But through it all, the senior linebacker managed to fight his way through and he now stands poised to be one of the central figures on a defensive squad that looks to be pretty solid.

However, it wasn't easy, especially when it came to getting his academics in order.

Billie got way behind in the fall with his class work and missed all of spring practice so he could concentrate solely on school. He then entered the first session of summer school with a realistic chance of being academically ineligible for the 2007 season.

Billie now says he buckled down, studied and as a result he appears to be on the verge of finally getting his senior season started.

"There was a little bit of pressure because I was a little behind because of last fall with being in the situation I was in and not playing," Billie said of his classroom problems. "It was little stressful. But I felt like I could pull it out. I had a lot of support and it made it a little easier."

Last fall wasn't exactly a picnic, either, for the Eastover, S.C., native. He broke his ankle in practice on August 18 and seriously thought about not redshirting his final season so he could play in the team's final four or five games.

In hindsight, he realizes that it would have been a major mistake.

"It was a tough decision," Billie said. "I was pretty close not to redshirt so I could come back and play. I really wasn't thinking about my health. I just wanted to get back on the field and help my team win a championship.

"I've never sat out before, so it was hard. It was real close, but I'm glad I came back. It allowed me the opportunity to get my degree and help the team be successful this year and give me the opportunity to get ready for the next level."

One year later, Billie's ankle is, for the most part, all healed. There are some small, lingering problems, but they should get better in time.

"I feel good," he said. "I'm out there running. Some cutting here and there might aggravate it a little bit, but it's OK."

Now with the injury and academic situation all pretty much behind him, Billie is able to do the one thing he loves most and that's concentrate on football and make it his main focus once again.

"Oh, yeah, it feels good," he said. "I'm just concentrating on football and help getting my team ready and get everybody on the same level and everybody on the same page so we can have a successful season this year." Top Stories