Chancellor's return will be emotional

CLEMSON -- Chris Chancellor will be back home on Saturday when the Tigers travel to face Miami.

And it's shaping up to be an emotional outing as he returns to Miami for the first time since signing with the Tigers four years ago.

A graduate from Miami Edison Senior HS, he will be playing in front of plenty of family and friends with a heavy heart. Friend and high school teammate Jasper Howard was stabbed to death outside of a University of Connecticut school sanctioned dance last Saturday night.

With the blessing of Coach Dabo Swinney, Chancellor will honor his deceased friend by wearing Howard's No. 6 on Saturday. It will be Chancellor's first game in Miami since 2005 when he and Howard were on the field together playing against St. Thomas Aquinas.

"Jazz was a great player. I ran track with him and played football with him," Chancellor said. "He never got into any trouble when I was down there. He never did anything. He was a kid who liked to play around, joking and a lot of stuff like that. "He got away from that lifestyle. That's something if you're down there you want to get away from that lifestyle."

Chancellor woke up to several missed phone calls from Howard's family late last Saturday night. Before he saw the news on television, Chancellor was able to speak with members of the family, who told him what happened.

Both left Florida to get away and experience something different, new lifestyles that wouldn't lead them back into the Miami trap.

"A lot of my homeboys and friends got killed. They grew up living the wrong lifestyle," Chancellor said.

Though he bounced around the city between parents, his sister and an aunt, Chancellor was always encouraged to go to school and practice and to stay out of trouble. He wasn't allowed to go out late at night because of the things going on in the neighborhood.

"To go back and play my last game in Miami, against the Miami Hurricanes, that will be something special," Chancellor said. "That's why I wanted to wear number six, in honor of Jazz. I just want to show that you just got to grind."

The middle child of five brothers and one sister, Chancellor has dreamed of playing against Miami since he was a kid. He grew up a Florida State fan in the city that celebrates the ‘U' like no other.

The aunt who he lived with is about a minute from the Orange Bowl. He could walk outside the front door and see the stadium.

"Everybody loves the U down there. Now I'm at Clemson and some of my family had to switch over. But some are still like, ‘The U this and the U that.'"

For the first half of this year, all he's heard from those family and friends back home, "The U is back." His high school coach Corey Bell is Director of Football Operations and his uncle played football there.

"I talk to Coach Bell all the time. He wished me the best of luck (Sunday night) but I'm pretty sure he's going to be rooting for Miami to win," Chancellor said.


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