A flashback to the hall of fame

Check out this piece I wrote for Clemsonsportstalk.com

A special look at statues for Clemson greats

Jun 10, 2019

Many times when you travel to stadiums around the country, you get a chance to learn more about the history of the game from the statues and monuments that are prominently placed.

Boston College has a monument to Doug Flutie it memorializes the "Hail Flutie" play that still captivates the minds of college football fans hoping for a miracle finish.

Outside of Doak Campbell stadium, Bobby Bowden stands tall. In Auburn, Bo Jackson, Cam Newton, and Pat Sullivan cast shadows on Jordan-Hare Stadium.

When you arrive at Williams-Brice Stadium, there is a statue of George Rogers just outside the gates.

It's time for Clemson to do the same for Brian Dawkins.

Dawkins had an outstanding career at Clemson. He received first-team All-ACC Honors in 1995 and was selected by the Associated Press and Sporting News as a second-team All-American as a senior. His team-high six interceptions tied him for the conference lead that year.

Dawkins also had three interceptions in one quarter against Duke in 1995. He was named the first-team strong safety on Clemson's all-centennial team in 1996 and was selected to the

Athletic Hall of Fame in 2009.

“It’s unbelievable. Like all of the legends and all of the individuals that played at Clemson," Dawkins stated. "It’s not like it’s a scrub school. It’s a school with a rich tradition of fine, quality players. And to know that I’m the one that’s now representing Clemson… it’s an honor for me.”

The list of accomplishments goes on and on. Dawkins in an interview during the NFL Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio talked about the pride to be Tiger.

“It’s unbelievable. Like all of the legends and all of the individuals that played at Clemson," Dawkins stated. "It’s not like it’s a scrub school. It’s a school with a rich tradition of fine, quality players. And to know that I’m the one that’s now representing Clemson… it’s an honor for me.”

Dabo Swinney has done a lot of great things for the Clemson program in just a decade as head coach, delivering a national title, new facilities and yearly national championship expectations to the program just to name a few. But perhaps the most significant thing he's done is bring in young men who he believes can become ambassadors for the game of football.

That's what I would argue is Dawkins' biggest legacy. He was and is still the greatest ambassador and representative of Clemson football at both the collegiate and professional level. Adding the tag "Hall of Famer" only accentuates the point.

Drafted by the Eagles in the second round of the 1996 NFL draft, Dawkins went on to play 16 years in the NFL. He was named to the Pro Bowl nine times and was an All-Pro selection in 2001, 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2009.

When Dawkins was selected to be inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame Swinney spoke highly for Clemson's greatest safety.

“Brian Dawkins has represented this football program, this University, with distinction for over 25 years, He had a terrific career at Clemson, then had an even better career in the NFL with Philadelphia and Denver."

www.ClemsonTigers.com

Dabo Swinney and Dan Radakovich present Brian Dawkins with the first Brian Dawkins Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013.

In 2013, Swinney helped establish the Brian Dawkins Lifetime Achievement Award.

“Brian Dawkins epitomizes everything you strive to be on and off the field when it comes to being a Clemson football player," Swinney said in 2013. "He is the ultimate professional and has represented this university with distinction in every way. He has set a standard of excellence in every way."

“Brian Dawkins epitomizes everything you strive to be on and off the field when it comes to being a Clemson football player."

- Dabo Swinney

Swinney said the award would be presented annually to a former Clemson player who had been out of school for at least ten years. A committee will make a selection each November. The player will be honored at the banquet in January and at a football game the following fall.

As incredible as that award is, it could vanish with a new coaching staff arriving at Clemson.  

Maybe it is time for Swinney to start a new tradition. The school should honor its only NFL Hall of Fame player. Immortalize Dawkins so the fans of the future can remember what he did at Clemson, but even more so what he did for football.

“I tell people all the time that I never thought about the Hall of Fame because I was just thinking about earning a job and pro bowls and stuff like that. I never thought about the Hall of Fame… What a blessing,” Dawkins said.

Rob Sanders

Rob Sanders

The Rundown with Rob on Fox Sports Radio 1400 Read more

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