Two days after beating the Alabama Crimson Tide, 35-31, to win the school’s first National Championship since 1981, Clemson Tigers linebacker Ben Boulware is still on cloud nine. The game’s defensive MVP joined The Jim Rome Show on Wednesday and talked about the feeling of euphoria, not just for him and his teammates but the entire Clemson community, when Deshaun Watson took the final knee.
“You honestly can’t put words to it. It’s one of the best feelings I’ve ever felt in my entire life,” the senior said. “I’m really honestly super happy for my team, but I’m really so ecstatic for our community, the upstate of South Carolina. They’ve been waiting for so long for some Clemson team to bring that national championship back home and honestly it took 35 years.
Boulware said even though he’s been home for about a day and a half, tons of people have come up to him crying and really embracing him, “Because they probably are more happy than our team is,” Boulware continued, “So I’m super for our community just to bring that trophy back home.”
Late in the 4th quarter, Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts scrambled 30 yards to put the Crimson Tide back in the lead 31-28, but Boulware knew once he got to the sideline that they’d left enough time on the clock for Deshaun Watson.
“We knew we had around 2 minutes left. I was very confident, very relaxed. I knew what happens when number four has the ball in his hands and when he’s able to throw it out to all the talent we have on the outside,” Boulware said. “We work two minute every single week. And so I knew Deshaun was very confident as well. So we were relaxed. We knew it was going to be a tough task going against their defense, but I can’t imagine a better ending than that, than our offense driving down the entire field against what the media portrays as the best defense ever and scoring the game winning touchdown.
About that ending, Boulware said it couldn’t have been written any better. “A guy like Hunter Renfrow to score that touchdown, I don’t think there’s a better script, or better a movie script than that. The five-star All-American Deshaun Watson throwing it to the walk-on Hunter Renfrow.”
The game put an ending to Boulware’s college career, but the award winning linebacker still holds a grudge against the school over his recruitment. Having played high school ball at nearby T.L. Hanna, Boulware said the university was late to his recruitment, a fact that still irritates him.
“The chip will always be there. It was there my junior and senior of high school when the recruiting started to build up a little bit and since Clemson was one of the last schools to offer me, I had Stanford and South Florida were the first two that offered me. So I had a school from California that had offered me a scholarship other than the team that’s 20 minutes up the road. So honestly it pissed me off,” Boulware said. “But it was all my motivation once I finally got that scholarship. I just went back to work and tried to make the most out of each opportunity I was given. I know the respect from our program and our football team is continuing to build and continuing to get to where we want it to be and after Monday night I definitely think the respect is there now, but for me personally, the chip will always be there as long as I’m a competitor and a football player. I think if you want to play at a high level and be successful, you have to have motivation, and that is definitely mine.”