The Clemson Tigers won the Football National Championship earlier this year after an incredible 2016 season. But what many don’t know is that the team also placed second in the academic ranking of the top 25 college football teams in Time Magazine. With a Championship title and second place ranking for academics, the Clemson Tigers have proven their success on and off the field.
Sophomore Carson King knows all too well what it took to get the Clemson Tigers to the top. It is uncommon for student athletes to major in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, but Carson is balancing both the workload of a chemical engineering degree and football. Carson remains very humble about his achievements, but it is not as easy as he makes it out to be. In fact, he was awarded the Highest Freshman GPA at this year’s Clemson Football Banquet in January!
Carson grew up in Brentwood, Tennessee and played tight end and punter for his high school football team. During high school, he had decided he wanted to major in engineering in college, and Clemson University was his number one choice. He was drawn to the success of the engineering program, fell in love with the campus, and “it seemed like a good opportunity.” Carson also had his eyes on the football program. When he was accepted to the team as a walk-on in the Spring of 2016, football became an extra bonus to everything else Clemson had to offer.
When he’s not in class or on the first floor of Cooper Library studying, he’s on the football field practicing. When asked how he juggled classes and sports, Carson said the key to his success is “time management”. He also said you need to, “stay focused and disciplined with everything you do. It’s not like you can be disciplined in your workout and practices and slack off in the classroom. It just ends up hurting you all around, so you just have to manage your time well.”
A normal day in the fall for Carson consists of morning classes, an hour or two break to study and eat lunch, afternoon practice, and long nights studying in Cooper Library. The Clemson football team has always prided itself on pushing each member to be the best not only in the game, but also the classroom. The football team requires some athletes to complete a certain number of study hours per week to make sure the players are on top of their studies. Carson says that Vickery Hall is an excellent resource available for student athletes at Clemson. Tutors, study sessions, and a new program called Paw Journey are just a few benefits. Carson describes Paw Journey as a professional career development course that “essentially gives football players the tools they need to succeed after college and after their athletic career has come to an end.” And with the addition of the new football facility, which includes extra study rooms, football players will have even more tools to help them succeed academically.
When asked to describe his experience in the National Championship Game Carson said, “It was unreal. It was just amazing. I can’t explain what it felt like…even when they scored, I don’t know why I just knew we were going to win for some reason. And that’s something that Coach Swinney has instilled in us, to believe. That was really, really special.” He went on to say that the team felt like there was unfinished business from the 2015 National Championship, and they came back to set the record straight. Reflecting on the 2016 season, Carson said, “Honestly the whole season was incredible, but I got to punt in the South Carolina State game…just getting to punt in a game in Death Valley was awesome.” Carson hopes to be the first string punter in the fall now that Andy Teasdall has graduated.
Congratulations to Carson on his Highest Freshman Football Player GPA Award! We are proud to have him part of our ChBE academic team, and we can’t wait to see more of him in the classroom and on the field.