Clemson will begin its quest for a second national championship under Dabo Swinney against a familiar opponent on Sept. 1, the Furman Paladins.
The two South Carolina schools have faced each other on the gridiron 56 times in a series that dates back to 1896.
If Harris Roberts wins the starting quarterback job for Furman, the series will get a bizarre new twist. Roberts, a Clemson student, would be playing against his own school.
Study at Clemson, play football for Furman
The Greenville News reported on the oddity that comes courtesy of a cooperative education program between the two schools.
Roberts studied at Furman for three years to earn a pre-engineering degree. Furman does not have a formal engineering program, however, and Harris is now studying for an engineering degree at Clemson. The co-op program allows Harris to continue to play football for Furman while finishing his education at Clemson.
“This was my best opportunity to play high-level football and study engineering,” Roberts told The News. “I jumped at the chance.”
While it’s not ideal to have to go back and forth between the two schools, the 31-mile stretch of US-123 provides Roberts with a unique opportunity to pursue two dreams at once.
“The drive back and forth sometimes gets a little monotonous,” Roberts told The News. “That takes a lot of time out of the day that I could use for studying for class, studying film or taking a nap. Being able to manage my time is the most difficult part, but it’s been going well.”
Roberts suiting up against Clemson would be a first
Furman sports information director Hunter Reid told The News that Roberts is not the first student to take advantage of the co-op program. But by his account, Roberts would be the first student-athlete to be in his unique position of suiting up against the Tigers in football.
Roberts, who has a full football scholarship at Furman, told The News that his classmates are caught off guard when they hear his story.
“Once they figure out that I play football at Furman, they’re kind of shell-shocked.”
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