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Clemson vs. South Carolina State Football Game Notes

Sept. 17, 2008

Complete Game Notes

Hamlin Family Reunion Clemson Memorial Stadium will be the site of a Hamlin family reunion this weekend. There will be three brothers on the field with that last name, Clemson starting safety Michael Hamlin and South Carolina State defensive backs Markee Hamlin, a junior, and Marquais Hamlin, a freshman.

This is the first time brothers will be on opposite sidelines in a Clemson game since 1981 when Mark Richardson was a defensive end for Clemson and Jon Richardson was a receiver for North Carolina. Both Richardson’s had outstanding games in that 10-8 Clemson win 27 years ago.

Mark had a career high seven tackles from his defensive end position and Jon had four receptions for 48 yards to lead North Carolina receivers. There were actually a couple of plays where Mark tackles Jon after a reception and of course they engaged many times on running plays. Both now work in the front office of the Carolina Panthers.

All three Hamlins are defensive players and likely won’t go against each other on special teams or scrimmage plays on Saturday. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be a strong competition going. We are sure all three will be striving to win the interception and tackle race on the final stat sheet.

Michael Hamlin is arguably Clemson’s top defensive player and the same can be said for Markee on the South Carolina State side. That was actually the case a year ago when Michael was voted Clemson’s top defensive player and was named permanent defensive captain for the 2007 season. Markee was named South Carolina State’s top defensive player last year.

Michael was tied for the Clemson team lead in interceptions a year ago with four, while Markee led South Carolina State with five. Michael was second on Clemson’s team in tackles last year with 97, while Markee led South Carolina State in tackles last year with 51.

This year both players are second on their respective defenses in tackles. Michael has a 3-0 lead in interceptions so far as he tied a Clemson single game record with three picks in the win over The Citadel. Both were second-team all-conference selections last year, Michael in the ACC and Markee in the MEAC.

So far this year both Hamlins are second on their respective teams in tackles. Michael has 28 to rank second on the Clemson team and he is fourth in the ACC. Markee is second on South Carolina State’s team with 15.

We don’t mean to leave Marquais out of this comparison. He is just a red-shirt freshman and just learning the system. He has one tackle so far as a reserve defensive back, but he is also destined to be an outstanding player for the Bulldogs.

It should be noted that all these Hamlins come by this football ability naturally. Their father, Michael Hamlin, once had five interceptions in a high school game at Timmonsville High (the rival of sons high school, Lamar) and that is still the record for a high school game in South Carolina. The proudest of all will probably be their mother, Jeanette Hamlin, who will be attending Saturday’s game with many family members.

Blackwells on Both Sidelines While there will be a player brother on each side Saturday, there will also be a coaching brother combination. Each coaching staff has a member of the Blackwell family. Clemson’s linebacker coach is David Blackwell, who is in his sixth season mentoring the Tiger linebackers. Joseph Blackwell is in his sixth season as an assistant at South Carolina State. He currently coaches the Bulldogs guards and centers and is also the running game coordinator.

The Blackwell family is from Greenville so we are sure there will be many family members on hand Saturday.

David has been a big reason Clemson has finished in the top 25 of both polls three of the last five years, including last season. He has coached many outstanding Clemson linebackers, including 2004 ACC Defensive Player of the Year LeRoy Hill. Clemson has finished in the top 25 in the nation in all four major defensive categories each of the last three years, a first in Clemson football history.

Joseph joined the Bulldogs program in 2003, the same year David came to Clemson. South Carolina State has led the MEAC in rushing each of the last two seasons. In 2005 they led the MEAC in fewest sacks allowed, and they rank fourth in the FCS level so far this year with just one sack allowed in three games.