Note: The following appears in the Florida Atlantic football gameday program.
Hampton Earle is the definition of a Clemson lifer. He grew up attending Tiger football games with his parents and dreamed of putting on the iconic orange uniform for as long as he can remember. His mother is an alumnus, while his father owns businesses in the area. It is safe to say that his path was laid down for him at a very young age.
“It was always my dream and my goal to play for Clemson. Ever since the day I was born, I was a huge Clemson fan.”
Growing up, he attended many Clemson football camps. He continued to work on his craft while playing at nearby D.W. Daniel High School. By the time his junior year came around, Head Coach Dabo Swinney was confident enough in his abilities to offer him a preferred walk-on spot.
“I was able to develop a strong relationship with Coach Swinney and Coach (Brent) Venables from a very young age at Clemson football camps. Coach Swinney offered me a preferred walk-on spot after my junior year in high school, and from then on, I was set at Clemson. I didn’t do any other camps or talk to any other coaches. It was a dream come true.”
Now a fifth-year senior and graduate student, Earle has established himself as a veteran presence in the locker room. As a teammate, he wants to help the younger players and do whatever the team needs.
“I want to do whatever is needed to help the team win, whether it be with special teams, playing a role in the wideout room or being a leader for the younger guys. I’m ready for anything that comes my way.”
While he remains ultra-focused on the season at hand, he is still willing to reflect on his time at Clemson. He deeply values the connections and friendships he has made over the past few years.
“Some of my fondest memories here at Clemson revolve around the relationships I’ve been able to build with my teammates. Whether sharing laughs at the bistro, hanging out at the lake or golfing, we always have a great time. We’re a tight-knit group.”
As far as his most memorable moment on the field, Earle echoed his teammate and fellow wideout Hamp Greene.
“Making it to the national championship game in 2019 is by far my favorite memory at Clemson. Even though we did not win, it was an unforgettable experience to share with my brothers. I learned so much from that team.”
Earle sees similarities between the 2019 group and the current squad, noting that both teams have a similar energy and focus.
“We’re hungry, we’re focused and ready to win a ‘Natty.’ We want to beat everyone who is in our way.”
Earle also expressed how impressed he has been with new Offensive Coordinator Garrett Riley. He believes he will make a big difference for the offense.
“It has stood out to me how calm and charismatic he is. He is the calmest dude in the room. He’s outgoing, likes to have fun and brings a lot of positive energy to this team.”
Riley is just one piece to the puzzle in a season where the Tigers have high expectations. Even still, Earle noted that they remain highly focused on winning the grand prize. The outside noise is not a factor for them.
“We don’t worry about the expectations that outside people set for us. We just worry about doing our absolute best every day. Coach Swinney does a great job keeping everyone focused, because at the end of the day, we all have the same goal for this season.”