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Nov 18, 2022

Jesiah Carlton | Best Version of Himself

By: Gracie Sansbury

Note: The following appears in the Miami football gameday program.

Here at Clemson, it’s about the culture.” Linebacker Jesiah Carlton could have stopped playing after his four years at Wingate, but he saw an opportunity as a graduate to play for a team and for a school he has always admired.

“Everyone is held to a standard at Clemson, and that’s what makes us different.”

The sixth-year college student transferred from Wingate earlier this year, but he suffered a torn meniscus in his final season playing for the Bulldogs, causing him to sit some time out.

“Because of my injury, I didn’t get to finish my last year, so I wanted to give it a shot as a walk-on here.”

In fact, the day Carlton arrived as a Tiger was the day he was cleared.

“When I got here for workouts, I hadn’t run or done anything in about three months, so I had to jump in and catch up quickly. The workouts were more intense than what I was used to, so adapting to that and trying to get my knee better took time.”

The linebacker did not let his adversity get to him, and explained that it forced him to be “mentally tough” as he went through uncharted territory with his injury and with a new team.

When asked what attracted him to Clemson, Carlton simply said “everything.”

“From the resources to the coaches, it was a huge eye-opener to see why Clemson is so successful. It is what we have to offer for those who play here.”

Carlton added that Clemson is a great opportunity to prepare for the future and has set himself up after college, as even with his short time in Tigertown, he has been involved with the P.A.W. Journey initiative.

Growing up, the Winston-Salem, N.C. native was actually a Tar Heel fan, but he started following the Tigers during the mid 2010s and was an admirer of former Clemson linebacker Ben Boulware.

“I got into it quickly. I was watching every game on Saturdays and Boulware become a guy I really loved to see play. I finally came to the conclusion, ‘I might as well be a Clemson fan now!’ And then, I bought a jersey.”

Now that he gets to don his own Clemson jersey, the experience of going from fan to player has been memorable for #46.

“I’ve been coming to games for years in the stands supporting, so actually being here is still crazy to me.”

Carlton made his debut in a Tiger uniform during the Furman game, and it was an unforgettable moment for him.

“I had seen players run down the Hill many times, but doing it in a jersey and seeing my family wear a jersey with my name on it…it was quite surreal.”

After six years of playing football and being a college athlete, what has always motivated Carlton is his family.

“They always support me and always make sure I am going to practice and getting everything I need for football. They have instilled in me to not quit even when things are hard.”

Not only that, but the pure “love for the game” is also what has kept Carlton going after all these years.

“After playing for so long, it’s hard to give it up.”

While thinking about what he will miss most about being a Tiger, Carlton offered the following.

“It will be incredibly difficult to leave the game. The culture of Clemson is something I will miss a lot. I love being pushed every day to not only be a good football player, but to be the best version of myself.