Note: The following appears in the South Carolina football gameday program.
College football is a sport unlike any other in the country. From tailgating to the marching bands, the sport is clearly different. The rivalry games that are played the week of Thanksgiving also separates college football from the rest.
For in-state product Jordan McFadden, playing rival South Carolina takes on a life of its own.
“Growing up, I was always a Clemson fan. I never really liked South Carolina. This game means a lot to a lot of people. I have never lost to South Carolina, so you wanna keep that going. It is a great rivalry. They do not like us and we do not like them. It would mean a lot to go undefeated against them.”
McFadden was at a time a Virginia Tech commit before pledging to Head Coach Dabo Swinney and the Clemson program.
“Clemson does it differently as far as how soon they offer prospects. I was committed to Virginia Tech and thought I would go there, but I visited Clemson many times and was around the atmosphere, the facility and the guys. It was a no-brainer to come to Clemson. It was close to home, and the culture here is unmatched.”
McFadden arrived on campus in 2018 and learned behind team captain, All-ACC performer and NFL draft pick Tremayne Anchrum.
“He was who I looked up to, and he was like my big brother. He definitely taught me a lot, like how to take care of my body, working out and eating right. He also helped me learn the plays, and he had a big impact on my career. I would not be where I am today without the leadership he provided.”
McFadden was recruited by Robbie Caldwell, who coached him for four years before he retired last summer. Former Tiger offensive lineman Thomas Austin now coaches him on a daily basis. McFadden has enjoyed being under the tutelage of both coaches.
“Coach Caldwell was very old school, but he is one of the most loyal people you will ever meet. He will criticize you as your coach, but he will stand up for you in front of anyone. As a player, you love to see that.
“Coach Austin played in the NFL for five years. He has been where I want to go, and he is obviously very knowledgeable about the game. He is really good at communicating with us and making sure he understands our thought process. He has been really beneficial for the offensive line as a whole.”
This past summer, McFadden, along with Swinney, K.J. Henry and DJ Uiagalelei, represented Clemson at the ACC Kickoff in Charlotte, N.C. McFadden talked about the experience he had representing the program and university in the Queen City.
“That was huge…being voted on by coaches and players as a guy to lead the team at media day was amazing. It is crazy to think about how the staff and my team think of me…it is a blessing. It was fun to represent Clemson at media day. We met a lot of great people and answered a lot of questions. It was a great experience, and I am glad I was able to attend.”
McFadden has been at Clemson for five years and has seen a lot of growth in his time, but most of his growth has been outside of football.
“I have grown a lot as a man since I first arrived here. I was super immature and was not very serious. Being around men like Coach Swinney, Jeff Davis and all the coaches, they help you mature and help get your priorities in order, and they help you focus on doing the right things.”
McFadden has learned to have an unshakable belief in himself thanks to Swinney and his story.
“I have learned to have a belief thanks to Coach Swinney…hearing his story, how he grew up, seeing where he is now and winning two national championships. Having an unshakable belief…you see it a lot at Clemson. A lot of people around the country tell us what we cannot do as a team or as a program.
“A lot of people in your life tell you what you cannot do. It does not matter what they think…it only matters what you think and having that belief in yourself.”
McFadden has been a reliable and dependable three-year starter on the offensive line at Clemson. McFadden garnered Second-Team All-ACC honors last season, but his impact on the Tiger football program can be seen and felt off the gridiron.