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Loving The Journey

Loving The Journey

Note: The following appears in the SC State gameday football program. To purchase a copy of the program while supplies last, send a check for $6 to Clemson Athletic Communications; P.O. Box 31; Clemson, SC 29633 with your return address.

In the back of his mind, Nick Schuessler always wanted to come to Clemson. And though he arrived in Tigertown after transferring from Mississippi State, the graduate quarterback has no regrets about his college journey.

“No regrets whatsoever with that decision,” said Schuessler. “It was something I prayed about a lot, and I trusted God’s will and plan for my life. One thing led to another, doors opened and it worked out.”

The Clemson family has been very apparent to Schuessler from the beginning of his experience as a Tiger, something that meant a great deal to him as a transfer.

“Clemson is a special place, like everyone says,” noted Schuessler. “You come here and you get to experience so many things, like the family atmosphere. I was welcomed in. Usually, it takes a little time for transfers to get their feet wet and meet new people, but they embraced me.

“I’ve made some great, great friends. The football coaches are unbelievable. You can call them at any time of the day or night and they’ll bend over backwards for you.”

Aside from the coaching, Schuessler has had the opportunity to see many dreams become reality since joining the football program, including befriending and learning from some of the top talent in the country.

“Transferring here, growing up and in high school, I was a huge fan of Tajh Boyd,” remembered Schuessler. “Being able to be in the same QB room as him and learn from him felt like a dream come true, like a little kid.

“Because of transfer rules, I had the opportunity to redshirt, and I ended up being Tajh’s roommate. I went from being a huge fan to him being one of my good friends.”

During his career, Schuessler is 21-33 passing for 230 yards in 116 snaps over 13 games, completing 63 percent of his passes. He was named the backup quarterback following spring practice, and he is thankful that the player that he backs up is one like Deshaun Watson.

“If I had to back up any player in the country, I’m glad it’s the best player in the country, at any position,” explained Schuessler. “It’s such a humbling experience. Everyone comes to college, and they expect to play. Being able to back up him has taught me a lot about myself, both on and off the field. He’s an unbelievable guy.

“Deshaun is a great player and comes to work every day. Being able to form a friendship with him has been invaluable. I really admire what he does both on and off the field, and getting to back him up is a humbling experience. Obviously, I’d love to play, but the journey has been great.”

Schuessler is accustomed to playing alongside nationally acclaimed recruits, as his high school teammates included not only the 29th pick of the 2016 NFL draft, Robert Nkemdiche, but also fellow Tigers Wayne Gallman and Ryan Carter.

“I keep in touch with Robert Nkemdiche to this day,” said #12. “But getting to play with Wayne Gallman and to see him grow as a person has been so special.

“I’m his biggest fan on the sideline, and the same with Ryan Carter. To see him come up here and mature and play…it’s been awesome. Those are my day-one friends. I grew up with them my whole life. To get them out here and see them do what they always dreamed of doing on a national stage has been awesome.”

In the trio of Grayson High School graduates’ final year together on the field, the quarterback is excited to see what the Tigers can accomplish, and he is ready to assume whatever role the coaches assign to him.

“In my final year, as a team, I think we should finish what we started last year. Personally, I want to do whatever the team needs me to do.

“I love getting to be around the guys. Whether I play 200 snaps this year or zero, I love it. I’m willing to do whatever they have for me to be a servant leader for the team.

“I’d be lying if I said that our goal wasn’t to win it all. We left a lot on the table last year at the end, and we’re all looking forward to this year.”

Schuessler is thankful for all that Clemson has done for him both on and off the field, as he has already accepted a position with the accounting firm Deloitte & Touche after he dons a Tiger uniform for the last time. The quarterback would also like to join his brother, who lives in California, “to experience the world…the life.”

But before that, he is experiencing one more season with the program that has meant so much to him.

“Getting to spend my fifth year here, it’s funny to see how much I’ve grown as a person,” reflected Schuessler. “Coach (Dabo) Swinney has the three pillars of the program, and he really has pushed me to develop.

“I’ve taken so many strides on the field, and my game has dramatically increased. Off the field, being able to grow spiritually, mentally and in my academics, it’s cool to be able to look back over my years here.

“At the end of each year, I try to do a self-evaluation to see how much I’ve grown over the years, and hopefully, I’ve grown into a man who my family is proud of.”