Senior Spotlight

Nov. 5, 2001

Dedication. Hard Work. Commitment. These are just a few of the words that come to mind when you think of some of the Tiger seniors, who will soon be closing their football careers in Death Valley. Since their arrival at Clemson, these young men have demonstrated true excellence and balance, both on the playing field and in the classroom. These Tiger seniors also exemplify what it means to play a sport “for the love of the game.” Having defied the odds, and made the Tiger football roster as walkons, these seniors in the spotlight have made use of their incredible work ethics and undoubtedly have set an example for the future walkons of Clemson football.

Bo Charpia Bo Charpia is currently living a dream come true. “I’ve always been a huge Clemson fan,” said Charpia, who not only was an all-state baseball player in 1997, but who also has wanted to be a Tiger since his early youth. Charpia is a reserve kicker majoring in speech and communication studies. A native of Summerville, SC, he lettered in football while earning all-state honors in baseball. Charpia walked on to both the football and baseball teams as a freshman, and defied the odds by becoming one of two players to make the baseball team out of a tryout of 60 people. “It’s been a thrill to play for both the football and baseball teams. Clemson never recruited me, so by making the football team especially, I feel so honored to be a part of a team that I cheered so hard for as a kid,” Charpia said. Aspiring to go into either sales or broadcast journalism, he gives thanks to a number of people who have remained close to him throughout his athletic and academic career. “I am thankful for my strong faith in God, and I’m also grateful to my parents, my grandparents and my cousin Troy for the support they’ve given me.”

Micah Lewis Faith, influence and commitment have helped Micah Lewis reach great heights both on and off the gridiron. Lewis has faced adversity on the football field on different levels, both at Clemson and at Chapman High School in Inman, SC. Lewis claims, however, that his strong faith in God is what has helped him defeat the sometimes overwhelming competition and circumstance. “After I walked onto the team my freshman year, a lot of guys, including myself, had a lot of stress to deal with. My faith in the Lord has definitely carried me through some tough times,” he said. Lewis’ faith is pretty strong. He earned all-conference honors in football his senior year and also honors as the team’s captain. Lewis also competed in the shot put and discus, helping lead his high school to multiple conference championships. He is a reserve offensive guard majoring in agriculture, fisheries and wildlife biology, and he plans on continuing his passion for the outdoors after he graduates. Ideally Lewis hopes to work as a game warden or wildlife biologist. Lewis’ faith may be the strongest influence in his life, but many other people have also contributed to his achievements. “My parents and grandparents are very important people to me. They have helped me get to where I am today.” His high school coaches have also played very influential roles in his life, and he claims that they are the reasons “why I love the game of football and why I chose to play here.” Micah added that “although players like myself may not get as much recognition as others, I definitely feel like we are a crucial part of this football team. And if you ask any player on the team the same thing, they’ll agree.”

Tif Miller At 6-foot-3 inches tall and 205 pounds, Tif Miller is a force in the special teams backfield. A reserve punter and kicker from Charleston, SC, Miller attended Middleton HS, where he earned honors as a member of both the 1997 Shrine Bowl (football) and the 1998 North-South Soccer Classic. Following in the career path of his father, who played quarterback for Newberry College before suffering a career-ending injury, Miller tries to exemplify the stellar student-athlete that he believes his father has helped him become. “My dad was both my football and soccer coach as a kid, and he really helped me stay focused both on and off the field,” says Miller. “He was a big inspiration.” As a result in part of his father’s influence, Miller plans to obtain a degree in parks, recreation and tourism management and then attend graduate school. He also gives thanks for the support his mother has given him throughout his academic and athletic career. “My parents have always helped me stay concentrated in the right place when I needed to. I’m very thankful for the support they’ve given me.”

Matt Moler After earning several football honors while at Dunwoody High School in Atlanta, GA, Matt Moler has continued to experience the football excellence he achieved at Dunwoody here at Clemson. Having achieved 1997 and 1999 all-county honors in Cobb County, GA, Moler was named to the 1999 Metro SuperPrep Top 50 List for Atlanta. While he currently maintains a spot on the Tiger roster as a linebacker, Moler’s younger brother, Andy, has managed to attain similar football success, earning a spot as an outside linebacker on the roster at Ole Miss. Moler claims that both he and Andy have their father to thank in part for their athletic success. “Dad always offered us a lot of support,” says Moler, who also credits his high school defensive coach, Reggie Perry, for the influence he had on his football prowess. Moler is majoring in accounting and hopes to become a CPA after attending graduate school at Georgia.

Russell Stuermann Russell Stuermann is a defining example of a focused young man. Since joining the football team in 1998, Stuermann has demonstrated how his athletic focus has enabled him to become a conscientious, responsible and ambitious student-athlete. Stuermann is a reserve defensive tackle from Moore, SC and a graduate of Dorman High School. While at Dorman, he lettered in football and wrestling and was voted captain of the wrestling team his senior year. Stuermann is actually a second-generation tackle in his family, his grandfather, Russell Gulick, played offensive tackle for William & Mary and Syracuse during the 1940s. Gulick also played in a semi-professional league following college. Aside from the example of athletic achievement his grandfather exhibits, Stuermann places heavy emphasis on the focus that he claims his parents have helped him maintain. “My parents have always managed to keep me on track,” Stuermann said. “Whether it’s just a call to check up on me or something else, they’ve always been there for me, for advice or anything. They make sure that I do what I have to do.” The importance of family will become an even heavier influence in Stuermann’s life very soon. He became engaged on Sept. 23, and has already applied to a handful of medical schools. Russell intends to graduate with a degree in biological sciences, and the list of medical schools that he is considering include the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston and the University of Tennessee.

Bradley Vaughan Bradley Vaughan claims that the most important lesson he has learned from playing football is the value of hard work. “After I walked on my freshman year, I sometimes got treated like dirt. But I learned that by working hard and giving it my all both on and off the field, others will respect and take notice of what I’ve accomplished.”

Vaughan is no stranger to success. He earned all-conference honors as a defensive back while attending Mann High School in Greenville, SC, also earning all-state honors in weight lifting and wrestling. His hard work in the athletic arena has also paid off in the classroom, as he prepares to graduate next August with a degree in financial management. Through his remarkable work ethic, Vaughan has earned the affectionate nickname “Seahorn,” after Jason Seahorn, a current defensive back for the New York Giants. Seahorn, like Vaughan, achieved athletic success by maintaining a strong work ethic that has helped him gain respect and recognition from his peers. Vaughan was also the topic of a recent feature story that was published in The Tiger Insider. Bradley claims that a lot of people have had significant influence on him throughout his life. Some of the people whose help he is most grateful for include his father, who graduated from Clemson, and his godfather Leighton Cubbage, who came to Clemson on a football scholarship in 1977 and taught Vaughan the value of hard work commitment. “I also really want to thank coach Herb Hand (former Clemson defensive scout team coach) and our team advisor Darren Bruce. They have both been great influences on me and have helped me stay motivated and focused both on football and on school.”

After Clemson, Vaughan hopes to pursue a career in the financial field.

Bryant Stone is a junior from Fairfax, VA and is a student assistant in the Clemson sports information office.