Clemson Football Star Surprises Veteran with Autographed Jersey
Clelin Ferrell's shift signing autographs at Haywood Mall in Greenville, South Carolina, was technically over on Saturday when he spotted someone deserving of a little extra attention.
Noticing a Clemson fan sitting on the floor with an Army backpack and a "Ring Season" shirt on, the NFL hopeful and former defensive end for the championship-winning Tigers folded his 6-foot-5 frame and sat down next to the stranger.
"He didn't have an agent, he didn't have anybody with him," Spartanburg resident Josh Gibson, who snapped a photo of the now-viral moment, told The State. "He just went over, sat down and started talking with the guy."
Gibson told the paper that they were in earshot of fans still waiting in line for autographs. According to Gibson, Ferrell asked the man about his story and if he was a veteran. Then he handed the man a purple Clemson jersey with his name and number, 99.
"Clelin told the guy, ‘These are the jerseys we wear on Military Appreciation Day once a year to honor our veterans," Gibson recalled to The State. "He wrote several inscriptions on the shirt on the numbers."
Gibson said that as Ferrell stood up, the crowd started applauding. "He even tried to kind of sneak away from the moment, but it was already too late."
A few days later, the photo of the moment Gibson shared on Facebook has nearly 8,000 likes and more than 4,000 shares.
"What a great gesture for this young man to make...the world needs more like him!" Gibson wrote alongside the inspiring snap.
At this year's NFL combine, Ferrell, who hails from Richmond, Virginia, told reporters that his mother and father both were in the military.
"My mom, she served in Desert Storm. My father was in Vietnam; he passed away when I was 13," Ferrell said. "And that was really, really big for me because they loved the aspect of just integrity. They always demanded that I did the right things, went about my business the right way and did it in a manner where it was respectful.
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"They were really big on not hanging around the wrong people," Ferrell continued. "They always talked to me about making sure that I keep the right company. So, it was just a lot of different things that they drew from the military and brought into my life."
We expect big things from this young man, y'all!