CLEMSON -- The horde of cameras and tape recorders caused some of Clemson's freshmen to get wide-eyed and take a sudden step back. Others clammed up, tight as ticks, before relaxing and giving the standard stock quotes.
Brandon and Byron Clear, loquacious and easygoing, stood apart, shooting the breeze with anyone who desired a quick interview.
They've had plenty of practice.
As two of the players featurd on the MTV series "Two-A-Days," centered on the exploits of Hoover (Ala.) High School's Buccaneers, the Clear twins were hardly shocked by the TV crews requesting a minute of their time last week. They got used to a 24-7 camera presence during an entire season, so a half-hour at Media Day wasn't a big deal.
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"I got the nickname 'Two-A-Days' but that's cool ... I'm just trying to make my own name and step away from the MTV deal," said Brandon, a 6-foot-4, 205-pound wide receiver who could see extensive time for the Tigers. "In general, I feel like my parents did a great job helping me out with that."
"We went to Hoover, so it was very similar to this," agreed Byron, who has two inches and 15 pounds on his brother and plays defensive end. "It helps adjust you to the collegiate level."
Media were impressed at the chattiness of the two rookies, and the comments seemed to encourage the rest of the Tigers' freshmen. Outside of heralded frosh Willy Korn, most of Clemson's freshmen had the deer-in-the-headlights gaze during their first times in front of the lens.
The Clears have helped ease the transition. While they were offering their opinions on the ACC, the Tigers' predicted finish and whether Clemson's heat was worse than Hoover's, the rest of Clemson's freshmen were scattered around Howard's Rock, wisecracking to their Hollywood teammates.
"You tell 'em, Superstar!," gloated tackle Landon Walker.
"I sure wish I had a twin," quipped linebacker/safety Scotty Cooper.
Once the cameras shut off at the end of Hoover's season last year, the Clears were freed from that burden and concentrated on finding a good college. The twins, self-described best friends, wanted to find a school that would take both of them.
Several stepped to the plate, seeing Brandon's high rankings on the recruiting lists and good potential in Byron. When Clemson came around, though, the Clears felt home.
"It's been great having him there, and it's great for my mom, too, because she don't have to go back and forth to different places or whatever," said Brandon. "She's able to focus on us just being in one place."
That was also important because of the twins' father, Samuel Clear. A football player at Illinois from 1979-80, the eldest Clear is serving in Kuwait with the Army Rangers.
Brandon and Byron spoke of how they wanted to be relatively close to their mother, since "all her men were gone now." Although the twins speak to Samuel every night and their grandfather also keeps in touch, they realize the transition they've faced is nothing compared to their mother's.
"He (Samuel) calls us a lot and we kind of lean on each other when the going gets tough," Byron said. "It's really good to have my best friend here with me."
The Clears don't get a lot of free time, limiting a true introduction to college, and spend the little they get sleeping. Practice, school, weightlifting, eating right and meetings take up a lot of time, but it could be worse.
The twins also say they're planning on avoiding that other part of college life -- getting into trouble. Being the sons of an Army Ranger and spending a year with a camera in their face has squashed any mischievous sparks they might have had.
"You really got to watch what you say and watch what you do because they're always watching," Brandon said, eyebrows wiggling ominously. "And the camera doesn't lie."
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