Clemson held Alabama’s almost revered defensive line without a sack in the College Football Playoff national championship game.
So who better to speak to The Herald’s Hawgs of the Week award winners than Tigers offensive line coach Robbie Caldwell?
The Pageland native spoke to the group Thursday night in Rock Hill. He started the day by hopping on a private jet with Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney and flying from Atlanta to Lexington, to Macon, visiting recruits at each stop. It was a whirlwind day for a country boy that didn’t cross the North Carolina state line until he was 10 years old, even though he lived three miles from the border.
“Man, I felt like somebody!” he said.
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Caldwell was all too happy to speak to a group of offensive linemen.
“The greatest people in the world,” he said. “No way you can convince me otherwise.”
Eighteen weekly Hawg winners were acknowledged and the two 2018 Hawgs of the Year were announced. Chester’s Wyatt Tunall and Rock Hill’s Carson Murray were the clear winners.
Tunall was the anchor of a tremendous offensive line that propelled the Cyclones’ championship chase. He recorded 61 knockdown blocks in 2018, grading out at 85 percent for the season. He was a Shrine Bowl selection, though the broken foot prevented him from playing, and he was also a finalist for Mr. Football.
Tunall was unable to attend. He’s already enrolled at North Carolina and is having surgery the morning of Jan. 18 on the foot he broke during the Cyclones’ run to the 3A football state title.
Chester was expected to contend on a statewide level in 2018. But Rock Hill’s success was a bit more surprising, at least to onlookers outside of the program. But much like the Cyclones, Rock Hill’s success in 2018 (8-3 record, first region and city championships since 2009, first playoff win since 2008) was built in part on a very strong offensive line and run game.
Central to that was Carson Murray, the Bearcats’ junior center. He graded out 92 percent for the season, with 36 knockdown blocks. He was an All-Region 3-5A selection and won several Hawg of the Week and Tri-County lineman of the week awards.