NEW ORLEANS (WIS) - Denzel Johnson and a few of his teammates huddled around a sketch pad with coloring pencils on Saturday morning at the XULA Convocation Center.
As they colored in a sketch of Spider-Man drawn by Xavier Thomas, the Clemson foursome was just a few steps away from Trevor Lawrence, other star players, and coaches who were approached by reporters and photographers during this year’s College Football Playoff National Championship Media Day.
“It’s been fun. It’s been a lot of fun,” said Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney. “But it’s been -- it’s nice to know that, hey, man, let’s go let it all hang out and cut it loose. We’ve had a wonderful year. We’ve had an unbelievable decade and I’m excited to finish strong Monday night and then set our eyes on what’s next.”
Players from both Clemson and LSU were asked about practicing everything from Monday’s big matchup to Tony the Tiger. For many of the players, they’re simply just ready to play.
“There’s a lot of excitement,” said Clemson defensive lineman Xavier Thomas. “It’s once in a lifetime you get to come in and make history and be legends. I mean, it’s a possibility to go 30-0 and come beat LSU in their home state.”
For LSU, the idea of playing in what is essentially a home game for them was another hot topic of discussion. They’ve won three national championships in New Orleans and they hope playing close to home can help them bring home another.
“There’s something about the NOLA magic,” said LSU safety Grant Delpit. “They didn’t have it in 2011. They missed out on that one, but, hopefully, we can get it done. It’s going to be hard not to. It’s going to be in our favor, but [there’s a] monster in Clemson on the other side.”
For Clemson, being at Media Day events is nothing new for them. Still, having the chance to be a part of this event is always special for them.
“I think it’s cool the different places we get to go,” said Lawrence. “Last year, we were in California, in Santa Clara. Very different than here. So it’s cool to get to kind of experience both sides. Just the cultures, I think that’s probably my favorite part.”
Clemson and LSU will meet for the College Football Playoff National Championship on Monday at 8 p.m. at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.