August 27, 2003
Clemson, S.C.- When he was playing high school football at Westover, Tommy Sharpe let it be known that his dream was to play college football.
The trouble for Tommy is that not too many college coaches are looking for offensive lineman who measure six feet standing on their tip toes and barely weigh two-hundred pounds soaking wet.
Heart is something that cannot be measured and Tommy Sharpe was going to do what he could to make his dream come true.
He decided to pursue his dream at Clemson where the walk-on was the Tigers deep snapper as a redshirt freshman in 2001.
Last year, Sharpe finally got to snap the football to a quarterback when he became Clemson's starting center in the middle of last season.
He weighed 255 pounds last season but the still undersized Sharpe led the Tigers offensive line in knockdown blocks in four of the five games he started.
Now listed at 270 pounds, Tommy Sharpe is preparing to start against the same Georgia Bulldog team he cheered for as a child.
Tommy's parents are Georgia graduates and Tommy says his parents and grandfather would take him to picture days in the summer and Bulldog games in the fall.
On Saturday, Tommy Sharpe hopes to make his presence known to a Georgia defensive line he hopes is underestimating Clemson's little big man.
Tommy Sharpe said "I would much rather somebody go into a game thinking I am not worth anything and they are going to manhandle me than somebody really concentrating and preparing for me and worried about me. I loved to be underestimated. I think anybody would."
Coach Tommy Bowden said "What do we list him as? "
"Answer: He says six foot."
Bowden said He says six foot, that is very generous. That is with platform shoes in the '70's is what that is with. I think at his size you has to play with great tenacity and he does. It's a credit to him because he has worked his way. He has earned everything he has gotten and he has had to outpeform bigger guys and maybe more talented guys. He has done it with heart and effort. It is a good story.
Sharpe said "That's why I don't even want to go home after this year if we don't win. I probably never go back to Albany. I'll just move to Clemson and stay here the rest of my life."
Tommy Sharpe has a fellow south Georgia lining up next to him this season on the Clemson offensive line.
Cedric Johnson from Thomas County Central high school is the Tigers starting left guard.