CLEMSON -- Chris Chancellor will be back home on Saturday when the Tigers travel to face Miami.
10 questions with Chris Chancellor
Chancellor: We travelled together through track team. We travelled together and stuff like that. We ran all the same relays, sprints and long jumps. On the football field he played wide receiver, so we'd go up against each other all the time and encourage each other. It was just a tremendous opportunity to get to know him.
Did you guys keep up with each other while he was up at UConn and you were here at Clemson?
Chancellor: Yes. I talked to a lot of those guys u up there when I can, through facebook and we did a decent job of keep in touch. We talked often, I wouldn't say every week, but we talked often enough.
Does this death seem harder to grasp because he had escaped, in a similar way that you have, from the violent environment in Miami by being at school up in UConn?
Chancellor : Yes. Jaz used to walk to practice through the projects and nothing ever happened to him. You send your son off to college thinking he's going to be safe, but you can't stop violence wherever you go. So when you get a phone call that your son has been killed, it's gotta be rough. You send them away to college to get a good degree and make something of themselves and then to get a phone call like this, it's pretty rough.
Have you had a chance to talk to his family at all since this incident?
Chancellor : I haven't spoken to his Mom yet. I know his sister, she's at Miami Edison right now, so that was a sad day. I've talked to some of the coaches and friends that were really close to Jas and who he talked to every week. They're going to be doing something at my high school either this Friday or next Friday as far as memorial and things like that. Today they had a moment of silence in the school honoring Jas.
Miami is home for you ... putting that alongside the recent loss of a friend from the area, how much more emotional do these factors make this game for you on Saturday?
Chancellor : Well playing against Miami has been my dream since I was young. It was my dream to grow up, go to Florida State, and then play against Miami. But me making the right choice to come to Clemson and now playing against Miami, I ended up at the right place. This is a dream come true, and with what's happened and getting to honor Jas by wearing #6, that's something major and I really take part in that.
When did you decide that you would ask Coach Swinney to wear No. 6 in Howard's honor?
Chancellor : Immediately Sunday. Once I had heard that it happened. I just decided I would go talk to Coach Swinney on Monday morning and ask if he'd let me honor him. Last game I played there was in high school at Miami Edison when I was with Jas, and I just wanted to be able to go down there and really honor him with the #6 this Saturday.
How will it feel for you to step out on that field wearing Jas's number on Saturday?
Chancellor : You know he was a great friend and I admire the things he did, and just being a great cornerback. All of my friends and family being at the game and people that knew Jas and even Coach Cory Bell who's also at Miami—I'll be talking to him on the field during pre-game. So it's definitely going to be emotional.
How would you describe Jasper Howard to the people who didn't know him?
Chancellor : He was a great guy. He was outgoing and always funny, just a great all-around guy. I walked around the halls with him a couple of times, we played football, and 6th period we'd go play basketball and just went out to practice. We had fun all the time and stayed out of trouble. We stayed pretty close. All the guys who went to play in college have stayed close.
Who got the better deal on the football field when you guys used to go up against each other?
Chancellor : Jaz was a great receiver, but he was also pretty young. We always kept a competition with each other and actually the year that I was a senior, I used to out jump him all the time and I came back to find out he was jumping 24s and 25s. I couldn't believe he was jumping that far, and I saw him make it to state. I was pretty proud of him.
Has this hit home to you closer than what a lot of people may realize?
Chancellor : Yes. Growing up in Miami was pretty rough. Sending your kid off to college was something great. Some people downplay and they don't want you to go off and succeed. They want you to stay in the city life and be thugs or gangsters. We got the opportunity to go off and make something of ourselves. Some people like it, whether family or relatives, while other people don't. Jas got the opportunity to go out and make something of himself. He was having a great career at UConn and he was making plays all over the field. It hits home because he's another successful guy coming from Miami Edison and he was coached by Cory Bell, who taught us to be men and follow our dreams. There's a lot of jealousy out there, and there will always be guys who don't want to see you succeed. It's stupid, I don't know why people kill people in the first place. It's even more sad that it had to happen to Jas at such a young age.
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