CLEMSON — Former Maryland receiver Darryl Hill was honored by Clemson on Saturday prior to the Tigers’ 45-10 win over the Terrapins.
Hill was the first black football player in the Atlantic Coast Conference and became the first African-American to play in Clemson’s Memorial Stadium in 1963.
Fifty years later, Hill still remembers that game at Clemson.
The hotel where visiting teams typically stayed wouldn’t admit Maryland because Hill was black, so the team had to travel to Greenville to find lodging. The next day at the stadium, Hill’s mother was not allowed to enter. She eventually got inside after Clemson president Robert Edwards escorted her to his personal suite.
“I told my coach I wasn’t going to play. I was going to get my mother, who was there alone, back home safely,” Hill said. “I got out of my uniform and somehow (Clemson) president Robert Edwards had found her and he assured me he was going to take her to his box.
“I was hyped up because of the treatment to my mother and I played very well.”
Hill set an ACC record with 10 pass receptions against Clemson.
“The fans were very abusive as they typically were that season,” said Hill, who had played in his first game earlier that year at N.C. State. “I remember during warm-ups if I dropped a pass, they’d cheer, if I caught a pass they’d boo. Then the black people sitting on the hill would cheer if I caught a ball. This started going back and forth.”
Hill said midway through the third quarter, he was getting support from Clemson players.
“I could feel the respect coming. They were quietly congratulating me. They couldn’t do it openly during those days. But I was getting thumbs up and a helping hand out of the pile.”
And on Saturday, Hill again walked out on the field at Memorial Stadium, this time to rousing cheers.
Sammy Watkins walked the sidelines in the second half of Saturday’s win over Maryland in street clothes after injuring his lower right leg in the first half. Watkins described the injury as an ankle bruise and said he will “most definitely” play next week vs. N.C. State.
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said Watkins suffered a calf strain. Despite the differing assessment of the injury, Swinney said Watkins could have returned Saturday if Clemson needed the sophomore receiver.
A top recruit at game
The nation’s No. 1 recruit, Robert Nkemdiche decommitted from Clemson this week, but the Tigers are in the running for another of the nation’s top defensive linemen in Montravius Adams.
The 6-4, 310-pound five-star rated defensive tackle visited Clemson this weekend and took in the Maryland game. Florida, Georgia, Auburn and Alabama are also in the running for the Vienna, Ga., prospect. Clemson fans chanted “We want Adams” briefly during the second half.
Former Porter-Gaud standout Stanton Seckinger scored his first touchdown at Clemson on a 4-yard pass from Cole Stoudt in the fourth quarter Saturday.