If you ask Ben Boulware’s teammates to describe him, one word that will probably come up more than a few times is “crazy.”
That’s because Boulware might be the most intense college football player since Tim Tebow. Just 235 pounds of linebacker adrenaline and fury.
“I think in a locker room and obviously when you get on the field you have to flip a switch to play at a high level – especially when you play linebacker at this level, you need to be a little bit crazy,” Boulware said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “So on the field, yes, I might be a little bit (crazy). But in the locker room, I think I’m a normal guy, keep it low-key. Obviously I stepped into a leadership position this year, so I had to lead all those young guys, my linebacker group and the defense. Every aspect outside of football, I’m a normal guy.”
Boulware gave a passionate pregame speech before Monday’s 35-31 national championship win over Alabama. Amy Lawrence asked Boulware to recreate that speech on air, but Boulware couldn’t do it.
“That’s only for football,” he said. “I’m telling you, I’m crazy when it comes to being on the field and before and after a game and during the game. But I’m at a tattoo parlor now. I’m about to get a national championship tattoo. So I’m pretty chilled out, just keep it low key. I’m definitely not in the mood for screaming over the telephone. I’ll keep that for the huddle.”
In truth, Boulware played a pivotal role in helping Clemson to its first national championship since 1981. So did Deshaun Watson. In fact, after Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts scored the go-ahead touchdown with 2:07 remaining in the fourth quarter, Watson smiled – because he knew the Tide left too much time on the clock.
“The first thing I did was not smile,” Boulware said. “I was pretty pissed that we let them score. But once I got on the sideline and realized they left us two minutes, I was pretty sure they scored way too quick. I know we run our two-minute drill every single day at practice. I know what happens when No. 4 has the ball in his hands and he’s able to sling it out to all the talent we have at receiver and across the board. So once I kind of settled down, (I thought), ‘That’s too much time.’ We respect how good of a defense they have at Alabama, but you can’t really think of a better movie script than that. You got to drive down the entire field against what the media portrays as the best defense ever, and the five-star, All-American Deshaun Watson throws it to the little short, white, walk-on receiver (Hunter Renfrow) to score the game-winning touchdown. There’s not a better movie-script ending than what happened Monday night.”