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      Smith ready to create own legacy at Clemson

      COLUMBIA (WACH)- Hammond tight end Cannon Smith is gearing up for his college career at a very familiar place.

      Smith's dad, Bill, was a starting defensive end for Clemson during their 1981 national championship run, and now Cannon will follow in his father's footsteps to play in the orange and white.

      "I know my dad had a great career at Clemson, but I'm ready to become the player I know I can be," Smith said.

      Bill couldn't agree more.

      "He needed to do it for himself," Smith said. "Not because I did it, but because he loved the game, too. This was a dream of his."

      Bill's dream of becoming a national championship almost didn't happen. Heading into his junior season in 1979, a knee injury ended Smith's season and he took a medical redshirt that gave him two more years of eligibility.

      "I was laying in the hospital bed with a cast on my leg and my dad told me something good would come of it," Smith said.

      Two years later, Smith was a part of Clemson's only national championship. Now, father is sharing with son that sitting out a year may not be a bad thing.

      "Some kids need the extra year," Smith said. "If he is redshirted, it's not a bad thing at all."

      And Cannon agrees.

      "It could be a blessing in disguise," Smith said.