Silicon Valley internship gives 7 Clemson players something to focus on other than football

May 30, 2017 GMT

CLEMSON — These days, Kelly Bryant is turning his focus toward the same thing the rest of the college football world has its eyes glued to: the quarterback battle at Clemson.

With Deshaun Watson now in the NFL with the Houston Texans, a colossal void is left in the Tigers’ program — one the junior Bryant is hoping to fill on a permanent basis. As it stands now, the 6-3, 215-pound product out of Calhoun Falls is the top contender heading into summer camp. Dabo Swinney announced it via a depth chart last week.

But for at least two weeks this spring, before the intensity really amps up ahead of the preseason, Bryant took a step back from football to try something on the opposite end of the spectrum: an internship with Adobe.

Bryant, along with six other Clemson football players, completed a two-week micro-internship with the Silicon Valley computer software company before returning to campus this month for summer workouts and training.

Joining Bryant in San Jose, Calif., for the program were redshirt junior tight end Milan Richard, redshirt freshman running back Darien Rencher, redshirt sophomore wide receiver Kanyon Tuttle, redshirt junior defensive end Chris Register, junior linebacker J.D. Davis and redshirt senior linebacker Dorian O’Daniel.

The players were set up with the internship through Clemson’s P.A.W. Journey, an initiative that former Clemson linebacker and now assistant athletic director for player relations Jeff Davis founded. Davis is the father of J.D. Davis, who completed the program, and J.D.’s twin brother, Judah, who is also a junior linebacker on the team.

The P.A.W. Journey program stands for “Passionate About Winning” and has a three-part focus on personal growth, life skills and personal development for Clemson football players.

“Clemson was one of the first universities to join our Creative Campus initiative, which promotes digital literacy and creative skills. When we heard about the P.A.W. Journey program, we thought it’d be a great opportunity to provide real-world work experience for these student-athletes,” said Adobe’s senior director of talent selection Rhys Hughes in a statement to the Post and Courier.

“The application process was very competitive—we interviewed over 25 candidates for seven spots.”

Clemson has a creative campus partnership with Adobe and in 2015 the Adobe Digital Studio was launched on campus for students to use Adobe’s Creative Cloud for classes and academic work. The Creative Cloud includes software for video editing, photoshop and graphic design, which have all been utilized by engineering and technology majors, as well as liberal arts majors.

In California, the seven football players got a small snippet of everything before heading back to the gridiron.

“The selected players,” Hughes said, “spent two weeks at our Headquarters in San Jose, Calif. in roles such as Product Marketing, Customer Success, and the Adobe Sales Academy shadowing employees to get a sense of what these roles and the tech industry are all about.”