There were reasons Clemson cornerback Chris Chancellor didn't want to stay close to home for college, and they extended beyond his Florida State adoration.
The recurring echoes of gunfire in the neighborhood at night. The fear and frustration wrought from his home in the downtown projects being broken into and vandalized.
"That's why you get out of Miami," Chancellor said Monday.
Chancellor has had his eye on Saturday's homecoming at No. 8 Miami since at least the spring, safety DeAndre McDaniel said, when the 5-foot-9 cornerback began bartering for teammates' tickets.
His enthusiasm was tempered during the weekend, though, when he awoke Sunday morning to phone calls bearing tragic news.
Connecticut cornerback Jasper Howard, a receiver on Chancellor's team at Edison High School in Miami, had died early that morning after being stabbed outside a school dance on campus.
Chancellor received approval Monday morning from coach Dabo Swinney to wear Howard's No. 6 in what he hopes will be a poignant tribute on a favorably memorable afternoon.
"It's been my dream always to play against Miami, and the dream is about to come true," Chancellor said.
Chancellor spent part of his childhood in a rough neighborhood about a 15-minute drive from the Orange Bowl, where Miami once played.
One of seven children raised under less-than-ideal circumstances by his single mother, Chancellor said he is one of the lucky few among his peers who was graced with the chance to make something of himself.
He was the higher-regarded recruit of the brother tandem that signed with Clemson in February 2005.
Running back Demerick Chancellor, older by 11 months, had been pursued by Miami as a safety. But Chris said the Hurricanes lacked interest in him because his Florida State partisanship was well-known.
Chancellor committed to Clemson a month after Demerick, reportedly despite an offer from the Seminoles and his recruiter, current Tigers defensive coordinator Kevin Steele.
"He says we're together again," Chancellor said.
But the college careers of the two brothers could not have taken more divergent paths.
Buried behind James Davis and C.J. Spiller, Demerick transferred toward the end of his redshirt freshman year to North Carolina A&T. He left there last fall intending to enter the NFL draft, instead enrolled last spring at Northwestern Oklahoma State and soon after left there because of the program's probation. He surfaced this season at MidAmerica Nazarene University in Kansas - ranked No. 10 in the NAIA poll - and started the first three games before sustaining a shoulder injury.
Chancellor, meanwhile, has been a fixture in Clemson's secondary, having started 34 consecutive games.
The man-to-man coverage supplied by Chancellor and fellow corner Crezdon Butler is one of the main reasons Clemson ranks seventh nationally in passing yards allowed per game (147.8).
The Tigers' secondary figures to be tested by Miami, which boasts the nation's ninth-most efficient passing attack and an array of blue-chip receiving targets at quarterback Jacory Harris' disposal.
Chancellor has heard as much, to the point he cannot avoid it.
His uncle, Dennis Scott, played center for the Hurricanes from 1994-97 and has given him an earful of trash talk this week. Plus, Chancellor remains tight with his former high school coach, Corey Bell, a former USC cornerback who serves as Miami's director of football operations.
"When I came to Clemson, some of my family switched over, but a lot of them are still, the U this, the U that," Chancellor said.
"Everybody tells me the U is back; speed and talent and all that. I just laugh it off and say, 'Well, prove it on Saturday."