Clemson University

Nikki Haley among a who’s who of Clemson alums at college football championship game

Clemson arrives at the national championship

See Dabo Swinney and the Clemson University football team arrive at the national championship.
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See Dabo Swinney and the Clemson University football team arrive at the national championship.

Although the College Football Playoff championship game was played more than 2,500 miles from South Carolina, it didn’t prevent a strong turnout from Clemson fans.

That fan base at Levi Stadium in Santa Clara, California that saw Clemson’s 44-16 win included some well-know Tigers supporters.

Chief among them was Clemson alum Nikki Haley. The former South Carolina Governor, who recently stepped down as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, was spotted on the sidelines during the pregame warmups.

Before she left the Governor’s Mansion in 2017, Haley commemorated Clemson’s football championship by raising the school flag over the State House and declaring a state holiday to coincide with the Tigers’ victory parade, The State reported. She also delivered the commencement address at Clemson’s graduation in May 2018.

Haley’s daughter Rena is currently a student at Clemson, The State previously reported. Monday, Rena tweeted she’s “ALLIN with Clemson!

Fans at Clemson react to the team's 44-16 victory over Alabama at the college football national championship at Santa Clara January 7, 2019.

Haley was not the only notable Clemson alum on hand to watch the Tigers play the Crimson Tide.

Deshaun Watson, the player who led Clemson to a title in 2016 with a last-second win over Alabama, was seen at the game. Watson, who is currently the quarterback for the Houston Texans, was joined by NFL teammate and another former Tiger great Deandre Hopkins Monday at the home stadium of the San Francisco 49ers.

The quarterback who led Clemson to bowl wins before Watson, Tajh Boyd was at the game, as well as running back C.J. Spiller, one of the most dynamic players in Clemson football history.

Although she was not at the big game, Clemson alum Nancy O’Dell represented he Tiger pride for the whole world to see. O’Dell is one of the anchors on “Entertainment Tonight,” and Monday she wore a purple scarf adorned with orange tiger paws.

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Noah Feit is a Real Time reporter with The State and McClatchy Carolinas Regional Team. The award-winning journalist has worked for multiple newspapers since starting his career in 1999.