Clemson University

Clemson football player and artist draws emotional tribute for his 2 late teammates

Clemson football player Xavier Kelly, who has been drawing since he was a child, drew a tribute to two former teammates who passed away in the past year: C.J. Fuller and Tyshon Dye.
Clemson football player Xavier Kelly, who has been drawing since he was a child, drew a tribute to two former teammates who passed away in the past year: C.J. Fuller and Tyshon Dye. Screenshot from Twitter

A Clemson football player known for his hand-drawn portraits channeled his grief over the recent deaths of two former teammates for his latest drawing.

Defensive lineman Xavier Kelly posted a picture to Twitter Wednesday as a tribute to his late Tigers teammates, C.J. Fuller and and Tyshon Dye. It depicts the two players in their orange and white Clemson football uniforms ascending into heaven, walking up a golden staircase toward a bright light and a pair of outreached hands, each holding a football in his hand.

“I got emotional when I drew this one,” Kelly wrote in the post, which includes the hashtags #RIPCJ and #RIPTYSHON.

Fuller, 22, died in October from complications after knee surgery. Dye, 25, drowned last week at a Georgia state park.

Fuller and Dye were running backs for the Tigers, and both played on the 2016 national championship-winning team.

Kelly’s Twitter page is filled with a variety of hand-drawn pictures and portraits, from fellow athletes to a Tiger Twirler holding up flaming batons during a halftime performance to designs for clothing items.

“It was always a hidden talent that nobody really knew about,” Kelly told The Anderson Independent Mail last year. “People that were really close to me knew, but I really didn’t tell a lot of people about it because it was just something I did for fun.”

Teddy Kulmala covers breaking news for The State and covered crime and courts for seven years in Columbia, Rock Hill, Aiken and Lumberton, N.C. He graduated from Clemson University and grew up in Barnwell County.
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