A few days before the 1982 Hula Bowl, Clemson wide receiver
Perry Tuttle was basking in the Hawaiian sun and the glow of the
Tigers' recent national-championship-clinching win over Nebraska
in the Orange Bowl when USC running back Marcus Allen threw a
magazine on Tuttle's lap and said, "I can't believe a country
boy from Clemson would be on the cover of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED."
Tuttle, a senior All-America from Lexington, N.C., had made the
cover by catching the game-winning touchdown pass in the Tigers'
22-15 victory over the Cornhuskers. That win completed a 12-0
season for Clemson and established Tuttle as a hero forever to
the Tigers faithful, hundreds of whom sent him copies of the
issue to autograph.
In September, Tuttle returned to the spotlight at his alma mater
by joining The Tailgate Show, a radio broadcast during which he
and cohost Whitney Walters patrol the parking lots surrounding
Clemson's stadium in a bright orange golf cart for two hours
before every home game. Says Walters, "Everybody recognizes
Perry, even the youngest kids." Tuttle found himself in
something of an awkward position, however, as Clemson stumbled
to a 3-8 record, its worst in 23 years. "Broadcasting was a
little difficult, because people thought I knew the answers," he
says. "As a former player it really breaks my heart how far
After leading Clemson to its only national title, Tuttle spent
three seasons in the NFL, with the Buffalo Bills, Tampa Bay
Buccaneers and Atlanta Falcons. In 1986 he caught on with the
Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League, and in
six seasons with Winnipeg he caught 321 passes for 5,817 yards
and 41 touchdowns, earning a place in the Blue Bombers' Hall of
Fame. After retiring from the CFL in 1992, Tuttle returned to
North Carolina and started a sports marketing firm. He and his
wife, Loretta, live in Charlotte with their sons Korde, 8, and
Kanyon Maxwell, 18 months, and daughters Karsynn, 6, and Karigan
Rose, 3. A fifth Tuttle, due in May, will be named Kallaway--boy
December 14, 1998
To preserve the memories of his college career for his children,
Perry maintains a treasure chest of items from the 1982 Orange
Bowl. The contents of the box include his jersey, cleats and
mouthpiece; a videotape of the game; a program; and, of course,
a fading copy of a magazine with a country boy from Clemson on
Broadcasting the Tigers' woes this year was tough, he says.
"People thought I knew the answers."