PHOENIX — As the national championship game approached, Tampa's John Fruhmorgen kept hearing the same questions from his former teammates.
Would he root for Clemson, where his son Jake plays right tackle? Or would he pull for Alabama, his alma mater?
"Roll Tiger," John Fruhmorgen responded.
But make no mistake. John is pulling for the Tigers and Jake, the former Plant High star.
Jake considered following his father's path to 'Bama, but the four-star recruit fell in love with Clemson. In a way, his father's ties to the Tide helped pull Jake to the Tigers; his father left Alabama just as a receiver named Dabo Swinney came in.
Jake has already start to live up to his recruiting hype, playing 10 games — including the playoff semifinal at the Orange Bowl — and earning his first career start against Wake Forest.
"We never would have thought Jake would be playing in the national championship as a true freshman," said John, a former Miami Dolphins lineman.
But he is. And that has forced the 16 friends and family members expected to watch him tonight at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., to go against a school they still cherish.
"I still have crimson blood running in there," said Jake's grandfather, also named John, "but we're all orange."