As the Muse family was on its way back to its home in Belmont, North Carolina from a trip to Surfsife Beach after a family vacation this summer, they had to make a special stop.
Nick Muse, the youngest of the two Muse brothers, had announced a couple of weeks before the trip that he was transferring from William & Mary to South Carolina, and the family had to stock up on Gamecocks gear. They went into a store selling South Carolina apparel and loaded up.
Tanner Muse, Nick’s older brother, is a starting safety for Clemson, and his parents Shannon and Kevin have plenty of Tigers attire. But they needed to start adding some USC gear to their wardrobe.
“It was a little odd putting on the garnet and black, but we did it,” Shannon said with a laugh.
There will likely be several moments during this football season that will be a little odd as Shannon and Kevin balance having two sons playing at major rival schools.
“A lot of people judge. They post on social media, ‘Why would his parents let him go to South Carolina?’ But for us it was each of our boys going down the path that they thought was the right fit for them,” Shannon said. “We love the Clemson Tigers. We’re just getting used to the Gamecocks, and everybody’s been so welcoming.”
The biggest challenge for Shannon and Kevin will likely come in November when South Carolina and Clemson meet at Williams-Brice Stadium.
Tanner could have the task of covering Nick, a junior tight end who has six catches for 43 yards for the Gamecocks through two games after being ruled eligible by the NCAA in time to play in Week 2.
“That was the first thing I thought of when Nick chose South Carolina. It’s going to be a dream come true for my boys, but I have to say I’m going to be a basket of nerves,” Shannon said. “But my heart will be so full of pride. We are going to love it.”
But for now the biggest challenge is figuring out which game to attend each week.
Shannon and Kevin were already in their RV heading to Clemson for the Tigers’ Week 2 matchup against Texas A&M when Nick found out he would be eligible to play for South Carolina against Charleston Southern. They ended up watching Nick’s first game with the Gamecocks on TV.
“We had a difficult time with that,” Shannon said. “But both boys are very understanding and just tell us they don’t care. They know we’re going to watch the game, so it is what it is.”
This past weekend Shannon went to Syracuse with some friends to watch Tanner, while Kevin attended the Alabama-South Carolina game.
Nick caught four passes for 21 yards in the loss. Tanner had seven tackles, including two tackles for loss in the victory.
“I got to watch a quarter of his game,” Tanner said. “Super exciting for me to see him because I know what he’s been through and I know what he’s gone through at William & Mary. He just sees what Clemson has done for me, and he hasn’t gotten to experience that. So being where he is now and being in the program and enjoying himself, it just pleases me just to see him happy.”
Both parents will attend South Carolina’s game at Missouri this weekend as Clemson hosts Charlotte, and the family it still ironing out details for the rest of the year.
“We kind of sat down and arranged it by travel wise and which game is going to be more competitive, or is it closer to go to this game and that kind of thing. And of course some of them we’ll divide where one of us will be at each game,” Shannon said. “We’re trying to split it up. We’re in a hard place because this is Tanner’s last year. But then again it’s Nick’s first year playing SEC football.”
Even though it is a bit unusual with the brothers playing at rival schools, Shannon believes they are both where they are supposed to be.
Tanner has a team-high two interceptions through the first three weeks as he comes off of an All-ACC season as a junior, while Nick has landed at a Power 5 program, a lifelong dream of his. Nick wasn’t recruited much coming out of high school as he played at a high school that did not throw the ball much until his senior season. Nick was known more for his defense until that point.
“Sometimes it’s hard to believe. That was their goal and they’ve met it,” Shannon said. “We’re super proud. People ask how we’re going to do the travel and this and that, and I tell them, ‘It’s a good problem to have.’ For me the biggest thing is when you’re a mom you wanna be at both places at the same time and it just doesn’t happen.”
But she will be able to watch both of her sons play on Saturday, Nov. 30 when the Gamecocks host Clemson. There won’t be much love between the two sides that day, but there will be with the Muse family.
“There’s always going to be a Clemson-South Carolina rivalry, but as brothers we don’t have that,” Tanner said. “We’re just good friends and I love him to death and wish him the best.”