The number four jersey was once retired by Clemson then Deshaun Watson came along. The number was retired to honor former Clemson quarterback Steve Fuller. He was an All-American quarterback at Clemson from 1975-78.
According to Clemson Athletics, the number was retired during the 1979 Spring Game and went into the Ring of Honor in 1994. Watson had wanted to wear the number he wore in high school but found out it was retired. Clemson coach Dabo Swinney had an idea as Watson explained to ESPN.
“He [Swinney] said, ‘How do you want to wear No. 4?’ “I said, ‘I can’t I thought it was retired.’ And he’s said he talked to Steve and they went to dinner and he said it would be a great idea so I was excited for it and pretty honored that he was going to let me wear his number,” Watson told ESPN.
With Fuller’s blessing, Watson was able to bring the number four jersey out of retirement. Clemson decided to add the Fuller patch on the jersey to continue to honor Fuller’s legacy at Clemson.
Fuller was completely on board with the decision as he explained to Greenville Online.
“Deshaun called me once the decision was made, before I had met him in person, and we had a really nice conversation. I told him I was proud that he was going to wear the number and represent it well, and he promised he would. I told him to go to class and stay out of trouble. He’s exceeded that and then some,” Fuller explained to Greenville Online.
Expect the number to go back into retirement after the 2017 National Championship Game and Watson leaves for the NFL.