The town of Anderson, S.C., is only about a 15 or 20-minute drive to Clemson. NC State redshirt junior receiver Quintin Payton is a product of Anderson's T.L. Hanna High.
Although he noted there is a sizeable South Carolina fan contingency at the school, the town bleeds Clemson orange.
"A majority of my senior class went to Clemson," Payton recalled. "It was kind of split between Clemson and South Carolina, but a majority of them went to Clemson."
Thus Payton, who is enjoying a breakout season for the Wolfpack with 42 catches for 669 yards and a touchdown after making 11 receptions for 145 yards in his first two seasons combined, should see some familiar faces if he gets a chance to glance into the stands.
"It's exciting, just knowing that the crowd is going to be basically mostly people I went to high school with or family and friends watching me play," Payton said, adding that he knows Clemson sophomore receiver Martavis Bryant, another T.L. Hanna product, fairly well.
Despite growing up near Clemson, Payton never developed affinity for the Tigers or its in-state rival South Carolina over the other. He said that he just rooted for both teams. He was also not a frequent visitor for games at Death Valley.
"I made a few, but not too many," he recalled.
Payton though is still more familiar with the gameday atmosphere at Clemson than probably anybody on the Wolfpack roster. If he could describe it in a word: loud.
"You know it's going to be loud Saturday," he said. "They are really into football down at Clemson. You are going to have a hard time hearing the snap count and [quarterback] Mike [Glennon]."
Payton stressed the key for the Wolfpack offense will be to remain focused Saturday. He does not feel any added pressure though to perform in front of friends and family.
"Just trying to go out there and do the same thing I've been doing all season, just know that it's going to be a bigger crowd for this game," he said.
The irony of Saturday is that Payton may have had a chance to be playing on the other sideline. Late during his recruiting process, Payton noted that Clemson started to try to get in the picture.
"By that time I had committed," Payton said.
Thus Payton stuck with his decision to attend NCSU and did not join many of his classmates who were headed to Clemson. Saturday Payton hopes to remind them of his past glories at T.L. Hanna.