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Clemson Football

Trotter's selection to the Eagles is part of an 'Emotional' journey for his family

May 2, 2024

Jeremiah Trotter Jr. is headed to the Philadelphia Eagles, where his dad, Jeremiah Sr., is in the Hall of Fame. 

The former Clemson Tigers two-time Associated Press All-American (2022, 2023) linebacker was selected 155th overall in the 5th round on Saturday in the 2024 NFL Draft, twenty-six years after Trotter Sr. was taken 72nd overall in the 3rd Round of the 1998 NFL Draft.

"It'd be a great storyline to have another Trotter don the 54 [#54]," Trotter Sr. told NBC 10 Philadelphia's John Clark, who sat down with the Trotters before the draft. "[It] would be crazy. I've been thinking about this for years since he was 10. I just want him to go where God wants him to go."

Well, God chose the Eagles.

"This is gonna sound crazy, but I knew when he was three years old, he was going to play in the NFL. I just seen him run headfirst into the bed, into the door. I said this kid has some toughness and dog in him."

Trotter (6'0, 228), a 2023 Butkus Award Finalist and First Team All-ACC selection, decided to forgo his final year of eligibility after making 88 total tackles, 15 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles last season. He also had two interceptions and returned one for a touchdown against Notre Dame.

The younger Trotter finished his Clemson career credited with 202 tackles, 29.5 tackles for loss, 13 sacks, 13 pass breakups, three forced fumbles, and four interceptions (including two returned for touchdowns) in 1,413 snaps over 39 career games (26 starts) from 2021-23, according to 

The eldest Trotter was a four-time Pro Bowl linebacker and was inducted into the Eagles Hall of Fame on November 28, 2016. He played there from 1998–2001, again from 2004-2006, and lastly in 2009. Trotter Sr. was also a member of the Washington Redskins/Commanders (2002–2003) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2007) during an 11-year career in the NFL. 

"He was a baller who left a legacy but in the NFL. I just filled it," said Trotter Jr. about the Philly legend, who was nicknamed 'The Axe Man' for his signature move after a big play.

"I modeled my game after him. I tried to pull from guys and he was one of the first guys I would watch. Like with the axe chop that was just a testament to him -- to show I appreciate him."

What was the father's reaction to watching his son chop for the first time? 

"Tears," he said. Trotter made his first chop on Oct 22, 2022, to celebrate a big fourth-quarter tackle on Syracuse quarterback Garrett Shrader. The Tigers scored 17 points in that quarter to rally to a 27-21 comeback victory in Death Valley. 

"I was out of the country and watching the game when he did it. It was truly a special moment for me to see him showing homage to his dad. It meant a lot."

Like father like son can be said about their journey to the NFL – Trotter Sr. also left college (Stephen F. Austin) early for the NFL – but also in reference to the origin of the chop. The chop emerged as a tribute to Trotter Sr's late father, Myra, and the days they spent together chopping wood for extra income in their hometown in Hooks, TX.

Myra, 75, died while Trotter Sr was away at rookie mini-camp and therefore never got to see his son play a snap as a pro. 

Trotter pays homage to his father with the chop but his entire final season at Clemson was dedicated to his late mother, Tammi, who lost her battle with cancer at 46 on Feb. 28, 2023. Clark asked Trotter and Trotter Sr., who was married to Tammi for over 20 years, to imagine the Trotter name being called in the draft without Tammi there for the special day. 

“It would definitely be an emotional moment,” said Trotter. “My mom was always up there on my journey with my dad as well.”

“Well, when I look at him I see her because he looks just like his mom," added Trotter Sr. 

It was indeed an emotional occasion. Trotter received the call from the Eagles as he sat in his truck with dad and a few family members at West Virginia University while attending the Mountaineers spring football game to support Josiah, the youngest of the three Trotter children and freshman linebacker for the Mountaineers. 

"My dad shed some tears," Trotter said in his first interview with the Eagles press. "Just super happy, super grateful for the opportunity. It was an emotional moment."

From watching his son play at St. Joseph's Prep (Philadelphia, PA) and Clemson in jersey number 54, everything has been surreal and emotional for Trotter Sr. 

Now, it's Philadelphia where he wore the number and unveiled the axe chop but roles will be reversed. He will be on the sidelines and in the stands watching his son swing the imaginary axe while in the midnight green, silver, black, and white Eagles number 54 jersey at "The Linc" [ Lincoln Financial Field].

And what will that feel like for one of Philly's favorite sons? 

"I'm going to be a mess," Trotter Sr. told Clark of NBC 10 Philadelphia, who also caught up with the pair after the draft. "I'm emotional now just thinking about all that. Just thinking about the 2004 NFC Championship game. He was one year old and I had him in my arms during an interview with Sal Pal [Paolantonio] and just brings back a lot of memories."

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