Clemson Player ‘Traumatized’ After Accidentally Burning Down Family’s Home

by Suzanne Halliburton
Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Clemson defensive back Lannden Zanders still is feeling overwhelmed and traumatized days after he accidentally burned down the family home.

Zanders was the only family member in the home when the fire started. His father, Linder, had gone on a beach getaway.

Zanders was at home solely because he was injured and not on the Clemson travel roster for the Tigers road game against Pittsburgh. Earlier that night, he built a fire in a fire pit. That likely caused the house to burn down.

His dad said Lannden woke up when his fan cut off. That’s when he realized the home was burning. The Greenville News reported that the fire department cut the power as the firemen tried to put out the fire. Lannden immediately called his father. It was 4:25 a.m.

“Lannden was crying hysterically,” Lindell told the Greenville News. “He was like, ‘Daddy, the house is on fire. The house is burning down.’ ”

The father tried to calm his son, a junior on the Clemson team.

“He’s taking it hard. He feels like it was his fault,” Lindell said. “I tell him, ‘Son, I don’t care about the house. As long as you’re OK, that’s all that matters to me. I can replace the house. I can’t replace you.’ ”

The Clemson safety posted on Twitter that he was doing OK.

“I am blessed and grateful for the God that I serve,” he wrote. “I am also thankful for everyone that has has reached out with concerns and prayers. Storms don’t last forever.”

But if must seem like a storm has swamped Zanders. He injured his shoulder after only five plays in the season opener for Clemson, which was a loss to now top-ranked Georgia. Coach Dabo Swinney then announced that Zanders needed surgery and would miss the rest of the season.

“That’s going to be a long-term injury,” the Clemson coach said. “I hate that for him. But in the long run, it may be the best thing for him. He can use this as a redshirt year and come back better than ever.”

Zanders suffered a similar injury last year. He also needed shoulder surgery and missed two games.

But 2021 is like no other recent Clemson season. The past two years, the Tigers reached the College Football Playoff, losing to LSU after 2019, then fell to Alabama in the semifinals for 2020.

The Tigers are 4-3 this season, with two losses already in the ACC. The Tigers fell to Pittsburgh, 27-17, last Saturday. And the last time Clemson suffered as many as three losses in a season was way back in 2014. Still, the Tigers won 10 games that season.

But given that Zanders could have died last Saturday, wins and losses don’t seem that relevant.