Every year, the Russell Athletic Bowl treats participating players from each team to a shopping spree as part of their bowl gift, and the hot gadgets of the season fly off the shelves. Oklahoma senior defensive end David Driskill didn’t need a new Xbox One or PlayStation 4, though. He needed a new toothbrush — a Sonicare, to be exact.
“It seemed like a great opportunity to get a nice toothbrush,” Driskill said. “This is a great way to take advantage of buying home appliances and things that you really need for home. This whole trip has been great. It’s been really enjoyable. I’m really thankful for the opportunity to be here. It’s been tremendous to be around all my teammates in this environment.”
But Driskill wasn’t the only Sooner who decided to stray from convention. Redshirt sophomore Riley Nolan liked the Dyson fan that was in his hotel room so much that he used his gift card on that.
“I told my mom that if they had one of the Dyson fans that I’d get it and sure enough they had one so I had to get it,” Nolan said. “I went with the Dyson fan because it was very unique and we have one in our hotel room and it’s helped me get some of the best sleep I’ve ever got.”
As part of the bowl experience each player from the four teams in the two Orlando bowl games receives a $447 gift card to purchase whatever they want at a local retailer in Orlando. On Saturday Oklahoma and Clemson took turns buying gifts that they didn’t get for Christmas. Among the most popular items this year was the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Beats headphones and new smartphones.
“I like this a lot. I like this because you get to pick exactly what you want and you don’t have people choosing the gifts for you,” Nolan said. “This is a very cool dynamic. I’ve never had a shopping spree before.”
Clemson had their fair share of players making unique purchases as well. Long snapper Michael Sobeski used his gift card on a new vacuum.
“I’m getting married in March so I’m starting to move a little more domestic and I felt like we have to have it,” Sobeski said. “I had a hard time wrapping my mind around something that I would only use a couple times when I know there are things that I’ll be able to use for a while.”
Sobeski used the full allotment on his vacuum, but freshman teammate Richard Yergin had a hard time reaching his limit. With a few dollars left at the end of his purchase, Yergin did what any college kid would do, he bought packs of candy.
“The week has been really good but it’s been topped off by this trip to Best Buy. That’s what I’ve been really looking forward to,” Yeargin said. “It’s not everyday you get $450 to spend randomly on whatever you’d like at Best Buy. It’s awesome to have this opportunity. I contemplated everything that I looked at. But once I got here everything fell into place.”