Clemson fans were lined up before dawn waiting to get into Death Valley to honor their national champions. 

The Tigers defeated No. 1 Alabama 35-31 on Monday night to win their first national championship in 35 years. And thousands filled the stadium while it was still dark some three hours before the title parade was scheduled to arrive. 

Joel Wash, a longtime fan from Saluda, South Carolina, said he and 2-year-old son Garner were up at about 5 a.m, to make sure they were in place to watch. 

Wash's father was a Clemson graduate and got his son hooked on the Tigers. 

"This was the only place I was going to be today," Wash said. 

Fans watched a replay of the national title game on Clemson's large video board on the South End and two smaller screens attached to the West Zone. 

They booed when Alabama made a play like O.J. Howard's third-quarter TD catch that put the Crimson Tide up 24-14 and screamed in delight when Clemson responded, especially on Deshaun Watson's 2-yard touchdown throw to Hunter Renfrow with a second left for the winning points. 

The parade through town will end at the field before a ceremony inside the stadium takes place.