Former Arizona St. kicker transferring, visits Clemson Thursday

by - Senior Writer -

CLEMSON – The Clemson Tigers are in the running for another kicker, this one a transfer from Arizona St. who just happens to call North Carolina home.

Will Roper, a 2009 graduate of Hendersonville (NC) High School, was a walk-on for the Sun Devils last season, but the kicker with the big leg has said he wants to play football in the South again and was on campus in Clemson Thursday to look over the school and the football facilities.

“I wanted to come back and play at a southern school,” Roper told TigerNet Thursday afternoon as he was leaving campus. “All of the coaches at Clemson are really straightforward, and they were honest with me. The coaches at Arizona really brushed me off. The Clemson coaches talked to me for about an hour, and they showed me the facilities and that meant a lot to me. I like the sense of pride they have and the sense of pride they have in the community.”

He played one season at North Carolina Tech [prep school], where he booted a 44-yard field goal in the closing seconds against Fork Union to give Tech the national title. The Fork Union coach called timeout twice to ice Roper, who still nailed the game-winner with plenty to spare to win the Post Grad National Championship.

Following that, he decided to weigh his college choices and chose the Sun Devils.

“I wanted to get out of state, and I was interested in the west coast because that was all new to me,” he said. “Long story short, my mom and dad went out there on a second honeymoon, and they dropped off my highlight tape with the coaches and they liked it. That is why I went there.”

He red-shirted last season, and decided that the cost of travel made it imperative he play closer to home.

“It was just basically too far away,” he said. “You add up the cost of flying to come home twice or three times a semester, and it ran into a lot of money. And, my parents didn’t want me out there. That is really the main reason why. I was on the team, and I really concentrated on my grades so I could transfer closer to home. I would walk-on at Clemson and they try and earn a scholarship. I love Clemson, and if I can afford it then Clemson would definitely be one of my top choices.”

Clemson is one of four programs he is considering.

“I am considering LSU, South Carolina, Ole Miss and Clemson,” he said. “Hopefully I can make a decision by the end of next month. But, if I get into Clemson, they are going to be the top choice, obviously. The coaches have told me I can come in and practice with the team. I would have to sit out this season, but I feel like I could compete for a starting job starting next spring.”

Roper, who also punts, said that kickoffs and his consistency are what set him apart.

“I feel like kickoffs are one of my strongest suits,” he said. “I can hit them out of the endzone from the thirty-yard line. I have nailed 63-yard field goals in practice, but the best thing I can say is that I have never, ever missed a clutch kick. I consider myself a pretty consistent kicker.”

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