Grocery store kicker making a name in camp


by - Senior Writer -
Alex Spence leads after camp's first four days
Alex Spence leads after camp's first four days

CLEMSON – Clemson has recruited some of the nation’s best football players over the years, but there are times when you find someone in the unlikeliest of places.

Walk-on kicker Greg HuegelGreg Huegel
Fr. Punter / Kicker
#92 5-11, 180
Blythewood, SC

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has been impressive during fall camp’s first week, a player that was turned away last season but has come back and made the race to be the Tigers’ starting placekicker on Sept. 5th a three-way race with Alex SpenceAlex Spence
RS Fr. Kicker
#47 6-2, 190
Florence, SC

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and Christian GroomesChristian Groomes
RS Fr. Punter / Kicker
#39 5-9, 190
Central, SC

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.

Friday’s practice ended with the kickers completely surrounded by the entire team, with all of the players and coaches yelling and screaming and jumping up and down. Spence made field goals of 38 and 43 yards while Huegel matched him kick for kick. Huegel has shown a big leg during the first week.

Swinney joked to the media that Huegel came from a tryout in a grocery store parking lot.

“We picked him up at the grocery store. We had a tryout at Bi-Lo in the parking lot, and he kicked the beer can the longest so we said we'd bring him on out,” Swinney said after Friday’s practice. “Nah, he actually was a kid that came out last year and we didn't have a spot. So we had him on our radar, and we brought him back out this spring and put him down to bring him out in the fall. He did a great job in the tryout, and he was one guy we said we would bring out when fall camp gets here. I wasn't sure he was going to be in the 105 [the total number of players on the roster] until the situation with Ammon (Lakip), but he's done a nice job.”

Swinney said that Spence holds the lead after the first four days of camp.

“Alex is out front. Every kick matters. His percentage is just a hair higher than Huegel's, and then Groomes is third after four days,” he said. “That is all you can really go on. Same snapper, same holder, trying to keep all that consistent so we can get a true competition. It's going to be a day-to-day battle, and so every kick matters. Whoever comes out with the best camp is going to run out there first as far as field goals. Now kickoffs, we haven't really gotten into that yet. We've installed our kickoff, but now we have to put it all together next week.”

Other notes

Injuries

“We've got a few guys banged up. Kendall JosephKendall Joseph
RS Fr. Linebacker
#34 5-11, 225
Belton, SC

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has an AC sprain and has been kind of nursing that. Zac (Brooks) has a bruise on the bottom of his heel. Ryan NortonRyan Norton
RS Sr. Offensive Line
#58 6-3, 285
Simpsonville, SC

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has a concussion and will be out until they clear him. Right now I am pleased with the amount of knowledge they have been grabbing onto and it's been pretty clean execution for the amount of stuff we've been putting in.”

T.J. GreenT.J. Green
Jr. Safety
#15 6-3, 205
Sylacauga, AL

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“He is just dialed in. He is a guy that has put the work in. When you have great talent and great work ethic and add knowledge, you will get a good result. He came here with talent and now he has the knowledge. He's poised to have a great year for us, and we need him to.”

Camp’s first four days

“I don’t know what day it is and I don’t think our players do either. We have their attention all day every day from August 4th until the start of school on August 19th, and I have been very pleased with their focus. We are in a good spot right now. The players have bought into the work, and they have responded so far. It has been four tough days of practice, but they have responded.”

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