Tigers land number one kicker in the nation

by - Senior Writer -
Pinion at the Dabo Swinney football camp last week.

The chance to play early was just too much for Bradley Pinion Bradley Pinion
Punter / Kicker
6-6, 220
Concord, NC

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to pass up.

The Northwest Cabarrus (Concord, N.C.) punter and kickoff specialist became the eighth commitment of the 2012 recruiting class for the Clemson Tigers when he called Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney and told him the good news.

Pinion was offered last week by recruiter Danny Pearman and Swinney after the two coaches watched him punt at Swinney’s football camp, and Pinion said later that it was down to Clemson and North Carolina.

He visited North Carolina yesterday, and said that the two schools were neck and neck, but a dinner with his kicking coach changed everything.

“I was sitting with my coach, Dan Orner, and we were going through everything with both schools,” Pinion told TigerNet. “Then it came down to starting right away, and UNC has a returning punter while Clemson doesn’t really have anybody. I told him that I was leaning toward Clemson at that point.

“He told me he wanted me to make sure that I was thinking clear, and I started telling him everything that I loved about Clemson. He stopped me right there, and he told me I was stupid if I didn’t go there. It just feels right in my heart.”

Pinion said he headed home, but called his mother first, and she begged him to wait until he got home before calling Swinney.

However, he couldn’t wait, and made the call while he was driving.

“I called him, and he said he was at dinner with some people, but he told them he had to take this call because his number one kicker was calling,” Pinion said. “He told me, ‘Tell me some good news please.’ I asked him how his night was, and then I told him I might try and make it a little better. I said ‘Coach, I am a Clemson Tiger.’ He started whooping and hollering and he said people were looking at him funny. But he was happy.”

Pinion said he is on track to graduate in December, and will be on campus in January and will therefore be able to take part in spring practice, which he feels like will give him a “leg up” on the competition and the job.

“To me, that is almost like redshirting right there,” he said. “I can get in there, and get some coaching, and I can get bigger and stronger and get used to being in college. That way when fall practice starts next season, none of it will be new to me.”

He said that beyond the chance to play early, Clemson is just a special place.
“It really goes beyond football,” he said. “Whenever I would tell people that I was being recruited by a school like Clemson, they would tell me how cool that was. Clemson is an amazing place, and I can't wait to get down there.”

Pinion is currently listed as the No. 1 punting prospect in the nation, according to ESPN. He hit a 100-yard kickoff and a 71-yard punt at Kohl's Southern Showcase Camp in windy conditions a few weeks ago, and he showed off his booming leg at Swinney’s camp last week.

2012   F O O T B A L L  C O M M I T S
NamePOSHT, WTHometown (School)
Travis BlanksDB6-1 180Tallahassee, FL (North Florida Christian HS)
Patrick DeStefanoOL 6-4 275Roebuck, SC (Dorman HS)
Ronnie GeohaghanS 6-0 185Fairfax, SC (Allendale Fairfax HS)
Jay Guillermo OL 6-3 285Maryville, TN (Maryville HS)
Germone Hopper ATH 6-0 175Charlotte, NC (Phillip Berry Academy)
Shaquille LawsonDL 6-4 240Central, SC (Daniel HS)
Bradley PinionK6-6 220Concord, NC (Northwest Cabarrus HS)
Cordrea TankersleyATH6-2 195Aiken, SC (Silver Bluff HS)

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