Clemson’s secret weapon

Clemson’s secret weapon

Football

Clemson’s secret weapon

Last Saturday night in Louisville, Clemson punter Will Spiers had a career night. The redshirt freshman punted four times averaging 51.8 yards per punt with a long of 64 yards.

The 51.8 yards per punt is the first 50+ yard average for a Tiger since Spencer Benton’s three punt 50.0 average in three punts vs Furman in 2012.

Spiers’ ability to flip the field proved to be key in Clemson’s top-15 clashes with Auburn and Louisville. This past week he was named the ACC’s Specialist of the Week and is currently ranked 10th in the country among FBS punters in yards per punt with a 46.5 average.

Of course, you should recognize Spiers’ name. His dad Bill Spiers punted and played baseball for Clemson before being drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers organization in 1987 and then spending more than a decade playing in the Major Leagues.

In January, Dabo Swinney brought Bill on staff through the Tiger Trust program to finish his degree and assist in coaching the Tigers as well.

Will enjoys the benefit of having his dad on staff, “after practice we will work more and he helps me with a lot of advice on punting.”

Bill walked on to the Clemson football team prior to 1986 season when then head coach Danny Ford placed an ad in The Tiger, the Clemson student paper, looking for a punter. Bill answered the ad and eventually won the job.

In his first game as the Tigers’ punter he had a punt blocked in the end zone against Virginia Tech, which led to a Hokies’ touchdown, which turned out to the difference in 20-14 loss that afternoon.

Will, whose Clemson career has gotten off to a much better start, says he and his dad still talk about that game.

“We talk about it and it was only his second punt ever, but we laugh about it now,” he said.

The Tigers finished the 1986 season 8-2-2, while winning the first of three straight ACC Championships and defeating Stanford 27-21 in the Gator Bowl Classic. Bill did not have another punt blocked and went on to have a successful season averaging 39.2 yards a punt with a long of 60 yards.

Swinney sung high praise for the father-son duo in his weekly press conference on Tuesday.

“Bill is a great edition to the program and he is very experienced and a winner,” said Swinney.

Swinney attributes Will’s success to his development over the course of his redshirt season and the summer.

“He became a technical guy and is making a big impact” the Clemson coach said. “When it’s all said and done I think he could be one of the best we have ever had.”

Will looks to continue his early success punting for the Tigers and says it’s a simple as playing his role.

“My job is to give our defense the best chance and to pin them deep” he said.

There is a lot of season to play but Will’s ability to flip the field paired with a top-notch defense spells trouble for Clemson’s opponents in 2017.

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