One of the best highlights of IMG Academy’s season opener versus Carol City on Friday night was provided by a kicker/punter prospect that Clemson hopes to land.
Class of 2019 specialist Aidan Swanson executed a fake punt to perfection, tossing a 49-yard touchdown pass in the first half that gave IMG a seven-point lead it wouldn’t relinquish in an eventual 41-22 win.
The Clemson Insider was on location at IMG Academy for two days this week to start our Tour of Champions series, and caught up with Swanson after his team’s victory.
“We installed it like two weeks before this game,” Swanson said of the trick play. “We’ve done it almost every day in practice and I’ve always thrown it perfectly, and I did it tonight.”
Swanson knew he would hit his target when the ball left his hand. He just didn’t know it would result in a score.
“I knew they were all blitzing, so I knew he would be wide open,” he said. “I just didn’t know he would take it all the way.”
Swanson (6-2, 165) showed off his arm, but his left leg was even more impressive as he punted well and consistently booted balls deep into the end zone on kickoffs.
It was easy to see why Swanson owns a preferred walk-on offer from Clemson. He received the opportunity following his standout showing at the Dabo Swinney Camp in June.
It was the second year in a row that Swanson has participated in the Swinney Camp.
“My mind was blown,” Swanson said of getting the offer. “It was awesome. I love Clemson. I love the fan base. It’s like a family there. It was just a great time.”
Swinney himself informed Swanson of his opportunity to play at Clemson.
“He said he liked a lefty, lanky punter, and he liked how the ball turned,” Swanson said. “I think he’s the best coach in the nation right now. I think anyone would want to go play for him, and I do, for sure.”
Swanson grew up a fan of the Tigers. His mother is a Clemson graduate.
“I’ve watched Clemson since I was like six years old,” Swanson said. “My mom went there. I’m a Clemson fan at heart.”
Swanson has family members from South Carolina. His grandparents live in Greer, while his aunt and uncle reside in Spartanburg.
The Swansons usually visit Tiger Town during trips to the Palmetto State.
“We’ll visit almost every year, and she’ll take me through all the stuff she would do,” Swanson said of his mom. “The campus has changed a lot, but she still shows me around.”
Swanson also has a full scholarship offer from Central Florida, while Florida State and Virginia Tech are among other schools showing interest.
Swanson attended Jesuit High in Tampa, Fla., before transferring to IMG ahead of his junior year.
“It’s second to none,” Swanson said of his new school. “It’s the best in the business. Training, all that just gets you prepared for the next level.”
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