After stellar freshman and sophomore seasons, earning him All-ACC and All-America honors, Greg Huegel was poised to keep the momentum rolling.
He jumped out to a solid start going two-for-four on field goals and 14-of-15 on extra points in his first three games, before tearing his ACL in practice the week leading up to the Boston College game.
The injury forced Clemson to call on Alex Spence, having never kicked a field goal in his three years on the team, who after starting two-for-six in his first four games rebounded and converted on seven of his last eight field goals, missing just two PATs.
After a long rehab process Huegel is back in the competition for kicker and after Clemson’s situational scrimmage at Death Valley Tuesday, Head Coach Dabo Swinney gives a slight edge in the kicking battle to the redshirt senior.
Huegel is a little ahead but the battle is still very competitive,” Swinney said. We give a grade for every play as well as a cumulative grade for the day and whoever has the best grade it means you earned it in practice.”
There was a lot of concern that the injury and rehab process would mess with Huegel’s mechanics or set him back in his development. However, after the almost two weeks of fall camp Swinney says it’s the same old Greg.
“I can’t even tell he had an injury, he’s back and they may have put a rubber band in there. He has some really good pop and actually hit a 50+ yard field goal in practice,” he said. “I am very pleased with what I’ve seen so far.”
While Huegel is ahead of Spence in the depth chart after the situational scrimmage Swinney knows that a lot can happen between now and September first when the Tigers kickoff against Furman in Memorial Stadium.
“If we played today he would run out there first but we don’t, and he has a couple of weeks to go,” he said. “If he starts shanking it then Spence could pass him up, but right now Huegel is kicking 80 something percent and Spence is around the upper 70s, so I give Greg the edge.”
The only thing Huegel has been limited in is kickoffs and Swinney is interested to see what happens when he is given the greenlight to participate in kickoff team but as for now Huegel is settling back into his old roll as the starting place kicker.