A kickoff return for a touchdown is one of the most exhilarating plays in college football and can change the tide of a game, bolstering an offense without having to run a play from scrimmage.
Clemson fans probably won’t have to worry about that happening to their team for at least the next three years with freshman kicker B.T. Potter, who specializes in pushing the ball deep and through opponents’ end zones.
Last Saturday, in second-ranked Clemson’s win over Furman, Potter kicked off seven times and six of which went through or into the end zone for a touchback. The seventh was a fair catch at the one.
“The game Saturday was great, it felt good to get out there in front of our fans,” Potter said. “Our fans are crazy, I was not expecting it to be like that for a 12:20 game, but it was amazing and will be something I always look back on.”
However, the freshman kicker was thankful Furman won the toss because his nerves were a little high after running down the hill for the first time.
“I was nervous going down the hill, especially for the bump. I tried to go real slow and then the nerves really hit me,” Potter said. “I went to the end zone to go pray and my heart would beat then my eyes went black then it’d stop and my eyes would go white. I’m glad we didn’t have the first kickoff because my heart was rushing a little bit.”
Potter stepped in during an intense kicking battle between veterans Greg Huegel and Alex Spence. Many freshmen cower in the face of such a competition, but he grew immensely from the battle that prepared him to start on the kickoff team.
“It’s a game changer going against an Alex Spence and Greg Huegel every day. It helps me to be a better kicker. I really needed it to help me get ready for college and for my first game,” he said.
When he arrived at Clemson this summer his kickoffs were not where they needed to be, but consistency in the weight room and some personal work throughout the summer have Potter in mid-season form after one game.
“Over the summer I came and worked out by myself because my kickoffs weren’t where I wanted them to be,” he said. “During fall camp everything clicked for me and sense then I’ve kept my muscle memory.”
With one game under his belt Potter will trot out on to the field Saturday night with the same mission at Kyle Field as Clemson travels to face Texas A&M at 7 p.m.
The mission … keep kicking it through the end zone.