Spiers enjoying time at quarterback, too

Spiers enjoying time at quarterback, too

Football

Spiers enjoying time at quarterback, too

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Will Spiers’ biggest asset is his leg as Clemson’s starting punter, but recently, the Tigers have asked him to use his arm a little bit as well.

Through the first few days of spring practice, Spiers has been working with Trevor Lawrence, Taisun Phommachanh and D.J. Uiagalelei as Clemson’s fourth quarterback, with Chace Brice having transferred to Duke and walk-on quarterback Patrick McClure limited in practice due to an injury.

“They just needed a fourth arm,” Spiers explained. “I just go out there and the receivers running routes, so I’m the fourth arm to throw to them.”

The coaches let Spiers know ahead of time that his services would be needed at quarterback in spring practice, so the fifth-year senior specialist came in ready for the side job.

“I was told probably two or three weeks before spring ball started,” he said. “I knew a little bit in advance, so I was preparing in my mind and a couple times went out and threw on our own. So, it’s been fun, though.”

Spiers is known for his ability to boot the ball, having averaged nearly 41 yards on 184 career punts in 44 career games, all starts.

The lesser-known fact about Spiers is he was a three-year starting quarterback in high school at Calhoun Academy in St. Matthews, S.C., and actually threw the ball around a good bit back then.

“I played sophomore, junior and senior year at my high school,” he said. “Especially my senior year, we passed a little bit more. But it was pretty balanced with run and pass.”

Spiers believes he is doing a decent job in practice while chucking passes to Clemson’s talented wideouts, and he is enjoying the opportunity.

“You know, I feel pretty good,” he said, laughing. “I mean, there’s no pressure for me. I just have to go out there and have fun with it. So, it’s been good and it’s awesome getting to throw to the receivers that we have.”

Spiers is even starting to familiarize himself with the plays on offense and get a grasp of the route combinations.

“Just the different routes and stuff that come in the certain play that’s called, just trying to keep up with all that,” he said. “It’s difficult, but I’m slowly learning as it goes.”

Lawrence and the other quarterbacks have given Spiers some tips to help him out.

“He’s always out there helping me,” Spiers said. “If I have a question about the defensive look or whatever, he — all three of the guys have been there helping me.”

As you may recall, Spiers has gotten a chance to show off his arm in game action during his Clemson career. Late in the second quarter of the Tigers’ game against Wake Forest at Death Valley in October 2017, with Clemson leading 14-0, Spiers converted a fake-punt attempt with a 5-yard completion to Cornell Powell for a first down in an eventual 28-14 win.

After reminding Clemson’s staff of his throwing ability over the first few days of spring practice, Spiers would love to have another chance to use his arm on special teams in his final season as a Tiger in 2020.

“I hope so. That’d be pretty cool,” he said with a smile. “Now that they see that I can throw a little bit, maybe we will.”

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