Hunter Helms can hardly believe that he will be joining one of the best programs in college football in just a few short weeks.
The talented quarterback from Gray Collegiate Academy in West Columbia, S.C., is set to move into Clemson on June 21. He is heading to campus as a preferred walk-on.
“I get hyped just thinking about it,” Helms told The Clemson Insider. “It really is surreal to be blessed and have this great opportunity. I really can’t thank the coaches enough for believing in me and giving me this chance. I’m just going to put my head down and work as hard as I possibly can to prove them right for giving me this chance, but also to grow and push further.”
Helms chose the PWO offer from Clemson, his dream school, over a full-ride scholarship offer from Jeff Scott and South Florida as well as offers from several other lower-level Division I schools.
As he gets ready to enter into an elite quarterback room at Clemson that includes Trevor Lawrence, DJ Uiagalelei and Taisun Phommachanh, Helms says he is not intimidated but instead simply ready to try to contribute to the unit and the team any way he can.
“Everybody’s been asking if it was a smart decision to go there with it being such a great quarterback room,” Helms said. “And like I’ve said this whole time, I believe it’s the best quarterback room in the country, and I’m just going in there to help as much as I can. I’m going to learn so much from those guys and pushing myself to what I think is the best quarterback in the country in Trevor. Just to learn and just to be with him every day, it’s going to be unreal for selfishly myself. But like I said, I’m just going to go in there and help any way that I possibly can for not only the quarterback room, but the whole team.”
As a senior at Gray Academy last season, Helms was an all-state performer, his Region Player of the Year and the leading passer in the Palmetto State with 4,126 yards and 48 touchdowns with only five interceptions.
For his career, Helms completed 66 percent of his passes for 9,129 yards and 98 touchdowns.
The 6-foot-2, 215-pounder has been working out on his own or with a couple of former high school teammates during the pandemic, following a workout program from Clemson strength and conditioning coach Joey Batson and doing what he can to hone his craft as a quarterback.
“Me and my high school wide receivers, we’ll throw two to three times a week, and Clemson’s gotten me a workout program,” Helms said. “It’s kind of neat how innovative it can be with the videos that Coach Batson will send. But I’m just trying to stay at the top and trying to stay in the best shape I can to get ready for those first few workouts because I know they’re going to be hard, but I can’t wait. I’m looking forward to it.”
Helms is a candidate to eventually be placed on scholarship at Clemson, and while that is something he will certainly work toward, he says it is not his primary focus as he gets ready to join the team next month.
“That’s obviously one of my goals. Why would it not be?” he said. “But the main thing right now that I’m looking at is just to go in there and earn everybody’s respect and work as hard as I possibly can. In my eyes, that’s the way that it should be. Scholarship or not, you just go in there and work as hard as you possibly can because that’s the best way to earn respect anyways.”
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