Potter dishes on graduation, decision to return to Clemson

Potter dishes on graduation, decision to return to Clemson

Football

Potter dishes on graduation, decision to return to Clemson

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One of Clemson’s all-time leading scorers could’ve moved on from college football after this season, but he has some specific reasons for sticking around.

B.T. Potter has already received one degree from Clemson. That happened Thursday when the Tigers’ senior placekicker graduated with a bachelor’s degree in sports communication. 

“It was something I looked forward to when I came to college,” Potter told The Clemson Insider following the school’s morning commencement ceremony inside Littlejohn Coliseum. “Being able to do that, it really means a lot.”

He’ll stick around to earn his master’s and play one more season at Clemson, utilizing the extra year of eligibility the NCAA granted to all fall-sport athletes last year in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Potter made his return for a fifth season official Monday when he visited Clemson coach Dabo Swinney in his office to see if Swinney still had a scholarship for him next season.

“That was one of the few times I’ve been in there, and I was like, ‘Oh no, what’s he going to say?’” Potter said. “But I just went in there and was like, ‘Coach, got a spot for me next year?’ He was said, ‘Yeah, of course.’ He was excited, so that was nice.”

Potter has already established himself as one of the best specialists to ever come through Clemson. The Rock Hill native has racked up 336 career points, surpassing the likes of Chris Gardocki, James Davis and C.J. Spiller this season to move into fourth place on the school’s all-time scoring list. Greg Huegel (379) and Chandler Catanzaro (404) are now the only kickers ahead of him on that list, which is topped by former running back Travis Etienne (468).

Potter has connected on 19 of 23 field goals for an 82.6% conversion rate this season, the highest percentage of his career. Potter, who’s made 11 consecutive field goals, has a chance to add to his numbers in Clemson’s Cheez-It Bowl matchup with Iowa State on Dec. 29 and beyond.

“Definitely thought about (leaving after this season),” Potter said. “Just felt like it was the best decision for me, and I just really love Clemson. I’m not ready to leave. Just to be able to come back for one more year is a blessing.”

Potter said he also took his future beyond next season into consideration as he mulled over his decision the last couple of weeks. He wants a shot at the NFL and ideally would like to get it as a draft pick even if the odds are longer that way. NFL teams don’t spend many draft picks on specialists. Only one kicker, Florida’s Evan McPherson (to the Cincinnati Bengals), was selected in this year’s draft.

Four were drafted in 2020, though it was still a minuscule percentage considering there are more than 250 picks in the seven-round draft. Potter said he felt entering the draft in 2023 rather than next year would improve his odds.

“I’m hoping. That’s the goal,” he said. “I feel like next year I have a better chance of getting drafted, and that kind of went into (my decision). But definitely coming back and setting myself up, getting another degree, that’s big-time.”

Potter said he will begin his graduate coursework in January. If all goes according to plan, he’ll have his master’s degree a year from now. If a playing career beyond college doesn’t pan out, Potter said a future in business or sales could be in the cards, though he has some time to figure it out.

“We’ll see,” he said.

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