the study of all things kicker related

Friday, January 30, 2015

Clemson Tigers Kicker, Punter & Snapper News

January 30, 2015 - long snapper Austin Spence commits
"Clemson has received a commitment from long snapper Austin Spence as a preferred 2015 walk-on according to his twitter account.  He is the brother of Clemson freshman kicker Alex Spence." - TigerNet

October 26, 2014 - Ammon Lakip & Bradley Pinion
"Using a home-stand to warm up, Ammon Lakip has hit 10 of his last 11 field goals. Saturday, his makes were Clemson’s only offense for three quarters to take a 9-6 lead on Syracuse. He’s hit 13-of-14 tries in Death Valley this season, with a long of 45 (Louisville, UNC). 'Starting the season, I guess you could consider these first three games my freshman season, in my eyes,' Lakip said. 'After those three games, I made a decision to fulfill my potential and I couldn’t have done it without my awesome specialists, my holder, my snapper and protection. Just my team in general. They’re there for me through thick and thin. That’s what a team is about'.... While he's had a touchback each of his last two games (first of his career), Bradley Pinion is averaging a career-high in ratio of kicks inside the 20 (43 percent). Three of his six kicks pinned Syracuse toward their goalline, averaging 41.2 per punt with zero Orange punt return yards. The Orange averaged a start at their 23 after Pinion punts." - Independent Mail

September 29, 2014 - Ammon Lakip bounces back
"Lakip told the media after Clemson’s 50-35 victory over North Carolina Saturday night that he never lost confidence in himself, but he needed to prove that he could get the job done. 'Bradley and I pushed each other this week,' Lakip said after the game. 'On field goals, he was nipping at my heels. That's what it should be like. I think that and the support of my team and everyone else around me helped me overcome the struggle from Saturday night. I knew the war wasn't over Saturday night, contrary to some people's beliefs. I know myself and I love myself no matter what. You just have to pick yourself up and move on.' Luckily, Lakip was able to get advice from one of Clemson’s greatest kickers of all time in current Arizona Cardinal kicker Chandler Catanzaro, whose career just happened to start in similar fashion with misses in overtime at Auburn and late in the game at Florida State in 2010. 'He [Catanzaro] was at practice on Thursday,' Lakip said. 'We talked for a little bit. He just told me, 'You're on an island out there. You can't control what the fans or anyone else says. You can't control if you're not the starter on Saturday. You just have to work and trust in your process.' That's what I did.' Lakip took Catanzaro’s advice and came back with his strongest outing of the season, making all of his extra points and both of his field goal attempts – a 27-yarder and 45-yarder – in Clemson’s 50-point outburst Saturday." - TigerNet

September 25, 2014- kicking competition
"There has been open competition this week, with starting junior punter Bradley Pinion (listed all season as the backup kicker) and freshman Alex Spence getting an opportunity. 'I’m dressing them all,' coach Swinney told reporters after Wednesday night’s practice, even joking he might use 340-pound offensive lineman Kalon Davis, a former high school soccer player. 'I’m going to find someone who will go out there and do the job for us. I’m really proud of Ammon [Lakip], he showed some mental toughness this week and has responded really well. Pinion is chomping at the bit, he’s out there competing, and young Alex Spence looks like a different guy than he did in fall camp, so we’ve got some good things going on and we’ll get it all worked out.' Pinion, the team’s kickoff specialist and a highly-regarded kicker in high school, has never attempted a college field goal while Spence was a Shrine Bowler last year from West Florence ranked the 34th best kicker in the nation by" - Go Upstate

September 21, 2014 - coach discusses kicking situation
"Dabo Swinney said after the Florida State game that all options are on the table for the kicking position, including pulling a redshirt off of Alex Spence. On Ammon Lakip, 'let's don't throw him away just yet. Let's learn from past experiences like Catanzaro. He's headed to the All-Rookie team in the NFL right now.' When we lost here in 2010, he could not make a kick." Lakip is 4 for 7 on field goals in 2014." - TigerNet

September 2, 2014 - no kicker change
"Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney asserted that he would not overreact from the litany of mistakes his team committed during Saturday's loss at Georgia. That included the 34-yard field goal attempt Ammon Lakip shanked in his first start at place-kicker. Lakip pushed the kick wide left from the left hash with 48 seconds remaining in the second quarter. That yielded a 21-21 tie at halftime. Clemson did not drive within field goal range through the remainder of the game. Swinney said, if they had, he would not have hesitated to send Lakip back on the field. 'It's still his job. It's one miss,' Swinney said. 'He's 0-for-1. If he's 0-for for a while, then we've got issues. But I'm not going to fire a guy because he's 0-for-1.' Lakip converted all three of the extra points he attempted Saturday." - Greenville Online

July 28, 2014 - kicking replacement
"That’s the one position that I’m the most anxious to see perform in fall camp,' Dabo Swinney said. 'I have less knowledge. I know what I’ve seen in practice and know what Ammon Lakip has done in practice. But I’ve seen Cole Stoudt and have a much better understanding of what he is and seen him a lot on gameday. Ammon, I have no idea what to expect'.... Clemson special teams coordinator Danny Pearman has had an up-close view of Lakip’s development as a Tiger, as well as how he watched his predecessor grow. 'He’s gifted athletically,' Pearman said. 'He can strike the ball extremely well. His biggest attribute is confidence and he had a great mentor in Chandler. He saw Chandler’s work ethic and saw Chandler work before games. Saw Chandler at his highest highs after making kicks and saw Chandler at his lowest lows of missing kicks – and the reactions of each. He has to be his own self and develop his own demeanor.' Pearman saw that confidence produce results in the spring. '(Lakip) is someone who plays within himself and (struck) the ball well this spring, that’s the only litmus test so far,' said Pearman. 'He showed this spring what he can do and taken the challenge and run with it. Hopefully he can continue that. (Freshman) Alex Spence will come in and compete with him and competition will be the best for our football team. If (Lakip) can do anything close to what Catman did for us, it will be an added bonus'." - Orange and White

July 7, 2014 - the specialists
"Kicker Ammon Lakip will step up to the starting position this season after spending two seasons as Catanzaro’s backup kicker. Rivals ranked Lakip as the #7 placekicker in the nation before he came to Clemson, but he took a redshirt year when he first arrived in 2011. Although the team lost their standout kicker, Lakip has some game playing experience and has been training under Catanzaro for the past few years.... Bradley Pinion will remain as Clemson’s starting punter for the 2014 season. Pinion has had much success in his short time at Clemson. His 27 punts inside the 20 yard line ties for the most in Clemson history, and he will only be a junior. He has been steadily averaging 39.4-yard punts over the past two years and had one punt over 50 yards in 2012. With Pinion as the kick off specialist as well, he will be one of the most valuable assets of the special teams....  Dorman High School must have sent Clemson their entire special teams as that is where long snapper starter Michael Sobeski and fellow teammates Peake and Humphries all reside from. Sobeski was originally a walk-on and has been one of the leading long snappers at Clemson for the past couple of years. He has been the long snapper for almost every placekick for his last three years at Clemson and will continue to be the starting long snapper this season." - isportsweb

April 20, 2014 - kicker Ammon Lakip
Lakip responded with an outstanding spring, and he said he feels comfortable with his snapper and holder. 'First off, it starts with the battery. Sobie (snapper Michael Sobeski) and (holder) Corbin (Jenkins) are awesome,' he said. 'It’s like they just pop it to you every time. It’s just been my mindset to come out at every practice and provide focus and intensity. It’s hard during the off-season when you’re not kicking in real games and there isn’t real pressure. You get lackadaisical with your technique, so I’ve been working on that and just making sure it’s a good ball every time'. Lakip won the starting job in spring practice, and now he can dream about the future. 'I go to bed dreaming about game-winning kicks in Sanford Stadium all the time,' Lakip said. 'Obviously I dream about game-winners in every stadium, even here. It’s not going to be much of a homecoming [season opener at Georgia] because I didn’t get offered there. A couple of my friends go there, but I am just looking forward to getting out there and contributing again'.” - TigerNet

March 28, 2014 - kicker Ammon Lakip a bright spot
“We just lost one of the best kickers in the history of the school, maybe the best in Catanzaro,' Swinney said before spring practices started. 'That right there is the question.' Ammon Lakip has booted an answer right to him. Through the first five spring practices, Lakip missed just one kick, and that was from 53 yards. He then rallied and made the next attempt. Following the last practice before spring break, Swinney said Lakip 'has been outstanding. We all know how critical that position is,' Swinney said. 'If I had to call out a bright spot so far, it would be Ammon'." - ESPN

February 4, 2014 -  kicker Alex Spence to sign as preferred walk-on
The Florence (SC) West Florence kicker committed to the Tigers last summer, and will compete this fall for the starting spot vacated by Chandler Catanzaro, all while paying his own way as the coaches wait for a scholarship spot to open. When Spence first committed to the Tigers, the coaches were up front with him about the possibility of having to gray shirt or accepted a preferred walk-on spot for a semester. And, in true team player fashion Spence was willing to work with the coaches. 'It's really exciting that National Signing day is finally here,' Spence told TigerNet Tuesday morning. 'I actually just got some good news about the Signing Day situation. When I committed in June they told me up front, 'We have a small class right now and we are going to offer you a scholarship, but if we over-sign you will have have to wait until January to get your scholarship.' I told them that was fine. They've gotten a few guys lately and they've had a few key guys decide to stay.' With late additions to Clemson’s 2014 class, Spence had a choice to make: accept a gray shirt offer and enroll next January or pay his own way for a semester and compete for a starting job in the fall. 'They came to my house last Thursday and told me that I'd have two choices: I could sign the scholarship papers like I'm going on scholarship and then I'd have to gray shirt until January or I could sign as a preferred walk-on and be able to enroll in June and compete for the starting job,' Spence said. 'I told them that I wanted to start in June. I also have enough academic money from scholarships and stuff to be able to pay for the first semester, so it really isn't too big of a deal'." - TigerNet

January 26, 2014 - kicker Christian Groomes accepts preferred walk-on
"Chandler Catanzaro turned a preferred walk-on offer into a scholarship and an outstanding four-year career at Clemson, and former Daniel High kicker Christian Groomes hopes to follow in Catanzaro’s footsteps.... Groomes then happened to see Coach Swinney at the Daniel-BHP junior varsity contest in late October, and once the game was over, Groomes approached Clemson’s head coach to see if the walk-on offer was still on the table. It was. 'He told me he would love to see me come in and compete for a spot,' Groomes said. 'And even though I don’t punt a lot, he told me he liked the fact that I am a left-footed kicker. He told me he likes lefty punters, because of the different spin they put on the ball.'...  Groomes took an official visit to Clemson this past weekend, and he said the message from the Clemson coaches centered on family and work. 'They told me it is a family atmosphere there,' he said. 'They also told me that they are going to play the best kicker next season. I know they have one kicker returning, and another kicker from West Florence who has a scholarship. But they told me that if I come in and work hard and deserve to play, they will play the best kicker. That’s all you can ask for.' Groomes, who hit 14-of-22 field goals for the Lions this past season, said he has heard from other programs but wants to call Clemson home." - TigerNet

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