Will Jack Smith push Aidan Swanson for the Clemson Football starting punter job?
Swanson punted the ball 62 times last season and averaged 42.3 yards per punt. That’s not bad, but it only ranked 70th in the FCS in 2022. The best average per punt was 49.0 by Bryce Baringer of Michigan State.
2022 was Swanson’s first as the starting punter, so he would likely improve that average this season. The good news is that he isn’t the only scholarship punter on the roster.
Smith was a member of the 2022 class, and he measures in at 6’-5” and 230. If one didn’t know better, they might assume he was a linebacker prospect at that size.
A few observers noted that he had some huge kicks last fall that showed how big of a leg he had. While Swanson won the competition, it was generally assumed Smith just needed some time to become more consistent.
Swanson is the incumbent, and that gives him an advantage, but that doesn’t mean Smith won’t have a chance to compete with him in camp. If Smith can harness his power and becomes more consistent with his placement, he could have a chance to overtake Swanson.
As we have learned with some other positions in the last couple of years, having someone compete and push the starter in camp is usually a good thing. Regardless of who wins the starting punting job, we should see improvement.
We just might not see it for a while. The public was allowed to see the beginning of the punting competition last year and it was a little bit of a circus, so the competition this fall might be kept behind closed doors.