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Clemson Spring Primer: Special Teams

A few Tigers seemed to stand out on Special Teams during the annual Orange & White Game

NCAA Football: Clemson Spring Game Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

Field Goal/PAT: Greg Huegel looks to pick up right where he left off as Clemson’s place kicker. Huegel went 2-2 on field goals knocking home a 40-yarder and a 47-yarder to help the Orange team secure a 19-14 win. Huegel was 1-2 on PATs, however that missed PAT came in the 3rd quarter when Christian Wilkins blocked the kick following 14-yard touchdown pass from Tucker Israel to Trevion Thompson.

At back up kicker, Junior Alex Spence was 0-1 on field goals, missing a 44-yarder right before halftime. Spence and Junior Christian Groomes each went 1-1 on PATs for the White team. Greg Huegel will almost certainly keep his starting spot.

Kickoffs: Huegel also had a solid day kicking off for the Orange squad. Huegel averaged 64.2 yards on 5 kickoffs for 321 yards. He had no touchbacks, but also had no kicks go out of bounds. Groomes showed off his leg late in the game with a 65-yard kickoff in the 4th. Spence had two kickoffs for 103 yards. As with place kicking, Huegel should also go into the fall as the starter for Clemson.

Punting: The Tigers face the task of replacing Andy Teasdall at punter for the 2017 season. RS Freshman Will Spiers had the best game of any punter as he punted 9 times for 359 yards and had a long of 59 yards for the white team. Spiers is the son of Clemson two sport hall of famer and current student coach Bill Spiers, who was the starting punter for the Tigers in 1986 and was a standout for the Tigers baseball program.

RS Sophomore Carson King punted 4 times for 135 yards for the Orange team, posting a long of 39 yards. RS Sophomore Michael Batson had 3 punts for 97 yards, with a long of 33. While an official starter probably won’t be named until after fall camp, Spiers definitely looked to take a lead on the getting the job.

Kick Return/Punt Return: Tavien Feaster had a nice day on kick return with 102 yards for the White team. Feaster averaged a cool 25.5 yards per return while showing some nice flashes of speed that may have reminded some fans of Feaster’s number sake, CJ Spiller. Ray Ray McCloud had the second most kick return yards on the day with 66 for the Orange team. McCloud showed off his ability with a nice 48 yard return in the 4th quarter. Cornell Powell had 1 kick return for 20 yards for the white team, while RS Freshman JC Chalk had 1 return for 10 yards. Feaster and McCloud look to be the leaders for the kick return job with CJ Fuller available if they prove unrealiable.

No one had any outstanding moments on punt returns. Feaster led all punt returners with 4 returns for 9 yards. McCloud had 1 return for -2 yards. Hunter Renfrow also got a chance to field punts and had 2 returns for 1 yard. Renfrow did a solid job catching punts, but his first one was a little nerve wracking has he didn’t fair catch and was drilled immediately after catching it. After the past two season’s issues of fumbled punt returns, if Renfrow has the most sure hands, then I’d be okay with him being the punt returner, but he needs to be smart with the fair catches.

Feaster may get the nod at punt returner, depending on his role in the offense. He certainly offers upside in the role. The kick and punt return game could really give him a good opportunity to contribute while being a back-up at running back.