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Farewell to Clemson Kicker Greg Huegel

STS takes a moment to remember Greg Huegel and say farewell to the guy Dabo Swinney once called his “grocery store kicker.”

Huegel after a making a FG vs App St in 2016
AP Photo

Greg Huegel walked onto the Clemson football team in the summer of 2015 as a sophomore. He had spent his freshman season watching the Tigers play from the stands with the rest of his classmates, not yet aware of the ride he would take the next few years.

Huegel had originally accepted a walk-on offer at Auburn, but a coaching change caused him to reconsider and he decided to join his sister and enroll at Clemson. It was a decision that had him go from being known as “Ice Cold” at Blythewood for his ability to handle pressure situations, to Dabo Swinney’s “grocery store kicker,” after Swinney joked about him trying out in a Bi-Lo parking lot.

Huegel watched from the stands as a student his freshman year in 2014. In 2015 he got his shot, but with four kickers in camp, he faced the possibility of being a numbers casualty. Ammon Lakip’s arrest and subsequent suspension opened the door for Huegel and he took advantage by beating out Alex Spence and Christian Groomes for the placekicking duties. By the time Lakip made it back from his three game suspension, Huegel had solidified his hold atop the depth chart by going 4-5 on FGA over the first three weeks.

For the 2015 season, Huegel went on to become the first walk-on to earn All-American honors in Clemson history, hitting on 27-32 FG attempts, with the 27 made field goals being tops in the nation. His 138 points set Clemson single season records for overall scoring and kick scoring, breaking CJ Spiller’s overall scoring mark of 128 set in 2009 and Chandler Cantanzaro’s kick scoring record of 118 set in 2011. At one point he hit 16 straight field goals. He earned 2nd team All-American honors from Sports Illustrated, 1st team freshman All-American honors by USA Today, and 2nd team All ACC.

In 2016 he was a Lou Groza Award semifinalist, hitting on 14-19 FGA. He set a Clemson single season record with 71 PATs and finished with 113 points, 5th best in school history. Huegel had 37 touchbacks, which after struggling with kickoffs his first season, was a welcomed improvement. He was named 2nd team All ACC by the coaches and media.

The 2017 season saw more adversity for the kicker, something he was no stranger to. This would be a different kind of adversity however, as Huegel tore his ACL on Sept 20 after having his leg rolled up on during practice. In three games he was 2-4 on FGA and 14-15 on PATs.

Huegel came back in 2018 to hit on 11-16 FGA and 76-78 PAT’s, earning All ACC Honorable Mention. In the season opener against Furman and his first game since the injury, Huegel kicked a 49-yarder, the longest kick of his career. He received a thunderous ovation as the crowd welcomed the kicker back. He scored his 300th point against Georgia Tech, joining Catanzaro, Aaron Hunt, CJ Spiller, Travis Zachery, and Nelson Welch as the only Clemson players to do so. He also became just the seventh player in Clemson history with 50 made field goals.

As the numbers back up, Huegel had himself quite the career. He finished up 54-71 on FG attempts (76.1%) and 217-227 on PATs. He leaves Clemson ranked first in PATs, second in career points (379), and sixth in made field goals (54). He also holds a school record of hitting 5 FG in 5 different bowl games.

He leaves Clemson as a model of consistency and the kind of hardware that would have been hard to imagine while watching games from the stands during his 2014 freshman year. Four ACC Titles, four CFP Playoff appreances, wins in the Orange, Fiesta, and Cotton Bowls, two CFP National Titles, and a Clemson degree. Not bad for a "grocery store kicker."

From all of us here at STS, we want to thank Greg for everything he has given to this program. It has been a pleasure watching you master your craft these last few years, and wherever it is you end up, doing whatever it is you choose to do, we wish you the best. Thank you Greg, rest assured that all your hard work is appreciated.