Ben Batson, Clemson’s Swiss Army Knife (former 3rd string QB, current safety) called it a career last week after suffering his 6th documented concussion.
This article is a little late. His retirement slipped past my Clemson filter last week. To be fair, aliens coming to earth and teaching us how to breathe under water may have also slipped past unnoticed in the the maelstrom of 2020.
Batson, the Daniel High School and Dorman High School product (3 years at Daniel, Senior year at Dorman) was a beast in high school. After transferring from Daniel to Dorman for his senior season, Batson set the upstate high school football world on fire. He rushed for 1,201 yards and 13 touchdowns and threw for 1,792 yards and 13 touchdowns and led the Cavaliers to a 12-3 record. I’m going to consider him Dorman’s Woody Dantzler.
During his 2018 redshirt season Batson made two appearances, taking a hand-off against Wake for 4 yards and pounding straight ahead against Florida State for 2 yards.
Last season Batson made the most of his 11 offensive snaps, rushing for 5 yards against Charlotte, rushing for 10 yards and completing his only pass against B.C., and victimizing Wake for another 5 punishing yards. He also contributed on special teams in several games.
This season, with the quarterback position reinforced, Batson was slated to transition to safety. At an athletic 6’1, 210 pounds, it wouldn’t have surprised me one bit if Batson ended up contributing in the back end of the Tigers defense at some point in his career. He was already seeing the field as a special teams contributor as a redshirt freshman.
Ben, unfortunately, will never get the chance to pick off an Ohio State pass because of accumulated concussions. Sports are amazing, but remembering your name into your 50’s is more amazing. You only get one brain, and once it is broken there isn’t much you can do about it. In this case, discretion is the better part of valor, although I’m sure it was an agonizing decision.
I’m sure you’ll still see Ben around the program. His father is some guy named Joey who helps turn tiger cubs into majestic, Gamecock and Buckeye shredding beasts in the weight room. Batson will be helping out pops in the weight room as a student assistant and I hope he gets a cameo in the 4th quarter video.
Losing Ben sucks, but we’ll always have the good times.
On a more positive note, Batson passed the scholarship baton to now former walk-on long snapper Jack Maddox. I’m a huge fan of long snappers, and Maddox is a good one. He won the starting job out of camp, and will be tossing bullets between his legs for the Tigers this season. Will Spiers will be wearing special gloves this season because the velocity of a Maddox snap can peel the skin off your hands.