Punter, 2019 Commit
The Kraken: 3-Stars
Rivals: Low 3-Stars, 247: Low 3-Stars, ESPN: 3-Stars
Recruited by: Jeff Scott
2/22/19 – It’s time to check in on our final early enrollee, punter Aidan Swanson. I agree with everything I wrote last year except for the adjustments below.
I was fairly detailed in my assessment of him last year, so I want to switch gears to his statistical improvement this year. Statistically, Swanson has has added a few yards (up to 42 yards per punt) from where he was last year as well as adding some hangtime. He showed the potential to get better last year, and it appears, based on the numbers at least, that he has become more consistent over an entire season. He already has starting college punter numbers, therefore, I have decided to bump him up to a 3-Star recruit.
Now let’s move to, perhaps the bigger issue, of opportunity. Most of us hold the opinion that Will Spiers has not been as effective or reliable as we would like, but understand that he is Clemson royalty with his father helping out the staff as well. Spiers has 2 more years of eligibility left. I’m of the opinion that Swanson is most likely already better than Spiers, but then again, I thought the same thing about Carson King. King was given all of one punt to show what he can do last year, even though Coach Swinney publicly criticized Spiers’ punting. This makes Swanson difficult to project because I don’t know if Swanson (or King) will be allowed to legitimately compete for the starting job. If it’s a fair competition, King might be the best, followed by Swanson, and then Spiers. If Swanson is redshirted and King is once again passed up for a real shot at the job, then Spiers could be the 3rd best punter on the roster and still start.
4/29/18 – Aidan Swanson is a Punter/Kicker out of the IMG football factory high school in Bradenton, FL. He chose Clemson over Nebraska. He is currently the #4 ranked punter in the nation for the 2019 cycle. Swanson transferred over to IMG from Tampa Catholic High School.
Swanson has a versatile leg that handles kickoffs and punting duties for IMG. We are recruiting him as both certainly, but mainly as a punter. BT Potter led the nation in kickoff yardage last year, so he figures to be the guy the staff projects to kick off.
Swanson had 31 punts for IMG last year and averaged 39.5 yards per punt with 12 of the 31 ending up inside the 20. He had 80 kickoffs for IMG last season averaging 57.8 yards per kickoff with 54/80 going for touchbacks. Obviously, these aren’t elite level numbers, but they are good numbers for a high school junior.
What I think we like about Swanson is that he is a left-footed punter. A left-footed punter will put a reverse spin on the ball from what a PR normally sees. If the PR is going off of muscle memory and not thinking about that spin, there is a far greater chance for a muffed punt. In fact, I believe Bill Belichick only employs left-footed punters for that very reason. It’s worth it to have a slightly shorter distance on punts if you’re able to get the ball back a few times a year in scoring position.
Swanson has good height on his punts as well. This means that the PR will have to fair catch the ball a lot and be surrounded by the coverage unit as he catches the ball. This increases the chance for a turnover, and on film you see that. The height he gets also makes it easier for the coverage unit to field inside the 20 because the ball has less forward momentum.
Technically, he is sound and his form is good. He doesn’t have an arsenal of punts yet, but that’s normal. There is only 1 one-step punt on film and that was on a bad snap that went over his head. He got that one off and was able to punt it the equivalent of 30 yards. I like that a lot.
There is a fake punt pass on film and he delivers a strike over the middle to the EMLOS posing as the T in punt formation. If the opponent consistently sets the wall and you know everybody is going to bail out to one side, you can use that play for a free first down. His pass went to 5-Star RB Trey Sanders and IMG got a TD out of it.
On his kickoffs, he consistently kicks it to the endzone. In high school they kick off from the 40 instead of the 35, but he puts them in the back of the endzone a lot. They have him kick it to the middle whereas we usually kick off to a side which adds a few yards.
I think putting a left-footed punter on the roster is a shrewd move, and even if Spiers or King is the starter, slipping him in there could make things interesting and give return men something to worry about. Swanson gives us another strategic move we can use to gain a special teams advantage. I have him as a Hi 2-Star punter/kicker at this time, but with some improvement, he could easily bump up to a 3 for me next year.