As it turns out, college football really is where dreams come true. especially for Clemson's new kicker, Jonathan Weitz.
Just a week ago, Weitz was just another graduate student, planning on moving to New York in a couple of weeks after accepting a new job offer. Now, he's given Clemson a 3-0 lead over #4 Florida State in the Tigers' biggest game of the year.
A week ago, Clemson's kicker:
* Was enrolled in grad school
* Living 4 hours from campus
* Had already accepted a job for the winter
Today, he just gave Clemson a 3-0 lead over Florida State
Name a sport like college football.
The stories just write themselves, man
— Aaron Torres (@Aaron_Torres) September 23, 2023
Unranked Clemson, tabbed as a preseason College Football Playoff contender, has had kicking issues early on this year. Starter Robert Gunn III had two kicks blocked by Duke, and missed on another field goal plus an extra point against Florida Atlantic.
Looking for a boost at the position, two-time national champion coach Dabo Swinney looked to the past. He called upon Weitz, a kicker who still has eligibility due to the pandemic, had been on the roster from 2019-22 after previously walking on. When he got the call from his old coach, Weitz was living a few hours away from campus, and was working on an online Master's degree in data science and analytics that he will complete in December.
Before this week, Weitz hadn't kicked since last spring, but after confirming that he is still technically a Clemson student, came into town and crushed a tryout where he hit seven of the eight kicks he took from inside the 45-yard line. If you're wondering if this is even allowed, the answer is yes, but barely: due to NCAA rules about ramping players up to compete in full-contact scenarios (yes, even kickers), today was actually the first game he was eligible to participate.
Clemson kicker Jonathan Weitz was expected to start a new job in New York City next month.
Today, he made his first collegiate field goal ?
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) September 23, 2023
During his previous stint at Clemson, Weitz had limited game appearances, showing up in seven contests and going 3 for 3 on extra points, a promising sign that he can do the bare minimum expected of a Division I-level kicker. In a scoreless game, he was asked to hit from 30 yards near the end of the first quarter, and on his first-ever field goal attempt, he delivered, spurring a unique and joyful celebration from the team and his parents.
After a touchdown on a QB sneak from Cade Klubnik, he also drilled the extra point to round out a huge 10-point advantage. Stay tuned for the rest of this game and beyond, as Weitz continues an incredible story and looks to help Clemson secure an enormous win.
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