Have you ever sat on the couch watching your Clemson Tigers and thought they could use your help?
Well for former walk-on kicker Jonathan Weitz, that is exactly what happened. After Robert Gunn III missed three of his first four kicks of the season, it is time for a new strategy. Dabo Swinney did the unthinkable just days ahead of their Week 4 matchup with Florida State. It felt like something had to happen.
Weitz was not with the team this season but is enrolled in Clemson’s master’s program. Taking note that Weitz was still a part of the university, Swinney wasted no time calling Weitz and bringing him back to the team to kick.
During a press conference Tuesday, Swinney confirmed that Weitz is back on the team and will be Clemson’s field goal kicker for this Week when they host No. 4 Florida State Saturday at Memorial Stadium.
We went to the bullpen and called him off the beach,” Swinney said.
This is major for the Tigers, who now have a new kicker heading into arguably their biggest game of the season. Former starting placekicker Robert Gunn was just 1-4 kicking field goals this season, with Swinney feeling they needed some experience at the position.
“Honestly, we just needed a little bit of maturity there. I guess that would be the right word,” Swinney said. “I have not lost any confidence in Robert Gunn at all.
“He is just a young player, a freshman, that has to kind of work himself through it all. His kickoffs are amazing. He has been unbelievable there, but he has just been in a little bit of a funk. It really started in the Duke game. He was amazing all fall camp. Everyone thinks they can do it and it is easy. This is a great kid who really cares a lot, but sometimes you just need to catch your breath.”
Weitz was a walk-on from 2019-2022 who has experience with the team but little in-game experience. He was 3-3 in his career with extra points and kicked off ten times for the Tigers.
“He was pretty shocked to get a call from me on Sunday,” Swinney said. It is either going to be a great story, or it is going to be terrible. It is not going to be anything in between. He’s got a boss up in New York, probably pissed off at me.”
Something to note is the confidence Swinney has in Weitz. He would not be making a move like this if he didn’t feel it was necessary.
“He is not just a guy off the street. He is right now, but he was in our program for four years,” Swinney said. “He was the backup the last two years. He was a good backup, but we just happened to have BT Potter.”
It is a massive change for Clemson at a critical time in the season.