CLEMSON -- Clemson starting placekicker Greg Huegel suffered a torn ACL on a field goal attempt on the last play of practice Wednesday evening and will be lost for the season. It was the second consecutive day Head Coach Dabo Swinney reported a season ending injury.
On Tuesday, freshman defensive end Logan Rudolph suffered a shoulder injury that will require season ending surgery.
Huegel is Clemson’s second leading scorer this year with 21 points on two field goals and 15 extra points. The junior from Blythewood, S.C. is eighth in Clemson history in total points scored with 271 points. He was third among active ACC players in points per game entering the season and has been Clemson’s leading scorer each of the last two years.
Huegel had two field goals in Clemson’s win over Louisville, including a career long 49-yarder. Ranked as the No. 7 kicker in the country by Lindy’s entering the 2017 season, Huegel has made an All-ACC team each of the last two years. He was a second-team All-American by Sports Illustrated as a freshman in 2015 when he led the nation in made field goals with 27. He set a Clemson single season record with 138 points that year.
Huegel also handled kickoffs for the Tigers and had nine touchbacks in 17 attempts in the first three games. He had 37 touchbacks in 97 kickoffs last year. He was a big reason Clemson opponents averaged just 19 yards per kickoff return so far this year.
“It was a freak accident on the last play of practice on Wednesday, “said Swinney. “We were in the two-minute drill, which we do at the end of every Wednesday practice. A defensive player rolled into him after his kick. He walked off the practice field and we hoped it was just a strain or a bruise, but the tests revealed a torn ACL.
“It is a big loss. We are talking about a two-time all-conference kicker. But, I have confidence in our kickers. Alex Spence will move up. He is in his fourth year with our program and has shown great improvement this year. He really had a good August camp.”
In the August 12 scrimmage in Memorial Stadium, Spence was 4-4 on field goals, including a 51-yarder.
Spence is a red-shirt junior from Florence, S.C. who kicked off twice in the Kent State game, the only game he has appeared in so far this year. He played in three games last season, and two games in 2015. He had seven kickoffs in 2016 with one touchdown back. He is 2-2 in his career on extra points.
Christian Groomes, who also kicked off twice in the Kent State game, will see more action in practice as well. He is 1-1 on extra points in his career.
Swinney also reported on Thursday that Cole Renfrow, a tight end and younger brother of Clemson starting receiver Hunter Renfrow, suffered a torn ACL on Wednesday. The injury was not football related. Renfrow appeared in the season opening game against Kent State.