IMG Academy punter's average rivals NFL distances

- IMG Academy's football program has the national spotlight after punter Aidan Swanson was ranked No. 1 in the nation in the class of 2019.

He transferred from the Jesuit Tigers to IMG Academy and the move has paid off with a full scholarship to his all-time favorite Tiger team, Clemson University.

"I was definitely considering other schools, but once Clemson latched onto me I couldn't let it go," smiled Swanson. "I just couldn't pass up on the opportunity."

When Clemson's Head Coach Dabo Sweeney made the offer, Swanson said his mission was accomplished. And it brought a flood of emotions for Swanson's mom - a Clemson graduate herself.

"She just started crying," said Swanson. "It's definitely a thing that's close to our hearts."

Swanson has had a leg up on his competition since he was seven years old.

When he was 10, an opposing team's coaches stormed the field, took his football and threw it into the stands.

They felt there had to be something illegal about the ball he was using, so they held a special league meeting and banned the ball.

But nothing changed. Swanson continued to boom 35 and 40-yard punts. 

"They thought I was cheating, using helium," laughed Swanson. "It was hanging up there and going too far."

Since first kicking a Nerf ball at the age of five, there have been very few days he hasn't worked on perfecting his kicks.

His Special Teams Coach Billy Miller sees a rare talent. Swanson's 46-yard punting average would place him among the NFL top 12 last season. 

What makes him so good?

"For one, he's a lefty," said Miller. "They are really rare to find. He's 6'3", 175 pounds.  He can hit a pretty high ball. He gets a good distance. He can do it all."

Swanson has one more year left in high school. Then it's on to Clemson with hopes of one day kicking it big in the NFL.

Aidan Swanson may have lofty expectations, but he has a leg to get him there. 

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