Quest for perfection

CLEMSON - Spencer Benton and Bradley Pinion have been battling all summer to who could perfect the art of punting.

On Thursday, Dabo Swinney announced that Benton won that competition by naming him the starter at punter.

"Bradley is obviously a 6-5 punter. That's pretty much a specimen, if I would say so myself. He weighs 240 pounds where I'm at 195," he said. "His best ball is probably going to look a little better than mine."

According to Swinney, Benton was "the most consistent" in the two-man battle throughout preseason camp. In essence, that means Benton had a higher rate of more perfect punts than Pinion.

"The perfect punt is 45 yards, 4.5 hang time, somewhere in there," Benton said. "You don't want to be too far with too little hang time or vice versa, too short with too much hang time. You want to try to even that out, that ratio, as much as possible."

He spent the summer months honing the craft.

"I worked a lot this summer, working on my technique. Right now, the biggest thing for me, is working on my get off time, working on getting faster there," Benton said. "I'm trying to eliminate my first drop step and become a true two-step punter."

The redshirt senior from Myrtle Beach will continue to handle kickoff specialist duties this fall.

"I'm feeling confident there and comfortable…I'm ready to get out there and lay a little wood if I have to," Benton said.

Unlike most kickoff specialists, Benton doesn't shy away from contact. He's laid the wood 21 times during his career. His 21 tackles are the most by a Clemson kicker in school history.

A shoulder injury sustained while trying to make a tackle against Virginia Tech sidelined Benton for four games last season.

But he won't shy away from contact in 2012.

"If you had asked me about nine or 10 months ago, my answer would probably be a little different, but I've gotten over it," he said. "I'm just ready to get back out there and handle that aspect of the game. It's going to be an exciting year."

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