Tigers Target South Georgia Punter

Let's face the facts, when it came to punting the football this year, the Tigers weren't exactly the best team in the conference. In fact, they were ranked 7 out of 9 teams in the ACC. The good news is, that help could be on the way and we've got an extensive update on one punter, who appears to be a major target of the Clemson coaching staff for the 2004 class.

P/PK Kyle Belcher
6-4, 200
Deerfield High School
Albany, Georgia

When it comes to offering college football scholarships, it's often the punters and placekickers that get left out in the cold. Sometimes, it's just a numbers game. If a particular schools runs out of scholarships, a kicker can be asked to walk-on the following fall with the expectation of eventually earning a scholarship.

This year however for the Tigers, the addition of top notch kicker could move to the forefront of their recruiting needs, and a scholarship could be saved if just the right prospect comes along.

Enter Albany, Georgia native Kyle Belcher, a powerful kicker who has the leg strength to become an impact player on the collegiate level.

"I made 10-of-18 field goals this past year with a long of 57-yards," says Belcher. "I also averaged about 40.3 yards per punt."

Belcher has only been playing high school football for about a year after playing soccer his entire life.

"Yeah, I've been playing soccer forever, but I want to play football in college. All of this is kind of new to me though. I never would have thought a year ago that I'd have the chance to play college football."

The recruiting process has been somewhat hectic at times, as it is most Division I-A athletes, but a number of schools appear to be emerging at the forefront.

"Clemson, Georgia, Georgia Tech, and Louisville are the schools that are recruiting me the hardest right now," maintains Belcher. "Coach Nix from Georgia Tech has already been by my house, and I'm expecting Coach Hines from Clemson and a Georgia coach in sometime next week."

"Louisville called in Septmember and said they would be getting back to me, but I haven't heard that much from them until just the other day, and they will probably be sending a coach down here too," added Belcher.

So what about scholarship offers? Is any one school closer to offering than the other?

"Well, Georgia has pretty much told me that they won't have the numbers to offer me this year, but that I could walk on. Coach Hines has indicated that the numbers may be there for an offer from Clemson, and Coach Nix has hinted around about the same thing at Tech, so we'll see."

"I'd like to be able to punt as a freshman and then possibly work my way into placekicking some," Belcher added in closing.

Belcher declined to go on record with a favorite, but should the Tigers offer, they could very well be in position to add his services in the 2004 class.

Editor's Note
The Tigers are faced with a number of possibilities on special teams in 2004. With the departure of senior Aaron Hunt, Jad Dean will have the first opportunity to take his place, but starting punter Cole Chason may also have the opportunity to take over the place kicking duties should Dean have difficulty.

In addition, with Chason struggling somewhat this year, Clemson made indeed be inclined to sign one kicker, and Belcher appears to be a major target of the coaching staff.

Belcher also grew up with Tommy Sharpe's younger brother, Robert, and is very familiar with the Tigers after taking in 2 games in Death Valley earlier this year.

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