"Cat-Man" waiting for his chance

Kickers Richard Jackson and Spencer Benton maybe be slightly ahead of ‘The Cat-Man' right now, but if either falters don't be surprised if this walk-on gets an opportunity.

In fact just this past week, Coach Dabo Swinney said he's yet to scratch Chandler ‘The Cat-Man' Catanzaro from the three-man competition.

"He's still got a breath of air in him, as far as this year goes," Swinney said. "Our kicking situation is far from settled."

A preferred walk-on from Greenville's Christ Church HS, Catanzaro took Clemson's invite despite having offers from several FCS schools. Along with several preferred walk-on opportunities from other schools, turning down a chance to play for the Tigers was too good to pass up.

40 minutes from home, Clemson's not too far, but not too close. Along with the people and the coaching staff, Catanzaro knew Clemson was for him.

Plus, he's always been a fan.

"When I came on my official visit, it just kind of blew me away," he said.

Heading into camp, coaches told him that he'd be in the running for the chance to kick field goals and extra-points.

Catanzaro came to Clemson with teammate J.K. Kay and could eventually contribute as a placekicker.
"I've just been giving it my all," Catanzaro said, "Using all the tools that God gave me and to work my hardest to find my way."

Though Swinney would prefer to red-shirt him this season, Catanzaro might find himself kicking on Saturdays in Death Valley.

"Catanzaro has been impressive in his opportunities… he needs to get a little stronger. I love his demeanor. He's got good accuracy and good leg strength but I think he can improve that with some lower body strength," Swinney said. "He's still on the bubble."

Whether his first chance comes this season or in the following years, it's going to be a lot different than what he saw in high school. Playing in front of over 80,000 instead of less than 1,000 is a different kind of monster.

"I'm just waiting for the opportunity," Catanzaro said. "It's a dream to be out here."

The 6-foot-2, 170-pounder chose the Tigers over other preferred walk-on options from Notre Dame, Maryland, Wake Forest, North Carolina State, Tennessee and South Carolina.

He also had full scholarship offers to Furman and Carson-Newman.

As a senior, he converted on 10-of-16 field goals, including two from 51 yards as well as making all 38 of his extra points. He was also named to the North-South All-star game.

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