Can the "cat-man" do it?

CLEMSON – If Monday was Clemson's season opener, Dabo Swinney would have sent freshman Chandler Catanzaro for the first field goal attempt.

Through Monday morning's practice, Catanzaro, a redshirt freshman from Greenville, had been the Tigers' most consistent kicker. Swinney said ‘The Cat Man' was 94 percent in the 30-40-yard range and 78 percent on all attempts during preseason camp.

"Catanzaro has separated," Swinney said after the morning session. "He's well out in front of the other two."

Catanzaro attributed the performance to the work he's put in during the offseason.

"I worked on my lower body, my legs and core. That's worked out really well for me. I also got more flexible, which has helped a lot on the field," he said.

"I think just focusing on what I'm doing and doing my best on every kick, focusing, just honing in on every kick. Knowing that it's just me and the ball there and I found my groove. I've loved it so far."

Catanzaro hit two field goals in Tuesday morning's pre-scrimmage special team work. During the scrimmage, he successfully kicked a pair of extra-points. His name never came up in the right place in the rotation with Spencer Benton and Richard Jackson when it was time to kick a field goal.

"It's kind of just hit or miss because we have a rotation going. I just do whatever they ask. Today, it just happened to be two extra-points," Catanzaro said on Tuesday.

Catanzaro said he, Benton and Jackson don't view competition for the job as a competition against one another.

"We're just really comfortable around each other," Catanzaro said. "I think that helps out a lot. We're really supportive of each other. We don't really look at it as a competition, just doing our best. We support each other along the way."

But he's filled with excitement when asked about the chance of being called upon in front of thousands of orange-clad fans in Death Valley.

"I'm looking forward to the opportunity. I'm pumped. I've dreamed of this my whole life, an opportunity like this," Catanzaro said. "I'm just going to go out there for the team and see what happens."

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