Yes, Clemson receiver and holder Will Swinney is known as Dabo Swinney’s son, but the sophomore is working to be recognized as much more than just that.
Will is one of the hardest workers on Clemson’s team, according to Tigers co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott, always staying after practice to catch extra balls and work on his route running.
Will is behind several four- and five-star recruits on the depth chart, but the walk-on isn’t satisfied with just being a member of Clemson’s team. He wants to contribute.
“It’s better to be ready without an opportunity than to not be with one. I know that I can help this team,” Will said. “I just try to work hard. I know that there’s a lot of improvement I have to do. I’ve already seen a lot of improvement, so that’s encouraging. Just whatever I do, I’m gonna work my hardest and try to glorify God with that. That’s just what I strive to do.”
That hard work paid off this past week against Louisville as Will caught the first touchdown of his career.
Will came in motion and caught a flip from Tigers backup quarterback Chase Brice before weaving his way into the end zone and scoring an 8-yard touchdown.
Will had opportunities to score in each of Clemson’s previous two games but could not handle the snap during a fake field goal against N.C. State and could not hang on to a deep pass against Florida State that was ruled an interception.
Will said it was rewarding to finally get in the end zone in Clemson’s 77-16 win against Louisville after previously coming so close.
“Well, third time’s the charm, I guess. For sure, after the N.C. State game I was happy we won but super disappointed in that. I felt super ready for it and stuff, but it was just a simple mistake of just taking the catch for granted,” Will said. “But I took responsibility for that ... I still just said, ‘All right, just keep working.’ So it was awesome to get it this week in that same end zone. I really just feel like I’m thankful that God blessed my hard work in that moment.”
When Will scored his touchdown, he was congratulated by several teammates, including freshman receiver Derion Kendrick. Kendrick is the only scholarship receiver not redshirting this year who has yet to score a touchdown, but he was still happy for Will.
“One of my favorite pictures was watching DK standing up there celebrating whenever Will scored ... Here’s DK, a freshman, four- or five-star coming in. I think he’s the only wide receiver that doesn’t have a touchdown yet ... and here he is celebrating Will getting his first touchdown,” Scott said. “I think No. 1, that says a lot about the unselfishness of our team. No. 2, I think it says a lot about the respect that our team has for Will. He’s an extremely hard worker.”
Scott then elaborated on just how hard Will works.
“He probably stays out here later than any wide receiver that I have, him and Amari (Rodgers). Sometimes I have to tell them to call it a tie and go in because they have study hall. They want to see who can be last out here running routes and that type of stuff,” Scott said.
“We don’t have an asterisk next to Will’s name because of what his last name is. He’s respected on our team because of the way that he goes about his business. He takes notes in meetings, and he works for his opportunities that he’s been given.”