Mr Automatic: Clemson Specialist Extraordinaire, BT Potter

As we learned with Hunter Renfrow, dynamite can come in even the smallest of packages. Enter the quietest, most unassuming Clemson Tiger, BT Potter, aka “cannon-legged weapon.” He puts the special in special teams. He’s a young man that has always carried more than his share of the load in making this team a winner. He is literally a one man point machine. Thankfully.

According to his official Clemson Tigers biography, in 2021 Potter scored 101 points to become the first player in Clemson history to score 100 points in three consecutive seasons (118 in 2019, 115 in 2020), and he averaged 64.3 yards on 69 kickoffs with 49 touchbacks. Basically, he’s money and Dabo Swinney knows it and so do those of us watching.

There are always mixed feelings when Potter’s number is called, disappointment and excitement. Disappointed in that oftentimes his presence represents a missed touchdown opportunity. Excitement because this young man is almost automatic, a guaranteed three points. His range, his accuracy are only two of the things that make him stand out, the third, his quiet, unshakable confidence that sets the tone for his teammates.

Potter is the unquestioned leader, the old man of special teams, he’s been a character from the start. There’s a picture in my mind, one you might remember, of the special team “gang” getting ready to board the plane to head out to the CFP semifinals. There stood BT Potter, Greg Huegel, Will Swinney, Will Spiers and the rest of the specialists dressed in coordinating Christmas themed suits. It embodied the fun and frivolity of youth. It was a nice, fun holiday gesture.

Ironically, as difficult as the 2021 season was for the team, it might have been Potter’s best. In a few games, he was responsible for most of offense the struggling Tigers could muster, I believe that might have been his “finest hour” in orange. Then, add in his ungodly number of touchbacks and then you will begin the see and appreciate his unmistakable value to his team.

Throughout his five years at Clemson, he’s received many honors and accolades. All-American, the Lou Groza weekly award winner against Boston College last season, the Lou Groza Award watchlist several times, including being a semi-finalist in 2020. He’s been an outstanding student-athlete, two time All ACC Academic team. He’s the complete package.

So, as the season speeds on and few things are ever guaranteed, there is some comfort in knowing and believing in the Tiger’s “cannon-logged weapon.” As an anxious fan, I feel a sense of certainty when the man that wears the number 29 trots out on the field, he’s pretty much always automatic. I can’t wait to see how he finishes his final season as a Tiger.

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