Dabo Swinney could hardly believe what he was watching. The Clemson football coach knew his godson, a star in the FC Dallas academy, was a good athlete. He knew the kid had a strong leg. But when Tanner Tessmann started kicking at a Clemson camp in the summer of 2019, Swinney wasn't prepared for what he saw.
"I watched him a kick a 64-yarder and then he kicked a 52-yarder, left-footed, just for good measure. That blew my mind," said Swinney, laughing in disbelief. "You have guys at kicking camp, that's what they do every day year-round, and he hasn't done any prep. No kicking a football before, he showed up and he was the best guy there. If you're a kicker, he's the kind of guy who is going to make you mad.
"It's kinda like the golfer who works at it every day and then a guy comes out who hasn't played in two years and shoots par. That's who he is."
He came in for one day, no pads to put on or a pass rush to face, but Swinney said Tessmann's 64-yard field goal probably would have been good from more than 70 yards. It was a light-bulb moment for the two-time national-championship-winning coach. Tessmann was already being recruited by Clemson to play soccer, why not have him play soccer and football?