For many high school athletes, the goal is to land a scholarship offer from a major Division I program. That wasn't the case for Clemson long snapper Jack Maddox but he is sure glad it worked out the way it did.
The redshirt junior from Acton, Mass. was introduced to the Clemson family while visiting his uncle who is a professor on campus, which led to attending Coach Swinney's summer camp.
"I just had the fluke talent of long snapping and that caught their eye," Maddox said. "As I came back for two years, they gave me an opportunity to be a preferred walk-on. So it's a cool story and I'm glad I came to camp," he said.
Maddox, who played in nine games last season and appeared in 11 career games, was offered a scholarship and the starting job this season at the end of fall camp but admitted that was never the objective for him.
"I never came to Clemson to play Divison I football for a scholarship," Maddox said. "I wanted to play because it was a longtime dream of mine and if I had the opportunity to earn one that would just be the cherry on top."
Clemson's long snapper said his goal heading into the season was to earn the starting role after being on the team for three years but he wasn't expecting to receive a scholarship before the start of the season.
"I know that I've put in the work for three years but it was definitely a pleasant surprise," Maddox.
Swinney didn't make a big public announcement about the scholarship in front of the team and caught his junior long snapper off guard.
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"Honestly, I was going to the castle, the Applied Sports Science Lab, to take a nap before afternoon practice and coach Swinney was behind me and asked where I was going," he said.
Maddox told Swinney he was going to take a nap and he continued to be followed but didn't think much of it at the time.
When they reached the room, Swinney asked Maddox if he paid for school yet and he responded, "I believe so." Then, the Clemson head coach proceeded to tell his long snapper he would have a little more change in his pocket now because he wouldn't have to worry about (tuition) for at least a semester.
Clemson's newest scholarship player said he attempted to call his mom first to share the news. However, she didn't immediately answer. Next on the list was his grandmother in Nashville who was "through the roof" in excitement. From there, he was eventually able to reach his mother and continue sharing the news among his close family members.
"It was a pretty cool moment and I'll never forget it," Maddon said.
It was pretty cool for Coach Swinney as well who always looks forward to the opportunity to give a scholarship to a deserving walk-on.
"I love being able to do that. I always try to save a few (scholarships) for that reason. I like to reward guys who put in the work every year and Jack has put in the work," Swinney said.
“He’s become a leader and a great student. We have guys coming in at all stages and they all have a lot of work to do. There’s nothing more common than talented people who are not successful. He had a lot of work to do from a physical standpoint and a confidence standpoint, with technique and fundamentals. He did the work and he gained confidence and when that happened he became consistent.”
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