Note: The following appears in the Boston College gameday football program.
Senior Steven Sawicki stepped on the field as the Tigers’ placekicker early in the game at Louisville last Saturday, a moment he worked towards since he transferred to Clemson in 2017. After playing his first two years at North Carolina A&T, the Fayetteville, N.C. native decided to make the move to Tigertown.
Sawicki’s family supported him through the transfer process, and Sawicki recalled his parents’ advice.
“If you’re going to do it, you’re going to do it all the way.”
For Sawicki, that meant contacting the right people and putting the individual work in during his junior year in order to make the team.
“I was bored that year without the structure of practice,” admitted Sawicki. “I would kick on my own time and lift on my own time to stay up to pace and be ready to try out.”
Sawicki tried out in the spring, and his discipline paid off, as he joined the team as a walk-on. But his drive to be a Tiger began long before his decision to transfer.
When he was eight years old, his aunt and uncle brought him to a Clemson men’s basketball game, and he returned for a basketball camp soon after. During his junior year of high school, a family friend from Boston College gave him a ticket to a game at Death Valley, so Sawicki sat in the visitor section, proudly sporting his Clemson jersey.
Even though Clemson was on the horizon for awhile, Sawicki’s plan to be a kicker was a more recent development. For the majority of his childhood, his focus was on soccer. He played on a travel team through 12th grade and won a state championship in 10th grade.
Nevertheless, Sawicki began to shift his attention from soccer to football that year. He remembered the transition as fairly seamless, as he could switch back and forth from soccer to football without trouble when he was playing both. After kicking took priority, he recalled having a harder time coming back to soccer’s light touches.
“Once I realized I was pretty good and that I’d have a real opportunity for a kicking scholarship, I started to concentrate on that skill.”
Now a member of the Clemson football team, Sawicki said that the program has helped shape his college experience by helping him with the “intangibles.” Sawicki has utilized the nutritional guidance offered to him and has been pushed to improve his time management skills, as he has matured in the program’s constructive environment.
“The support that we get at Clemson is huge. The values that are taught here have really helped me to become a better man.”
Sawicki values the support from outside the football program as well, noting that the biggest difference between his first two years and his time at Clemson has been the fans.
“We had a good team at North Carolina A&T, but the support here at Clemson is so strong. Feeling the love and encouragement of the community here is crazy.”
As one of the few engineering students on the team, Sawicki has been able to exercise more of that self-discipline that prepared him to walk on. He remains diligent through challenging courses and regularly studies with classmates outside of the team as he works toward a career in water resource management.
Before he graduates in December with a civil engineering degree, Sawicki is soaking in his final season with Clemson football, the program that has helped define both his undergraduate experience and his character.