Roots in the Plains

CLEMSON - Clemson punter Dawson Zimmerman has serious ties to the Auburn program.

Junior punter Dawson Zimmerman is off to a fast start- leading the country in net punting through the first two games of the season.

His family also has major ties to today's opponent in the Auburn Tigers.

CUTigers caught up with Dawson earlier this week to get his thoughts on what it will be like to take the field against a program that saw not only his grandfather take to the field at Jordan-Hare Stadium, but also his great grandfather as well:

Rumor is that you have some Auburn football in your line of heritage? What's that going to be like for you Saturday?
Zimmerman: Yeah I do. My granddad and great-granddad both played football for Auburn and were both captains of their team. My granddad is Jimmy Long and my great-granddad was known as "Shorty Long." So there's definitely some heritage there for me.

How did your Auburn background impact you growing up?
Zimmerman: Growing up, my whole family was an Auburn family. My mom went there, my aunts went there, my grandmother went there...basically a whole side of my family. My first college football experiences were all about Auburn. There are pictures of me as a baby in the little Auburn uniforms trying to look big, you know with the helmet and pads and everything. So I grew up on Auburn football.

That said, I think it's gonna be weirder for the rest of my family than for me. I had to quickly transition to going for Clemson after I committed and watched that bowl game against Auburn. That was the defining point of my switched allegiance. But for my family, it shouldn't be an issue. I like to think me playing for Clemson trumps their Auburn history, at least for now.

How will it feel like for you to play on a field rich with so much family tradition on Saturday? How special is this for your family?
Zimmerman: I anticipate it being a great experience out there on the field Saturday. We were out there practicing this week and we were playing the Auburn fight song through the speakers and it was just kind of weird, because here's this song that I've grown up around and now I'm on the other side of that. But I'm just excited to get to go out there and play in Jordan-Hare. Like I said, I'm anticipating my family rooting for me. I like to think I have a good family in that sense.

What are your overall thoughts on what to expect Saturday night?
Zimmerman: Auburn's a good team and I think it's a good measuring stick for us. It's College Game Day so you know they're all gonna be fired up. I'm expecting them to have great energy in the stands, it's gonna be loud. I'm anticipating a hostile environment. It's just something where we just have to go out there and execute and play how we know how to play.

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