the study of all things kicker related

Friday, December 19, 2014

Central Florida Knights Kicker, Punter & Snapper News

December 18, 2014 - kicker Shawn Moffit sets team scoring record
"The Dr. Phillips High alum will enter his final UCF game as the Knights' all-time career scoring leader. He eclipsed that mark in the team's final regular-season game against East Carolina where he converted four-of-six field goals — from distances of 30, 31, 38 and 42 yards — to amass a total of 303 points.... Moffitt is working hard to pass along his wisdom to his successors, freshman Matt Wright and sophomore transfer Connor O'Sullivan." - Orlando Sentinel

November 14, 2014 - Rodrigo Quirarte gets the start at kicker
"Senior kickers Shawn Moffitt and Sean Galvin did not play in the game against Tulsa. The two kickers were suspended for one game, according to ESPN. It was not immediately clear why the kickers were benched. Moffitt and Galvin were seen in a photo taken at a pregame tailgate and posted on former UCF quarterback Blake Bortles' Instagram account. Senior kicker Rodrigo Quirarte, a native of Queretaro, Mexico, started the game and finished one-of-three, with misses from 22- and 24 yards. 'He'll be fine,' O'Leary said of Quirarte. 'He was there because the two kickers were suspended for violation of team policy, team rules. I'm not sure when I'll bring them back. He'll be the kicker. I think it was a good confidence game for him. I didn't really want to use the freshman, [Matthew] Wright, in those situations. I think he did, for a first time where he had to control all the kicking, I thought he did a good job. He'd like to have some of those field goals back, I thought he peaked a little bit. Other than that, I trusted him. I think the second time out he'll be better, if he has to play. He'll be fine'." - Orlando Sentinel

October 2, 2014 - weekly kicker competition
"Shawn Moffitt and redshirt seniors Rodrigo Quirarte and Sean Galvin line up on the practice field every day, settling in for a high-stakes battle. 'We've been competing for the past two or three years and that's what's helping us,' said Quirarte, who earned his first start of the season against Bethune-Cookman last week. He hit a pair of 37-yard field goals during the Knights' 41-7 win over B-CU. 'Every day, we're trying our best, knowing that the other guy is kicking just as good. So we just have to keep pushing each other.' Moffitt started the Knights' first two games, but he added, 'I'm always on my toes. I'm always trying to be perfect with my kicks and working on my form.' This season, Moffitt is 2-for-3 with his only miss being a 47-yarder in the loss to Missouri on Sept. 13. He did hit a 19-yarder against the Tigers that was his 38th career field goal and moved him into sixth place overall among career field goals at the school. During his career, Moffitt is 38-of-49 (77.6 percent) while being 132-of-137 (96.4 percent) for extra points. 'Having Rodrigo and Galvin, they are great competition,' Moffitt said. 'We push each other to new heights'." - Orlando Sentinel

February 1, 2014 - kicker Matt Wright commits
"Wright, Lampeter-Strasburg's placekicker for the last three seasons, told UCF special teams coach Mike Buscemi Saturday that he will enroll in the school for the fall semester as a preferred walk-on.... Wright also had preferred walk-on offers from Purdue and Temple and a walk-on offer from Baylor. Wright, 46th among kickers in ESPN's recruiting rankings, earned Pennsylvania Football News Class AAA First-Team honors and was tabbed an L-L League Section Two First-Team All-Star as a placekicker and punter. He was also a Lancaster Newspapers fall All-Star in soccer. UCF has three kickers on the roster, all of which will be seniors in the fall. The trio is led by Shawn Moffitt, who went 21 for 23 on field goals and made each of the 49 PATS he attempted.... Wright connected on nine of 11 field goal tries for the Pioneers last season, with his longest coming from 42 yards out. One of the two he missed was from 55 yards and had the distance but was wide right. For his career, Wright kicked 15 field goals in 18 tries. Wright was perfect on extra points as a senior, nailing 39 of them. In three seasons, he attempted 126 PATs and missed only four." - Lancaster Online

Bridgewater State Bears Kicker, Punter & Snapper News

December 18, 2014 - kicker Colin Neri
"Neri connected on seven of 10 field goal attempts for the Bears in 2014. He made four kicks of more than 30 yards and was a near-perfect 25-for-26 on point-after tries. The Upton native and Nipmuc High grad averaged nearly 60 yards per kickoff with 14 touchbacks and even became the team’s punter midway through the season – averaging 36 yards per punt on 19 attempts. Neri’s long field goal on the season was 44 yards, but coach Denune says he has seen his kicker hit from 60 in practice with the wind at his back.... The 23-year-old has one semester of varsity eligibility left. He says he plans on returning to Bridgewater State for graduate school and playing one more season with the football team. He also hasn’t ruled out attempting to play football after college." - Bears

October 20, 2014 - kicker Colin Neri earns weekly MASCAC honors
"Senior kicker Colin Neri has been selected as the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) Football Special Teams Player of the Week. Neri connected for a career-long 44-yard field goal and was 3-for-3 in PAT conversions in the Bears' 24-0 Homecoming Game win over Plymouth State University on Saturday.  The Upton, Massachusetts native also averaged 66 yards on five kickoffs with four touchbacks and placed each of his two punts inside the twenty yard line. Through seven games this season, Neri is 6-for-8 in field goal attempts and 18-for-19 in point after tries.  He has also recorded 11 touchbacks and is averaging 58.2 yards on 36 kickoffs. Neri leads the MASCAC in made field goals and ranks third in the conference in both PAT percentage (94.7%) and placekicker scoring (36 pts.). He is also fourth in field goal percentage (75%) and made extra points. Prior to joining the football team in 2014, Neri played four seasons on the BSU men's soccer squad.  He appeared in 48 career games and recorded ten goals and two assists for 22 points. Neri helped the Bears captured the MASCAC Tournament title and advance to the NCAA Division III Tournament last fall." - D3 Football

FCS Conditioner for Kickers & Punters, 2014 part 2

Our annual Q&A series with college specialists continues with kickers and punters. We asked seniors in the FCS (Football Championship Subdivision) the following question:
"What's the most important thing you've learned during your college career regarding training & conditioning for specialists?"
Following is the second half of the responses.

CJ Laros, Illinois State
"You can't slack on any type of training. Once you take a short cut or not feel like you want to do one or two things on your program, you'll start to find yourself falling behind. Especially playing at this level, you need to be able to keep up with the speed of the game and with the competition. And when it comes to conditioning, that is one of the major factors in playing throughout the season and staying healthy."

Chase Varnadore, Florida A&M
"It is a must need in order to be a top tier kicker. A kicker can not compete with the best without having strong and quick legs. Also I've learned that squats, box jumps, hip training, quick twitch exercises, and stretching are vital when dealing with training. A kicker can't just do on the field training. They have to get in the weight room and push themselves in order to get a stronger and quicker leg. For conditioning I would say running stadiums, hills, and short sprints."

Ryan Mohr, Monmouth
"Do not over kick. This past season I decided to limit my kicks on a daily basis from the start of training camp in hopes that my leg would not get as fatigued over the course of our four month season. I also implored my fellow kickers and punters to do the same and explained my reasoning to them, but as freshman trying to impress the coaches or find their groove they did not always take this advice and their legs wore out by the end of the season. I on the other hand saw great success as my average did not fluctuate much throughout the whole season and I attribute this to not over kicking."

Bryan Maley, Wagner
"Following the teams strength program is great, it's definitely helps aid in my power and explosion, but the most important factor for me was making sure I stretched everyday and keeping up with injury preventive exercises. As a kicker I feel you have to make sure you keep up with your extra exercises to remain healthy throughout the whole season."

CJ Reyes, Idaho State
"You can not take too much time off if you want to become a great specialist and because I have learned that you really teach yourself how to kick because there is an individual style in the way you kick and if you like a certain style you just need to practice and practice. I have been taught by numerous people, and yes it helped, but I used a little part of everything in the way I punt and I am a big believer of using the style and technique you want and just adjusting it to become the best kicker you can!"

Chris Gough, Villanova
"Reject the idea that intense strength training (heavy squatting in particular) during the season can tire your legs out or somehow hinder your performance as a kicker. I wouldn't encourage any sort of heavy lifting on game day or the day before, but I've found that maintaining a relatively heavy workload during the season has given me an advantage late in the season." 

Greg Peranich, Samford
"It's all about preparation and preservation. I've learned that if you don't take care of your body, it will deteriorate as the season moves on. That will lead to inconsistency. The preparation obviously begins in January. To me, it's all about working hard in the weight room and in the conditioning sessions. Also, being smart on the field, i.e. not over-kicking, which is a specialist's greatest downfall."

Ben Campbell, Austin Peay Sate
"Don't overdo it during practice. I've had practices where I will be punting and none of them will be very good and I will keep punting until I end on a good one. This is not a good way to train and it could come from not being focused or being fatigued, but it produces bad mechanics and may lower your confidence level. Everyone has those days and when you face them I've learned to take a break and regain confidence in myself before moving on to the next drill. Confidence is a very powerful tool to all specialists."

Tyler Strickland, Arkansas-Pine Bluff
"During my college career the most important thing I learned about training and conditioning was the importance it had with injury prevention. With a lot of kickers and punters wanting to make the next level it's important that you market yourself as being a better kicker and athlete than your competition. Although kickers are often exempt from contact, having the extra size and strength helps when you are the last line of defense to prevent a touchdown. Don't make the mistake of avoiding the weight room because you are a kicker, it will only help improve your chances in making the next level."

Luke Allen, Stony Brook
"I had a limited background to kicking & punting, originally from England I only picked it up my junior year of high school, and had no coaching from then until now, only being able to see how other people did it at places like Kohl's Kicking. Although my way into the game is out of the norm, I think training within it is generally the same: you find what works for you, and with repetition and practice, without over doing it, you find your comfort zone and how YOU can hit your best ball. In terms of conditioning, everything we did, weightlifting and conditioning was the same as the rest of the other players and positions on the team. In terms of lifting, I think this helped me and benefited me, because the specialist position is somewhat "frowned upon," I used the weightroom as a place to earn respect from the people around me. it took time, being from a soccer background, I hadn't lifted weights in my life, but gradually as I worked hard, got stronger, I earned respect from coaches, players and others alike, this past spring I was deadlifting more than half of the Offensive Line. In terms of conditioning, I don't think specialists should work on speed drills like the rest of the players do, because we don't condition much in the season, I found this to be strenuous on my muscles, giving me a couple of issues with my hamstrings and hip flexors."

The Big List of 2014 College Kicker & Punter Accolades

It's that time of year once again... lots of awards, lots of lists, and lots of accolades for college athletes. Following are the various conference, regional and national honors. If you know of anything we've missed, please feel free to post a message below!

National Individual Awards
All-Conference Teams
  • see separate post listing all-conference kickers and punters from over 65 different conferences 
FWAA (Football Writers Association of America) All-Americans
  • First team kicker: Brad Craddock, Maryland
  • First team punter: Tom Hackett, Utah
  • Second team kicker: Roberto Aguayo, Florida State
  • Second team punter: Scott Harding, Hawaii
Sporting News All-Americans
  • Kicker: Brad Craddock, Maryland
  • Punter: Tom Hackett, Utah
  • Freshman kicker: Trevor Moore, North Texas
  • Freshman punter: JK Scott, Alabama
AP (Associated Press) FBS All-Americans
  • First team kicker: Roberto Aguayo, Florida State
  • First team punter: Tom Hackett, Utah
  • Second team kicker: Brad Craddock, Maryland
  • Second team punter: JK Scott, Alabama
  • Third team kicker: Josh Lambert, West Virginia
  • Third team punter: Austin Rehkow, Idaho
Sports Illustrated All-Americans
  • First team kicker: Roberto Aguayo, Florida State
  • First team punter: JK Scott, Alabama
  • Second team kicker: Brad Craddock, Maryland
  • Second team punter: Tom Hackett, Utah
Walter Camp Foundation All-Americans
  • First team kicker: Roberto Aguayo, Florida State
  • First team punter: Tom Hackett, Utah
  • Second team kicker: Brad Craddock, Maryland
  • Second team punter: Austin Rehkow, Idaho
  • FCS first team kicker: Michael Schmadeke, Northern Iowa
  • FCS first team punter: Kyle Loomis, Portland State
Lindy's Sports All-Americans
  • First team kicker: Roberto Aguayo, Florida State
  • First team punter: Tom Hackett, Utah
  • Second team kicker: Brad Craddock, Maryland
  • Second team punter: JK Scott, Alabama
  • Third team kicker: Josh Lambert, West Virginia
  • Third team punter: Austin Rehkow, Idaho
AP (Associated Press) FCS All-Americans
  • First team kicker: Michael Schmadeke, Northern Iowa
  • First team punter: Kyle Loomis, Portland State
  • Second team kicker: Justin Syrovatka, South Dakota State
  • Second team punter: Cory Carter, Texas Southern
  • Third team kicker: Adam Keller, North Dakota State
  • Third team punter: Eric Enderson, Delaware
AP (Associated Press) Little All-Americans
  • First team kicker: Anthony Pistelli, Valdosta State
  • First team punter: Patrick Carney, New Mexico Highlands
  • Second team kicker: Andrew Franks, Rensselaer Polytechnic
  • Second team punter: Nate Ray, Wisconsin-Oshkosh
  • Third team kicker: Brent Wahle, Ohio Dominican
  • Third team punter: Matt Kussmann, Illinois Wesleyan
ESPN All-Americans
  • Kicker: Roberto Aguayo, Florida State
  • Punter: JK Scott, Alabama
Athlon Sports All-Americans
  • First team kicker: Roberto Aguayo, Florida State
  • First team punter: Tom Hackett, Utah
  • Second team kicker: Brad Craddock, Maryland
  • Second team punter: JK Scott, Alabama
  • Third team kicker: Andy Phillips, Utah
  • Third team punter: Austin Rehkow, Idaho
  • Fourth team kicker: Josh Lambert, West Virginia
  • Fourth team punter: Peter Mortell, Minnesota
USA Today All-Americans
  • First team kicker: Roberto Aguayo, Florida State
  • First team punter: JK Scott, Alabama
  • Second team kicker: Brad Craddock, Maryland
  • Second team punter: Tom Hackett, Utah
CBS Sports All-Americans
  • First team kicker: Roberto Aguayo, Florida State
  • First team punter: Tom Hackett, Utah
  • Second team kicker: Josh Lambert, West Virginia
  • Second team punter: Austin Rehkow, Idaho
AFCA (American Football Coaches Association) All-Americans
  • FBS kicker: Roberto Aguayo, Florida State
  • FBS punter: Tom Hackett, Utah
  • FCS kicker: Kyle Loomis, Portland State
  • FCS punter: Michael Schmadeke, Northern Iowa
  • D2 kicker: Brent Wahle, Ohio Dominican
  • D2 punter: Tom Obarski, Concordia-St. Paul (Minn)
  • D3 kicker: Andrew Franks, RPI
  • D3 punter: Matt Kussman, Illinois Wesleyan
  • NAIA kicker: Cristian Casillias, MidAmerica Nazarene
  • NAIA punter: David Strickland (Point)
Capital One Academic All-America
  • D1 kicker 1st team: Tyler Tate, Bowling Green
  • D1 punter 1st team: Mike Sadler, Michigan State
  • D1 kicker 2nd team: Corey Acosta, Southern Miss
  • D1 punter 2nd team: Landon Foster, Kentucky
  • D2 kicker 1st team: Tom Obarski, Concordia-St. Paul
  • D2 punter 1st team: Daniel Backx, American International
  • D2 kicker 2nd team: Randy Wentz, Chadron State
  • D2 punter 2nd team: Patrick Carney, New Mexico Highlands
  • D3 kicker 1st team: Edward Ruhnke, Mount Union
  • D3 punter 1st team: Tyler Gerwig, Wooster
  • D3 kicker 2nd team: Alex Hallwachs, Washington (MO)
  • D3 punter 2nd team: Michael Bennett, Widener
  • College Division kicker 1st team: Caleb Keeton, Lindsey Wilson
  • College Division punter 1st team: Brandon Haan, Taylor
NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association) All-Americans
  • First team kicker: Ljundrim Kaba, Tyler
  • First team punter: Jacob Sherman, Iowa Central
  • Second team kicker: Edgar Gastelum, Arizona Western
  • Second team punter: Jeb Millender, Itawamba
CFPA (College Football Performance Awards) Players of the Year
  • FBS placekicker:
  • FBS punter: 
  • FBS specialist:
  • FCS placekicker:
  • FCS punter: 
  • FCS elite placekicker:
BSN (Beyond Sports Network) 1st Team All-Americans
  • FCS kicker: Michael Schmadeke, Northern Iowa
  • FCS punter: Kyle Loomis, Portland State
  • D2 kicker: Tom Obarski, Concordia St. Paul
  • D2 punter: Patrick Carney, New Mexico Highlands
  • D3 kicker:
  • D3 punter:
  • NAIA kicker:
  • NAIA punter:
Daktronics All-Americans
  • First team kicker: Tom Obarski, Concordia St. Paul
  • First team punter: Patrick Carney, New Mexico Highlands
  • Second team kicker: Conner Hollabaugh, West Texas A&M
  • Second team punter: Jake Medlock, Valdosta State

United Arab Emirates Men's National Soccer Team News

December 18, 2014 - roster updates, including Omar Abdulrahman return
"The UAE's AFC Asian Cup hopes have received a boost after injury doubt Omar Abdulrahman was named in the country’s 24-man squad for January’s continental showdown in Australia. Head coach Madhi Ali has included the Al Ain star after the 23-year-old was declared fit and sufficiently recovered following an injury he picked up during last month’s Gulf Cup of Nations semi-final. 'Omar Abdulrahman is fine, his doctor reports he has started jogging,' Ali said. 'He needs five to seven days to get back to full fitness. Amer Abdulrahman as well has a minor knock and should recover.' The side features six different players from the squad Ali took to the Gulf Cup with goalkeeper Majed Nasser and defender Hamdan Al Kamali among those earning a recall. Esmail Matter was one of the players replaced after the Al Wahda striker was reported to be out for at least three weeks with a neck injury." - AFC

November 25, 2014 - Ali Mabkhout scores in win over Oman
The UAE sealed third place at the 2014 Gulf Cup on Tuesday as Ali Mabkhout’s goal handed them a 1-0 win over Oman at the Prince Faisal Stadium in Riyadh. Oman nearly opened the scoring against their fellow AFC Asian Cup hopefuls after only five minutes when Saeed Al Ruzaiqi’s header was tipped to safety by UAE keeper Khalid Essa. The UAE duly responded with a Khamis Ismael shot that Oman custodian Al Al Habsi deflected onto the post in the first half’s last meaningful action. However, the UAE were to make the decisive breakthrough on the hour mark, substitute Mohamed Abdulrahman playing in Mabkhout who fired home a right-footed shot to give his side the lead and notch his fifth strike of the tournament." - AFC

November 20, 2014 - Ali Mabkhout scores brace in win over Iraq 
"Defending champions United Arab Emirates booked their place in the last four of the 2014 Gulf Cup of Nations on Thursday after beating Iraq 2-0 at the King Fahd International Stadium. In what was a rematch of last year’s final, UAE broke the deadlock in the 50th minute when Ali Mabkhout received possession from Habib Al Fardan on the edge of the box and sent a unstoppable rocket into the top corner. Two minutes after the hour mark, a poor back-pass by Iraq defender Ali Faez allowed Ahmed Khalil to nip in ahead of Mustafa Nadhim and lay it off to Mabkhout, who raced through and finished past Jalal Hassan to seal the win for his side." - AFC 

November 6, 2014 - Ahmed Khalil scores hat-trick in win over Lebanon 
"Ahmed Khalil scored a second half hat-trick to lead his side to a 3-2 victory over Lebanon as the UAE looked to build some form heading into next week’s Gulf Cup. After both teams failed to score in the first half it appeared that Mahdi Ali’s side would continue with their recent struggles in front of goal before Khalil put on a goalscoring master-class after the break. The UAE had only scored two goals in their previous six international matches and, despite conceding a brace, will be more than happy with their display." - AFC

October 6, 2014 - Omar Abdulrahman out with knee injury
"Playmaker Omar Abdulrahman has pulled out of the United Arab Emirates squad for the upcoming friendly matches against Australia and Uzbekistan to rest a troublesome knee injury. The 23-year-old suffered the problem playing for his club Al Ain a fortnight ago but made it worse by completing 90 minutes in the Champions League semi-final exit to Al Hilal last week. He missed the 4-3 win over Al Jazira in the Arabian Gulf League on Sunday with his club coach Zlatko Dalic requesting that the country's best talent be allowed to rest in order to recover properly." - Daily Mail

Thursday, December 18, 2014

FCS Conditioner for Kickers & Punters, 2014 part 1

Our annual Q&A series with college specialists continues with FCS kickers and punters. We asked seniors in the Football Championship Subdivision the following question:

"What's the most important thing you've learned during your college career regarding training & conditioning for specialists?"
Following is the first half of the responses.

Nick Pollard, Tennessee Chattanooga
"Explosive movements. As a kicker and punter, you don't need to squat hundreds of pounds to be effective. You truly need to work on being explosive in many ways. I would also say that take some time off from kicking and really focus on weightlifting. It really gives you better results if done properly. Also an additional note would be to work on flexibility."
Smith Heath, Sacramento State
"Explosive flexibility. I have learned to increase hip and hamstring flexibility while also increasing power with full flexibility/full range of motion. Also having a strong core is very important along with staying in great running shape. And not jogging, need to be active with quick twitch muscles, in sprinting shape."

Joey Cejudo, Youngstown State
"Quality over quantity. Especially since I did all three this year! Also you must spend time in the weight room! I was big on low weight more reps! Conditioning aspect I focused on keeping my body in shape and legs in shape so it can stay fresh all year. So in the offseason I ran stadium stairs as well as sprints and other plyometrics!"

Thomas Kinney, Southern Illinois
"Deal with the lifts conditioning coaches give you; your body will adapt to it; maintain flexibility & try your best to maintain proper form."

Cherchen Galon, Mississippi Valley State
"Stretch all the time and keep your head down every time you kick."

Chris Barrick, Prairie View A&M
"Flexibility is the most important thing when training. Don't add too much weight until your muscles are flexible enough to handle it. Resistance bands can be more useful than weights to help with flexibility. A long muscle is a strong muscle."

Michael Marando, Fordham
"As a placekicker, the important field goals that I made during the season were actually kicked during the offseason. I did not let a day go by where I wasn't getting better. Despite the fact that some people only view specialists as just a kicker, just a punter or just a snapper, I was able to gain my team's respect through training and conditioning."

Adam Keller, North Dakota State
"Be self motivated. In such a specialized position not many people can tell you how or what it will take for the best results and performance. It is a challenge each and every day to have the right mindset to get better but if you want to be the best you can be you have to do that. Also having the mental toughness to understand that you are only as good as your next kick and to focus on what has allowed me to be successful in the past to effect the way I perform in the future no matter what."

Jamie Ross, Sacred Heart
"Other than the direct delivery from hand to foot, kicking is such a mental thing. If you get one blocked or hit one off the side of your foot you have to come off the field and leave it there. You can't be bringing previous kicks out for the next ones because they will haunt you. I think as far as conditioning for specialists, repetition and giving your legs the proper workouts and recovery is huge. When you're kicking everyday, say in preseason, and you're running and your legs feel like jell-o you need to ice bath and stretch and take the extra time to get your legs back under you. It's a long season and you don't want to peak the first week of the season and progressively get worse from there on out."

Brad Prasky, New Hampshire
"It's important to do exercises specific to kicking when doing your extra lifts, but when lifting with the team you can gain valuable respect from teammates by lifting just as much as them, having the best form, and of course having a great work ethic. Those things will earn the respect and trust of your teammates and coaches because they know you want the same things they want from you. I am in the weight room at least an hour every day doing various things from stretching all the way up to some heavier lifts. That time spent makes me more durable and allows me to be strong late in the season.... Diet is a huge part of progress physically. A lot of carbs and sugars are essential for kickers to not tighten up on sidelines and prevent pulls."

Ethan Sawyer, South Dakota State
"During the offseason, I found that the explosive lifts, power cleans, hang cleans etc. were extremely beneficial for my development as a punter. Because punting and kicking involve such violent movements, any exercise that will increase your overall explosiveness will increase your potential to get more power behind your kicks. Obviously squatting can help develop leg strength which is also important, but it's essential to find a balance between strength and flexibility. I thought it was helpful to throw in either a yoga session or just an extended stretch workout once or twice a week in addition to my regular stretching in order to stay flexible while trying to build muscle. As far as kicking goes, I always tried to get a lot of kicking in during the summer and started to taper off the amount that I kicked during fall camp and during the season. That way I was able to work out any of the technique issues I wanted to correct during the summer so that when fall camp came around I was ready to punt well, so I wouldn't have to hit many balls, and could save my legs for Saturdays. Lastly, you can never practice your drop enough."

Tom Obarski Wins 2014 Fred Mitchell Award

Concordia University St. Paul senior place-kicker Tom Obarski (Burnsville, MN) is the recipient of the 2014 Fred Mitchell Award. The Award is provided to the nation’s top place-kicker in FCS, Division II, Division III, NAIA and NJCAA for excellence on the football field and in the community. Over 750 place-kickers are eligible.

The Award is named for Fred Mitchell, the All-American place-kicker from Wittenberg University and longtime sports columnist for the Chicago Tribune. Mitchell said, “It is a thrill to congratulate Tom as the second straight Division II kicker to receive the Fred Mitchell Award. With more than 750 place-kickers to choose from, we are extremely proud to recognize Tom among a stellar group of nominees. Tom’s record-setting season and career were terrific and we recognized Tom for his performance each of his four years at Concordia. We are particularly impressed with Tom’s accuracy, consistent success from 40+ yards and his volunteer efforts with young people.” In addition to First Team All-Conference honors, Tom was also Second Team All-Conference as Concordia’s punter, Capital One Academic All-America First Team and an AFCA All-America First Team selection.

“The Fred Mitchell Award is an incredible honor to receive. God has given me a love for the game that is unmatched and has blessed me with the abilities to glorify Him,” said Obarski. “I want to thank my family and friends who have supported me every step of the way and have pushed me to become better. I also want to thank my team at Concordia and the coaching staff for always putting trust in me.”

Obarski is very active in the community. He is a drug education mentor to middle school children, youth teacher at River Valley Church, high school camp volunteer, on-campus ministries and Bible study leader and Feed My Starving Children volunteer. He also served on an overseas mission trip, helped raise more than $6,000 for the tsunami relief fund in Japan and he raised funds for Project Rescue.

“This Award just exemplifies the peak of Tom’s accomplishments,” said Concordia-St. Paul head coach Ryan Williams. “He’s been accomplished kicker and tremendous ambassador of our football program to the campus and community throughout his career. He’ll be greatly missed in our program and always remembered for the greatness he has left behind. I hope that there are more opportunities for him to kick at a higher level. He represents everything that we strive for in our football program.”

The Award’s Selection Committee Chairman, Chris Kearney, said, “There were dozens of terrific candidates for this Award. In fact, 38 place-kickers were nominated by their schools for consideration. We recognized Tom for his record-setting performance in 2014 and throughout his career. We are looking forward to honoring Tom on February 16, 2015 during the National Football Foundation Chicago Metro Chapter Awards Ceremony.”