the study of all things kicker related

Friday, October 31, 2014

Ray Guy Award Candidates 2014

The Augusta Sports Council has announced 80 nominees for the 2014 Ray Guy Award, which identifies the nation's top collegiate punter. The list will be narrowed to ten semifinalists to be announced on November 14. Following the semifinalists announcement, a national body of Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) sports information directors, coaches, media representatives and previous Ray Guy Award winners will vote for the top three finalists, who will be identified on November 24. The voting body will then cast ballots to select the winner. The presentation of the Ray Guy Award will be featured on The Home Depot College Football Awards live on Thursday, December 11 at 7:30 pm ET on ESPN.

JK Scott, Alabama
Riggleman, Arizona
Matthew Haack, Arizona State
Sam Irwin-Hill, Arkansas
Luke Ferguson, Arkansas State
Alex Tardieu, Army
Spencer Roth, Baylor
Alex Howell, Boston College
Tyler Grassman, Buffalo
Scott Arellano, BYU
Cole Leininger, California
Ron Coluzzi, Central Michigan
Bradley Pinion, Clemson
Darragh O'Neill, Colorado
Hayden Hunt, Colorado State
Will Monday, Duke
Worth Gregory, East Carolina
Owen Dubiel, Eastern Michigan
Dalton Schomp, FAU
Kyle Christy, Florida
Garrett Swanson, Fresno State
Collin Barber, Georgia
Scott Harding, Hawai`i
Austin Rehkow, Idaho
Justin DuVernois, Illinois
Colin Downing, Iowa State
Trevor Pardula, Kansas
Nick Walsh, Kansas State
Anthony Melchiori, Kent State
Landon Foster, Kentucky
Daniel Cadona, Louisiana
Jamie Keehn, LSU
Tyler Williams, Marshall
Will Hagerup, Michigan
Mike Sadler, Michigan State
Peter Mortell, Minnesota
Devon Bell, Mississippi State
Christian Brinser, Missouri
Wil Baumann, NC State

Sam Foltz, Nebraska
Thomas Hibbard, North Carolina
Tyler Wedel, Northern Illinois
Cameron Johnston, Ohio State
Jed Barnett, Oklahoma
Kip Smith, Oklahoma State
Jarrett Cervi, Old Dominion
Will Gleeson, Ole Miss
Keith Kostol, Oregon State
Ryan Winslow, Pittsburgh
Thomas Meadows, Purdue
James Farrimond, Rice
Joel Alesi, San Diego State
Tyler Hull, South Carolina
Tyler Sarrazin, Southern Miss
Ben Rhyne, Stanford
Riley Dixon, Syracuse
Ethan Perry, TCU
Matt Darr, Tennessee
William Russ, Texas
Drew Kaser, Texas A&M
Will Johnson, Texas State
Taylor Symmank, Texas Tech
Dalton Parks, Tulsa
Hunter Mullins, UAB
Caleb Houston, UCF
Justin Wain, UConn
Justin Manton, ULM
Logan Yunker, UNLV
Mattias Ciabatti, USF
Tom Hackett, Utah
Jaron Bentrude, Utah State
Mike Ruggles, UTEP
Alec Vozenilek, Virginia
A.J. Hughes, Virginia Tech
Alexander Kinal, Wake Forest
Korey Durkee, Washington
Nick O'Toole, West Virginia
J. Schroeder, Western Michigan
Drew Meyer, Wisconsin
Joseph Occhipinti, WKU

High School Long Kicks - Nevada

Our series exploring the longest field goals at the high school level in each state continues with Nevada.
  • 68 Dirk Borgognone, Reno during 34-14 win over Sparks, September 27, 1985 
"It was a perfect night. Dirk Borgognone remembered that much Tuesday afternoon as he stood in front of his locker at Dolphins camp. He remembered the clear sky over Nevada that September evening of 1985, the breeze, the feel of the grass. The snap, the hold... 'Everything was perfect,' Borgognone said. And then, with one swing of his right leg, Dirk Borgognone's life changed forever. 'Sometimes I wonder about that night,' he said. On that night, on a football field in Reno, Borgognone kicked five field goals for his high school team, his last sailing a national record 68 yards. 'And it cleared by 5 yards,' Borgognone pointed out. He became an instant celebrity; first-team Parade All-America, a top recruit at Tennessee. But sometimes, Borgognone says, 'I wonder how much different my life would have been if I had missed that kick. I used to think it was good. But nowadays ... I don't know anymore.' Could it have been a jinx?' A medal of honor or an albatross? A record of distinction or the burden of Sisyphus? 'Maybe I kind of peaked then,' Borgognone mused." - Sun-Sentinel
  • 64 Austin Pacheco, Carson during 27-24 win over Bishop Manogue Reno), October 1, 2011
"After the ball sailed through the goal posts and all the celebrations finally ended, Austin Pacheco figured he would be in demand. The local newspapers. Maybe a small radio station or two. They would all want a few minutes with the senior kicker from Carson (Carson City, Nev.) who booted a 64-yard, game-winning field goal. 'I knew it would be a big story around here,' Pacheco said. He just had no idea how big. Pacheco's kick on Oct. 1 against Bishop Manogue (Reno, Nev.) made national news, with stories appearing in print and online publications across the country, and videos of his long-range boot popping up on several websites. In the past week and a half, he has fielded numerous interview requests, including three from radio stations located on the East Coast. Everybody, it seems, wants to speak to Pacheco.... Pacheco's kick, which admittedly was aided by a strong breeze and the approximately 4,500-foot elevation in Reno, is tied for the fifth-longest in high school history, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations record book. It is also the second-longest in Nevada history, trailing only the 68-yarder by Dirk Borgognone of Reno in 1985, which stands as the national record.... Pacheco, who missed wind-blown 47- and 50-yard attempts to the right earlier, hit an absolute laser that ensured there wouldn't be a block. And it was aimed exactly where Pacheco wanted, allowing the wind to push it through the uprights with plenty of room to spare. 'It probably would have been good from 70,' Roman said. 'I really went out there with nothing to lose and just went out swinging,' Pacheco said. 'I knew I hit it pretty flush. Once I saw the wind take it to the right, that's when I knew it was in. I learned from it. I played it right where I wanted to play it'." - MaxPreps
  • 58 Esteban Bravo, Sparks, 2011 
  • 58 Zach Davis, Moapa Valley, 2003
  • 57 Clint Stitzer, McQueen (2001 vs. Foothill)
  • 55 Jorge Islas, Truckee (2004 vs. Fernley)
  • 54 Shane Goodale, Lowry (2004 vs. Damonte Ranch)
  • 54 Lance Terry, Moapa Valley (1995 vs. Pahrump Valley)
  • 54 Ben Jackle, Bonanza (2004 vs. Rancho)
  • 51 Darrin Glass, Elko (1994 vs. Churchill County)
  • 51 Jay Mattox, Las Vegas (2010 vs. Cimarron-Memorial)
  • 50 Collin Ditsworth, Bishop Gorman (2010 vs. Spring Valley)
  • 50 Jeffery Young, Whittell (2004 vs. Battle Mountain)
  • 50 Anthony Silva, Reed, 2011

Mind Over Foot, part 5: Zombies

This Halloween, it comes as no surprise that the majority of kids will be dressed up as either a zombie, a monk, or a kicker. While those three costumes initially appear to be completely unrelated, upon closer inspection we discover a common thread. To find that thread we have to delve into the mind.

Monks in their aspiration for enlightenment and kickers in their aspiration for making field goals, both seek the suspension of conscious thought... a state-of-being that defies description simply because there is "no mind" present in that state to observe and record it. So what is actually happening in the brain when the practitioner is literally "out of his mind?"

Neurologist Vilayanur S. Ramachandran addresses this phenomenon in his "Zombie In The Brain" theory. According to Dr. Ramachandran, the brain is not "like a computer," as the popular description goes. Instead, the brain is highly decentralized, consisting of specialized regions that make specific interconnections. Despite the common understanding that a single function (seeing, for example) involves several anatomical structures and brain regions, he describes the brain as being far more complex than we have previously imagined. 

Using the example of vision, there are evolutionarily "old" centers and pathways - such as those that recognize and interpret movement - that operate independently from "newer" mechanisms (those that interpret the movement and form a response). These old pathways are located deep in the center of the brain and brain stem and direct our life experience in ways that we are unaware of as long as the newer pathways are operable. This "old" brain is Ramachandran's "zombie."

What sorts of things does the zombie do best? It seems that orienting the body in space is a primary function. Ramachandran points out that a task as simple as reaching for and grasping something requires significantly refined sensory-motor coordination. In neurology patients whose whose centers for conscious processing of objects is damaged, this skill remains intact (they can't identify a banana or a block of wood, but they can accurately grasp and handle the "unknown" object). Once a baby's zombie systems are up and running (literally), they hum along for most of a lifetime, mobilizing the body through a myriad of activity.

For the monk, subduing the conscious feedback loop restores both physical existence and mental life to its innate simplicity.
The Master doesn't think about his actions;
they flow from the core of his being.
- Lao Tzu
For the kicker and other athletes, the temporary suspension of the conscious feedback mechanism allows the zombie to perform a learned action without interference.
"It’s when you start thinking you get in trouble. At that point, if you can’t turn off your mind and simply operate on muscle memory you’re screwed. The doubt will 99.9% of the time get the best of you."
- kicker Tyler Fredrickson
For the actual zombie, things are pretty straight-forward.
" Brains, brains, brains...."
- anonymous zombie

South Dakota Coyotes Kicker, Punter & Snapper News

October 30, 2014 - kicker/punter Miles Bergner
"He's a perfect 12-for-12 on field goals this season for the 2-6 Coyotes, who travel to Youngstown State on Saturday. Twelve consecutive field goals is a USD record and he's also one of just seven FCS kickers who has not missed this year. 'You have to take kick the same way,' Bergner said. 'You really try to get in a routine and a rhythm. That's the biggest part for me. Keep the same rhythm and preparation and keep doing the same thing prior to each kick'.... Bergner made 12 of 21 kicks last year, but hit his last six in a row. Technically, there was one miss but that was blocked. That means he's actually at 18 in a row going back to last year. His job as a punter has also been getting better. He's averaging 39.5 yards per kick for the year and is second in the Missouri Valley against conference opponents with a 42.4 average. 'Confidence is a huge part of punting,' Bergner said. 'As soon as I established some confidence this year against Northern Arizona and Southern Illinois, things got easier. I felt like I could hit the ball better and get more behind it'." - Argus Leader

April 26, 2014 - Spring Showcase
"Kicker Miles Bergner added two field goals for the offense, connecting on attempts from 37 yards out and 42 yards out." -  Keloland

February 5, 2014 - long snapper Brandon Godsey signs
"Godsey earned honorable mention all-conference honors as a defensive lineman for the Panthers. He also plays baseball at Ray-Pec and has an older brother, David, who plays football at Missouri State." - Coyotes

High School Long Kicks - Tennessee

Our series exploring the longest field goals at the high school level in each state continues with Tennessee.
  • 62 Jeff Hall, Franklin County HS (Winchester) v Oak Ridge HS, 11/19/1991
  • 62 Jeff Hall, Franklin County HS (Winchester) v Brentwood Academy, 10/16/1992 

  • 61 Kody Bliss, Brentwood Academy during 3-10 loss to McCallie School (Chattanooga), 9/28/2001
  • 61 Tyler Norris, Donelson Christian Academy v Greenbrier, 10/ /2001
  • 60 Alex Sigmon, Tennessee High during 60-16 win over David Crockett HS, 9/2/2011, Free kick after fair catch
  • 59 Courtney Leavitt, Germantown, 1995
  • 58 Ki Tok Chu, Glencliff vs. Hillsboro, 1984
  • 57 Rafael Gaglianone, Baylor vs. Ensworth, Oct. 25, 2013
  • 57 Ben Ogle, Greeneville vs. West Greene, Oct. 1, 2011
  • 57 Ben Stafford, McCallie vs. LaVergne, Nov. 8, 1996

South Carolina Gamecocks Kicker, Punter & Snapper News

October 30, 2014 - punter Sean Kelly
"USC will be in need of a punter after this season and the Gamecocks could be close to filling that void. Former Florida Atlantic punter Sean Kelly (5-10 180) could hear from USC admissions as early as the first part of next week regarding his application to the university his father said Thursday night.... Kelly played his first two seasons in college at Florida Atlantic. In 2013 he averaged 42.7 yards per punt with 19 of them traveling 50 yards or more. 26 of his punts were downed inside the 20. He went to FAU as a walkon and earned a scholarship for is season season. He is not playing football this season leaving him three years to play two." - GoGamecocks

September 15, 2014 - kicker/punter Joseph Charlton
"Charlton handles all three aspects of kicking for A.C. Flora. He is 11-of-12 on PATs this season and 1-of-4 on field goals, even though the Falcons feel comfortable using him from 50 yards and in. He expects to focus on kickoffs and punting when he arrives at South Carolina and hopes to add place-kicking later in his career. He set a goal for himself this season of having all touchbacks on kickoffs, since the high school rule is that any ball that enters the end zone on a kickoff is not returnable, and the offense will start at its 20-yard line. This season, Charlton has reached the end zone on 13 of 15 kickoffs, with one of those that didn’t reach the goal line being a called kick high along the sideline.... Charlton is averaging 36 yards per punt, and that is shorter than last season’s average when he was between 45-50 yards. But he has done a better job at placing the ball than in the past. He still can boom one when needed, but most of his punts this season have pinned teams deep in their own territory." - The State
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August 13, 2014 - kicker Elliott Fry
"Fry has improved his leg strength in the offseason and added about 10-12 pounds of muscle. His longest field goal last year was 45 yards but he feels comfortable with anything less than 50 yards now. He said he can hit from 58 or 59 yards in practice but that would probably be stretching his limit in a game situation. 'I have a little more leg strength and I think that will help me,' Fry said. 'With kicking, you always want to stay consistent but find a way to improve your range. I feel really good about how things went this off-season. I know I'm stronger than I was last year at this time. I just need to stay accurate'."- Post and Courier

August 11, 2014 - kicker Joseph Charlton commits
"Charlton, a senior, received a scholarship offer from the Gamecocks on Monday evening and committed a short while later. 'USC is always where I’ve wanted to go. It’s just exciting to be able to play Gamecock football with some really great players,' Charlton said.... The 6-foot-5, 180-pound Charlton was 7-for-10 on field goals last year with a long of 52 yards. He was happy to have his college choice out of the way before the 2014 kickoff. 'It only makes me want to do better,' he said. Kohl's Kicking ranks Charlton the No. 5 punter in the 2015 class. He was the top uncommitted punting prospect before his pledge to USC.... Charlton also averaged between 45 and 50 yards per punt in 2013, and most of his kickoffs reached the end zone. Charlton said he averaged 77 yards per kickoff in camp." - GoGamecocks

July 6, 2014 - kicker Elliott Fry eating
"Fry continues to try and gain weight. Listed at 155 pounds entering the spring, he said he was closer to 170 by April on a high-protein, 5,500-calories-a-day diet. There’s still room for improvement, said Fry, who hopes to also compete for the starting kickoff role. 'I’d like to be a lot more consistent,' Fry said. 'I still missed kicks last year. You can always improve there'.” - GoGamecocks

May 29, 2014 - punter/kicker Zack Cimaglia
"South Carolina will hope for a similar result [like Elliott Fry last year] from incoming walk-on combo-kicker Zack Cimaglia who went through orientation on Thursday and hopes to provide a similar spark to the South Carolina punting game which ranked last in the SEC in yards per punt with a 37.04-yard average last season. Cimaglia, who will technically be a redshirt sophomore this year, says special teams coach Joe Robinson simply pitched him the opportunity to compete at all three specialist positions.... Cimaglia, who is originally from Myers Park HS in Charlotte, N.C., spent his freshman season at North Carolina A&T and hit 14-of-24 field goal attempts while averaging 37.6 yards per punt in his only season at the school. But Cimaglia wasn't happy at A&T as it simply wasn't a fit for him, so he left school, took a season off while working hard to get better, and hoped the calls would come. Several schools, including Wisconsin, offered Cimaglia the opportunity to walk-on and likely compete for a starting position in the future. But Robinson offered Cimaglia the opportunity to come in and compete right away. Cimaglia, who will be eligible to compete this season because he's already sat out a season, considers himself a true combo-kicker and will compete at all three spots, but does consider punting his strongest asset at this point in his development." - 247Sports

April 13, 2014 - punter Tyler Hull
"The punter appears to be Tyler Hull, who has started the past two years and helmed the first-team role this spring. Hull nor special-teams coach Joe Robinson have been made available to the press during the spring, but it’s been Hull who has gone out first during scrimmages (on Saturday, he punted once for 40 yards)." - GoGamecocks

April 8, 2014 - kicker Elliott Fry
"Fry impressed South Carolina coaches enough to be put on scholarship this semester. As last season progressed, Fry said he had several conversations with special teams coordinator Joe Robinson about receiving a scholarship. The paperwork came through over Winter Break. 'I feel almost relieved, actually,' Fry said. 'It's awesome, obviously. Love it. Parents are happy about it, too.' Fry hopes to have more opportunities to kick this fall. He's competing to be South Carolina's kickoff specialist, a job currently held by senior Landon Ard. Either way, he'll retain field goal duties." - The Post and Courier

Stony Brook Seawolves Kicker, Punter & Snapper News

October 30, 2014 - punter Luke Allen
"A few years after moving from Blackburn, England, to Port Jefferson when he was 12 years old, Luke Allen traded in his soccer ball for a football, and the exchange has led him to success....  As a freshman at Stony Brook, he played in six games and had 21 kickoffs for 1,162 yards. While adapting well to kicking, Allen said he had a harder time punting, but worked hard to become the Seawolves' primary punter his sophomore year. He saw action in all 13 games, and punted 34 times for 1,181 yards. Seven of his punts fell inside the opposing team's 20-yard line, and three punts went 50 yards or more.... Allen played in one game in 2012 and was redshirted in 2013, but has returned to the Seawolves' gridiron this season. He continues to prove to people that the former soccer player has become a football standout. He continues to break his own career records, and at Elon University on Oct. 18, he booted not only a career-best, but also a school-record 72-yard punt. 'It was something that was always in the back of my head, that I'd like to break the record,' he said. 'I had the wind on my back, and usually when I'm punting from deep like that, I look to put it over the receiver's head. I did, and it took a nice bounce'." - Times Beacon Record

April 26, 2014 - spring game
"Redshirt freshman Ben Solis (Holland, Pa.) kicked a 20-yard field goal." - Seawolves

February 5, 2014 - punter Marc Nolan signs
"Woodstock, Ga./Blessed Trinity – honorable mention All-Georgia Class AAA…Kohl’s Professional Camps No. 14 punter…ESPN’s No. 36 punter…averaged 46 yards per punt…also has experience as placekicker, making 38 of 39 PATs and 11 of 15 FGs, including school record-tying 52-yarder." - Newsday