the study of the kicking components within sports

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Draft Preview: Jeff Locke

Draft update 4/27: Minnesota selected Locke in the fifth round of the draft. This follows recent speculation that the Vikings were looking to replace current starting punter Chris Kluwe.

Among the punters eligible for this year's NFL draft, or signing as an undrafted free agent thereafter, is UCLA's Jeff Locke. He ranks in the top five, including several number one rankings, in the majority of the various draft rankings.

Excerpts from Locke's profile page on the Bruins' website:

2012 Senior Season
  • career punting average of 44.23 ranks No. 2 in UCLA history
  • Semifinalist for the Ray Guy Award as the nation's top punter ... 
  • Named first-team All-Pac-12 by the league coaches, Phil Steele and
  • Earned first-team all-conference academic team honors
  • Led the Pac-12 kickers with 34 punts inside the 20-yard line (21 at or inside the opponent's 10-yard line)
  • Also recorded 68 touchbacks on his 89 kickoffs, to top the league in that category
  • Selected to play in the Senior Bowl college all-star game
  • earned the Captains Award, the Jack R. Robinson Award for the Senior with the Highest Scholarship, the Paul I. Wellman Memorial Award for All-Around Excellence and the Kenneth S. Washington Award for Outstanding Senior of the Year on Special Teams at the annual team banquet
2011 Junior Season
  • Ranked fifth in the Pac-12 and 12th in the nation in punt average 
  • Named to the second-team All-Pac-12 academic team for the third straight season
  • Earned Tommy Prothro team award for Outstanding Special Teams Player
  • Kicked the first field goals of his career against Texas (51, 49 yards) and added a season-long 70-yard punt
2010 Sophomore Season
  • Named to the Watch List for the 2010 Ray Guy Award
  • Ranked first in Pac-10 and fourth in NCAA in punting average
  • Punter on the ESPN Academic All-District 8 team and the Pac-10 All-Academic first team
  • At Cal, he averaged 48.3 yards on a career-high nine punts (435 yards was also a career-best)
  • Placed three punts inside the 20 and averaged 69.5 yards on two kickoffs
2009 Freshman Season
  • One of 10 semifinalists for the Ray Guy Award (the only freshman)
  • First-team Pac-10 All-Academic team selection
  • Named freshman All-America by
  • Named to The Sporting News All-Freshman team
  • Averaged 43.63 yards per kick which ranked 16th in NCAA, second in Pac-10
  • Placed 20 of his 70 kicks inside the 20-yard line and had 12 kicks of 50 yards or more 
  • Produced 20 touchbacks, most in the Pac-10, on kickoffs
  • Punted six times for a 48.2 mark at Arizona, including an 81-yard boot 
High School
  • Lettered four seasons at Mountain Ridge HS in Glendale, AZ for coach Bobby Green. Played wide receiver, punter and kicker.
  • Parade All-American ... EA Sports first-team All-American
  • Ranked No. 1 kicker by ESPN ... Ranked No. 1 nationally at punter by
  • Selected for Under Armour All-America Game
  • As a senior, he was selected All-Arizona and first-team all-state
  • Set school records for most field goals in a season (11); longest punt (71 yards); longest field goal (63 yards, a state record)
  • As a senior, he averaged 43.6 yards on 38 punts with 10 inside the 20-yard line ... Had 47 touchbacks on 54 kickoffs ... Converted 29 of 32 extra point attempts ... Made 11 of 20 field goals, long of 63 yards
  • As a junior, he averaged 43.3 yards on 46 punts with nine inside the 20 ... 33 touchbacks on 40 kickoffs ... Converted all 13 PATs ... Made seven of 11 field goals, long of 43 yards
  • Named All-Region in soccer his last three prep seasons ... As a junior, he was selected second-team All-State and Region Player of the Year.

College Stats:
2012: 77 punts, 43.3 yard average, long of 64 yards
2011: 64 punts, 44.3 yard average, long of 70 yards
2010: 64 punts, 45.8 yard average, long of 63 yards
2009: 70 punts, 43.6 yard average, long of 81 yards

We checked in with Jeff for a look back and a look ahead:
"Looking back on my college career, I hope people say that I helped contribute to some of the success we had and that I upheld UCLA's very strong tradition of specialists. I was very fortunate to have great coaches and teammates during my five years at UCLA that helped me to develop and perform on the field. Many of these coaches and former teammates, such as current NFL specialists Christian Yount and Kai Forbath, have really helped in my pursuit of an opportunity in the NFL. I am looking forward to the end of April to see which team will give me the opportunity to come in and win the job." 

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