Our summer tour of FBS schools looks at the specialists for the Arkansas Razorbacks.
"Zach Hocker told new coach Bret Bielema last December that he wanted to add punting to his field goal and kickoff duties. Bielema, who was unsure whether Hocker's right leg could withstand the workload, promised to consider the request. Hocker earned all three positions with a solid preseason camp. Bielema plans to keep Hocker fresh by giving him Wednesdays and Fridays off from practice."Kicker/punter: Zach Hocker, senior (Russellville, AR / Russellville HS)
“All last season, I just wasn’t confident in myself,” Hocker said. “I don’t know if it was the chemistry on the field. I don’t know if it was the adversity that our team faced, but I was timid. I didn’t go out on the field like I did freshman and sophomore year saying ‘I know I am going to make this kick.’ I honestly can’t pinpoint what it was,” Hocker said. “I might have just started off slow and then made it a mental thing. But this spring game felt more confident than ever and I would like to carry it over into the fall.” One reason that happened is because new Razorback head coach Bret Bielema came in and asked Hocker to pick out both his holder and his snapper. “I just feel like this year our team is so much more confident, especially with myself – working with three guys in my unit that I was with all day long, a snapper and holder that I am friends with on and off the field and we have nice chemistry built up,” Hocker said. “I would love to see a much more consistent season, much like my freshman and sophomore season. So if we can get to that point for this next fall, then I will be happy.”Kicker: John Henson, junior (Southlake, TX / Carroll HS)
Red-White Game: Henson was good on attempts of 48 and 22 yards, but missed a 32-yard attempt off the upright in the first half. He was 2-for-3 in the second half as well, making kicks for 22 and 32, but missing one from 44 yards.Kicker: Adam McFain, freshman (Greenwood, AR / Greenwood HS)
2012 - McFain worked with the specialists while redshirting.Kicker: Seung Jae Lee, freshman (Korea / Shiloh Christian)
High School - In his senior season, he was 14-of-17 on field goals and 69-of-72 on PAT attempts. He helped Greenwood to consecutive 5A state championships his final two years, including a perfect 14-0 season as a senior in 2011. He left Greenwood holding the state record for most points in a season by a kicker with 111 in 2011.
"I was in PE class and we were playing kick ball," said Lee. "I hit a ball really hard and the football coach came up to me and said, ‘Hey, do you want to play football?"Lee went home to talk to his parents about joining the football team and immediately his talent stood out. "I came out the next day and I hit a 45 yard field goal as an 8th grader," he said. "So I realized I do have natural talent and I developed that and this is where I am now." Lee will join the rest of the incoming freshman early this summer for team works out.Punter: Sam Irwin Hill, junior (Bendigo Australia, City College of San Francisco)
Irwin-Hill is an ambidextrous punter, possessing the ability to punt with either leg, and ranked as the No. 1 junior college punter in America by 247Sports.com. He was named a first-team All-American as a sophomore after punting 44 times for an average of 41.7 yards per punt, including a long of 77 yards, and also dropped 15 punts inside the 20-yard line while helping City College advance to the California Community College Athletic Association championship game and finish the season 10-2.Punter: Toby Baker, freshman (Memphis, TN / Memphis University School)
2012 - Baker worked with the specialists while redshirting.Long snapper: Alan D'Appollonio, junior (Phoenix, AZ / Shadow Mountain HS)
High Sschool - He was a starting quarterback and punter as a senior, leading Memphis University School to a district title and earning all-state accolades at punter. He left as the school's record holder for career punt average at 39.55. As a junior, he also earned all-state recognition and was the runner-up for Mr. Football in Tennessee while breaking the school's single-season punt average record at 42.02.
D'Appollonio has been added to the Razorbacks' 85-man scholarship limit after walking-on. He is listed as starter on the team's post-spring depth chart. "After years of hard work, today I was finally awarded a Full Ride Scholarship! Thanks be to God!! And thank you to everyone who has helped me get to this point!"Long snapper: Drew Gorton, sophomore (Fayetteville, AR / Fayetteville HS)
"This off season, we've been in the weight room a lot working with Coach Herbert. I had a very successful spring in the classroom and on the field. This summer, the majority of us athletes are taking summer classes. We just got back into the summer workout routine and one of my personal goals is to gain 10 pounds before camp starts."Long snapper: Matt Emrich, freshman (El Dorado, AR / El Dorado HS)
Coach Bielema Post Spring Press Event (on holder) – "He (Emrich) is actually a walk-on, a snapper that joined us in January. (Kicker) Zach (Hocker) has felt good about him all the way through. Obviously he was really good on Saturday."