the study of the kicking components within sports

Friday, July 12, 2013

Illinois Fighting Illini 2013 Specialists

Our summer tour of FBS schools looks at the specialists for the Illinois Fighting Illini.

Kicker: Taylor Zalewski, sophomore (Orland Park, IL / Carl Sandburg HS)
With Nick Immekus gone, Zalewski is the frontrunner to handle placekicking and kickoffs.
"During the offseason I've been working hard at getting stronger and more flexible along with trying to become more consistent with my technique. Kicking three days a week, workouts with the team, and stretching has helped to improve my leg strength and accuracy. My goal for this season is to become a consistent kicker by being dependable when I'm needed to help them team. Staying mentally tough in all situations and bringing my A game every time I step on the field."
Kicker/punter: Ryan Frain, freshman (Indianapolis, IN / Scecina HS)
"We don't really have an offseason. We had a couple weeks off in May but have been lifting/running 5 days a week since June 1st with kicking on 3 of those days. Personally, I stretch at least twice a day. We stretch as a position group about twice a week. My plans for the summer and upcoming season are to be consistent, consistency was what I struggled with and hitting the same ball every time is a something I need to practice."
Kicker: Brennen Van Mieghem, sophomore (Metamora, IL / Metamora Township HS)
"Our specialist group has been having an amazing summer in terms of training and getting better for the upcoming season. We have all seen significant improvements from last fall and this spring even. We are focused on becoming consistently one of the best specialist groups in the country. We are all very close and we have developed friendships that will last a lifetime. Our goals for the season are to be atop the big ten in nearly every category and top 20 nationally. Our special teams were the highest ranked aspect of last season so we are trying to take that momentum and build upon it."
Kicker: David Reisner, freshman (Bartlett, IL / Navy)
Transferred from Navy.
High School: four-year letterwinner in football and also competed in track & field ... earned Honorable Mention All-State (IL), all-area and all-conference honors as a junior and senior
Punter: Justin DuVernois, junior (Plantation, FL / St. Thomas Aquinas)
During his sophomore season, Duvernois ranked fourth in the Big Ten with a 41.9 average on 73 punts including 19 inside the 20. Against Western Michigan he recorded a career-long 72-yard punt and punted eight times for 350 total yards. Duvernois has been the starting punter since his freshmen year.
Punter: Brad Janitz, senior (Cincinnati, OH / Walnut Hills HS)
"I've been working out with the team, taking class as well as working at an internship. The summer has also given myself as well as the rest of kicker/punters the opportunity to focus on individual improvement in our game. As the summer comes to a close, the anticipation of camp and the season has been building as we are looking forward to coming out as a new team and getting the opportunity to prove ourselves in the big ten and throughout the nation. As a kps unit we are excited to build upon the success that we had last year, and lead the big ten in all categories."
Long snapper: Zach Hirth, freshman (Eureka, MO / Eureka HS)
'Someone has to get the ball to punter Justin DuVernois and holder Tim Russell. It appears the responsibility will fall to Hirth, who did not play last year. The red-shirt freshman had the chance to learn from three-year starter Zak Pedersen last fall.'
Long snapper: Michael Martin, freshman (Champaign, IL / Centennial HS)
Competing gainst Hirth for the starting job.
Spring practice awards: won the Academic Excellence Award.
Long snapper: Blake Flannigan, freshman (Sikeston, MO / Sikeston HS)
Joined the team as a walk-on in summer 2013

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