Our summer tour of FBS schools looks at the specialists for the Navy Midshipmen.
Head coach Ken Niumatalolo:
“Pablo Beltran is one of the best football players on our team. Nick Sloan proved last year that he can hit kicks in crunch situations. Joe Cardona is as good a long snapper as I’ve ever been around. I’m excited that we don’t have four kickers, three snappers, two holders. It’s one snapper, one holder, one kicker. They can get used to each other and get the mechanics down pat.”Kicker: Nick Sloan, sophomore (San Diego, CA / Scripps Ranch HS)
Enters the fall as Navy's starting kicker for field goals and extra-points ... beat out five other kickers last fall to earn the job ... 2012: led Navy with 71 points (41 PATs, 10 FGs), the ninth most by a freshman kicker in the FBS in 2012 ... made 10 of his 15 field goals on the year and was flawless on extra points (41-for-41)
“I had a little difficulty with some of the longer kicks last season. My legs were definitely a little weak coming out of plebe summer. Now I’m more where I want to be strength-wise.”
Favorite meal in King Hall: "Spaghetti and meatballs"Kicker: Colin Amerau, junior (Alexandria, VA / Mount Vernon HS)
What I love on game day: "I'm too busy to think about what I love because I'm so nervous"
Favorite class: "US Naval History because my professor was awesome"
Returning starter as the kickoff specialist ... has the strongest leg on the team ... Finished the 2012 season with a 60.7 kickoff average with 19 of his 63 kickoffs going down as touchbacksKicker: Austin Grebe, sophomore (Stafford, VA / North Stafford HS)
Enters the fall second on the depth chart at kicker behind Nick SloanKicker: Kyle O'Connor, freshman (New Bern, NC / New Bern HS)
High school: two-sport athlete who earned letters in football (4) and soccer (2) ... earned All-State (N.C.) and all-county honors as a seniorKicker: Max Lee, freshman (San Diego, CA / Francis Parker HS)
High school: a four-sport standout who earned letters in football (3), lacrosse (3), soccer (2) and track & field (1) ... named to the Union Tribune All-Academic Team multiple times for football, lacrosse and soccerKicker: Alex Barta, freshman (Clarkston, MI / Clarkston HS)
High school: a two-sport athlete who earned three letters in football and two in baseball ... garnered all-county football honors as a senior and was named the specialist of the seasonKicker/punter: DJ Grant-Johnson, freshman (Hilo, HI / Kamehameha Hawaii)
High school: a three-sport athlete who earned letters in football (3), soccer (3) and volleyball (2) ... a two-time (2011-12) All-State (Hawai'i), all-region and all-area selection in footballKicker/punter: Andrew Mitchell, freshman (Destin , FL / Niceville HS)
High school: two-sport athlete who lettered four times each in basketball and football ... an all-county kicker as a sophomore, he earned All-Panhandle Kicker honors as a junior and All-State (Fla.) honors as a kicker his senior year ... kicked eight field goals as a senior, including a career-long 58 yardsPunter: Pablo Beltran, junior (Humble, TX / Atascocita HS)
Navy's starting punter each of the last two seasons ... enters the fall listed first on the depth chart ... also serves as the holder on extra points and field goals ... is averaging 40.9 yards per punt on 79 punts in his career, which ranks third all-time at Navy
"During the off season I've been working on both the physical and mental side of the game. Physically I have focused on overall strength core strength, leg speed and flexibility. Punting wise I've worked on the timing between my second step hitting the ground, and the ball leaving my hand. The extra split second that I hold on to the ball will hopefully give me better hang time. I had way too many mis-hits last season, so mentally I've worked on playing the game in my head before it happens. Timing with Joe Cardona will be key as we go into our third season together, and the better season we have, the better chance we give our team win the field position battle."Punter: Gavin Jernigan, sophomore (Lawndale, CA / Mira Costa HS)
"I have been lifting and running with the team. Also, I have been specifically working on overall fitness and athleticism. My goal for the season is to help my team become the best team we can be."Punter: Justin Haan, senior (Byron Center, MI / Calvin College)
Enters the fall third on the depth chart at punter behind Beltran and Jernigan ... missed all of 2011 while doing missionary work in AfricaLong snapper: Joe Cardona, junior (El Cajon, CA / Granite Hills HS)
Returning two-year starter at long snapper ... is one of the top long snappers in school history ... is the second freshman to start at long snapper in program history
"Throughout the off-season here at Navy, we have been working together at least a few times a week; Kicking, punting, and snapping together to help build chemistry. We are an experienced special teams unit and we are returning all of our starters. In the upcoming season, we are looking to prove ourselves as an elite special teams unit throughout the country. Our punter, Pablo Beltran, is a two year starter, and our kicker, Nick Sloan, was outstanding as a freshman. We are looking to have a great year."Long snapper: Josh Antol, freshman (Trabuco Canyon, CA / Mission Viejo HS)
High school: a football letterwinner, he was the team's long snapper and played two years on the offensive line ... ranked 11th nationally and first in the state of California as a long snapper