the study of the kicking components within sports

Monday, August 26, 2013

Virginia Tech Hokies 2013 Specialists


Our summer tour of FBS schools looks at the specialists for the Virginia Tech Hokies.

Kicker: Cody Journell, senior (Ripplemead, VA / Giles HS)
Journell was named to the 2013 Lou Groza Award preseason watch list.
2012: Played in all 13 games … Earned honorable mention All-America honors from SI.com … Was Tech’s primary place-kicker, but also kicked off late in the season … Was 20-for-25 on the year on field goals and 34-for-36 on PATs … Made game-winning kicks against Georgia Tech and Rutgers in overtime, as well as against Virginia as time expired
"His focus is much the same. 'We do a lot of strength training in the offseason, but other than that, it is just form,' Journell said. 'You just want to be as consistent as possible, but at the same time you are lifting and kicking every day and that helps increase your distance at the same time'.... After a long offseason following a difficult 7-6 mark in Blacksburg, Journell and the Hokies are glad to be back on the field. 'It is definitely good to be back, everybody anticipated a lot in the summer and there have been a lot of guys working here really hard,' he said. 'Everyone is determined to come in and make this a good year'.... Journell’s goal in 2013 is to be perfect, not only with his legs, but also trying to help Virginia Tech get back on top in the ACC.  '“I want to go 100 percent on field goals, just make sure I nail everything I can,' Journell said. 'As a team I know we want to win 10 games and win another championship'.”
Kicker/punter: Mitchell Ludwig, freshman (Abingdon, VA / Abingdon HS)
High school:  A first-team all-state selection as a kicker by VirginiaPreps his senior season … Averaged 42.5 yards per punt and dropped 48 percent of his punts inside the 20 yard line with just four touchbacks … Was good on 11 field goals and also put 40 of his 46 kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks … Averaged 44 yards per punt as a junior while depositing over 70 percent of kickoffs into the end zone as a junior … Converted 17 extra points as a junior and had seven field goals with a long of 49 yards … Set five school kicking and punting records and one state record submitted (single game six punts for 50.33 yard average)
"Following Tech’s first practice, head coach Frank Beamer spoke glowingly of a kicker named Ludwig.... 'He had an outstanding night kickoff-wise and did some nice punting,' Beamer said after Tech’s first practice.... That is really what intrigues Beamer about Ludwig. A year ago, Beamer tried three different kickers as the kickoff specialist, with varying degrees of success. Michael Branthover started out as that guy, and then Brooks Abbott got a look. Toward the very end of the season, though, Beamer replaced Abbott with Cody Journell. Abbott decided over the summer to transfer. 'We could never get the consistency in the kickoffs that we were looking for, and I ended up going with Cody Journell because I thought we had a better shot of getting the ball where we wanted on the field,' Beamer said. 'If you don’t have a shot at getting it to the end zone, you definitely want to place the ball. You want the ball where you’re coverage is going to be. I thought Cody gave us the best deal with that. If Ludwig can continue the way he did tonight [during the first practice] – he was knocking them to the back of the end zone and out of the end zone – then that takes care of kickoff returns'.”
Kicker: R.J. Warfel, freshman (Paeonian Springs, VA / Woodgrove HS)
High school: Lettered three times … A first-team All-Dulles District selection as a senior
Punter: A.J. Hughes, sophomore (Terre Haute, IN / Terre haute North Vigo HS)
2012: Played in all 13 games, serving as Tech’s punter for the entire year … Earned USA Today and ESPN.com all-bowl team honors … Averaged 40.6 yards on 76 punts for the year … Had a long of 53 yards with 22 inside the 20-yard line and 15 punts of 50 yards or longer
"Since the Russell Athletic Bowl, Hughes has been put on scholarship and followed up with an active offseason, punting with the coach of former Hokies kicker Brooks Abbott in Jacksonville, Fla., going to a camp in Wisconsin and returning to his home in Terre Haute, Ind., for more work. It was in Terre Haute that New York Giants punter Steve Weatherford put on a camp. Hughes and Weatherford, who is 11 years Hughes’ senior, both went to Terre Haute North Vigo High School. 'He’s just making millions in the NFL. He’s set the bar pretty high,' Hughes said. 'But as far as what I’ve picked up from him is not even big things as far as the punting game, but just how to be a good teammate, how to be a good person and just earn your respect. Yeah, he helped out punting. Just watching him I learned stuff. Honestly, I look at video of him kicking on my phone every day before I go out to practice. He’s such a raw talent.' Hughes would like to follow Weatherford’s lead and make the NFL. He wants to increase his hang time this year, getting up to 5 seconds on a consistent basis. Last year, he hit that mark once at a practice and maxed out at 4.8 seconds in a game against Florida State. This year, he’s done it several times. 'Just putting my team in a position to win — at the end of the day, that’s definitely my biggest goal,' Hughes said."
Punter: Hunter Windmuller, freshman (Oakton, VA / Flint Hill School)
2012: Battled in the preseason for the starting job, but ended up redshirting

High School: Lettered three times … A first-team All-Met selection as a kicker his senior year, as named by The Washington Post … Was also all-state (VISAA) and all-district … Made four field goals (long of 43 yards) and all 30 PATs … Averaged 47.1 yards per punt.
8/17/13 scrimmage"A.J. Hughes had an exam, so Hunter Windmuller stepped in to do the punting. He averaged 48.7 yards on three punts, booming one 51 yards. Derek DiNardo blocked one, but Windmuller picked it up and ran 17 yards for a first down, getting the biggest ovation of the day from the crowd on hand."
Punter: Michael Branthover, junior (Dayton, MD / DeMatha HS)
2012: Appeared in four games for a total of 20 plays on the kickoff unit … Averaged 59.7 yards on kickoffs with eight touchbacks
Long snapper: Joe St. Germain, junior (Los Alamitos, CA / Mater Dei HS)
Returning starter. Appeared in all 13 games, snapping over 130 times on punt, PATs and field goals last year.
Long snapper: Eddie D'Antuono, freshman (Alexandria, VA / Bishop Ireton HS)
Dressed for nearly every game as the back-up long snapper, but ended up redshirting … Saw work at both snapping spots during the spring
Long snapper: Colton Taylor, freshman (Salem, VA / Salem HS)
An invited walk-on graduated high school early and enrolled at Virginia Tech in January, 2013 … Went through off-season workouts with the team
"My offseason pretty much consisted of snapping everyday, working on my drop backs for blocking after the snap, and sprints down field. I would do this twice a day; morning and afternoon. I also got a workout in about 4 times a week, in the middle of each snapping session. My goals for the upcoming season would be to contribute to the team as much as possible and maybe even make the travel squad. The other two snappers have had a great off season as well so I don't mind hopping in line for the starting position, but ill for sure be ready when my name is called. I know coach Beamer will do what ever is best for the team."

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