the study of the kicking components within sports

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Small College Kickers & Punters 2013

A random sampling of just a few of this year's specialists at D2, D2 and NAIA colleges:

Menlo College, punter/kicker Kevin Kurtz
"I'm a senior at Menlo College in California. Its me as the punter and KO specialist and another senior Ben Vega for place kicking. During the off season I really focused on my strength and flexibility. hit the weights pretty hard and did a lot of yoga and band stretches. this turned out to be really beneficial in terms of distance and height. I know Ben Vega also hit the weights, but he also focused a lot on speed training over the off season. During camp, we've had a huge emphasis on ball placement on punts and KOs. everything is either going to the corners or to a side line. So we're really focusing on shortening the field for our coverage team this camp."
Huntingdon College, specialists
"The Hawks return David Ballard at punter and place-kicker and Cameron Lewis at long snapper for a third straight season and quarterback Taylor Hughes is back at holder for a second season. Ballard, who was the starting punter and backup kicker as a freshman and the starter at both positions last season, ranks third in program history in punts and punt yardage (94-for 3,222) and is third in punt average (34.3) for punters with at least 90 attempts. His 48 career extra points rank fourth in program history and his four career field goals are fifth. 'Anytime you have that much experience in an area like this, it's a good thing,' Turk said. 'The place-kicker is at the mercy of the snapper and the holder. When the snapper and the holder are dependable, the kicker has a lot more confidence that the ball is going to be where it is supposed to be. All three of those guys take pride in trying to do their job perfectly each time and that makes a big difference. 'As a punter, David has been consistent for us. He catches it, he gets it out of there and he locates it pretty well. The coverage team has to do its part, but when you kick it where you're supposed to, the other team doesn't get many yards.' Junior Jimbo Turk enters the season as the backup kicker and punter. Turk said freshman quarterback Austin Johnson has also shown early potential as a punter."
Northern Michigan University, kicker Jonathan Linkenheimer
"Entering his second week at Northern Michigan University, Jonathan Linkenheimer thinks he has finally found the right place to be. 'I like the smaller environment,' Linkenheimer said. 'I do (miss) seeing 70-plus-thousand (fans) in the stands every weekend. Do I get it here? No. But, it's very enjoyable being here.' The former Mainland kicker, who has made stops at Purdue University and the University of Southern Mississippi along the way, will get a fresh start this coming fall with the Division II program. Linkenheimer said the opportunity to kick indoors at the Superior Dome, the world's largest wooden dome structure, was a major factor in his decision to enroll. 'It's very controlled; it's a lot easier,' he said. 'You don't have to worry about wind or the conditions outside, especially for us up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It snows a lot, and it snows early'.”
Central College, specialists
"The strength of the special teams last year was one of the squad's most consistent players, junior kicker Kevin Sheldon, a first-team all-conference selection in each of his first two college seasons. He was a third-team all-West Region pick by Sheldon was perfect on 25 extra-point tries and 12 of 17 on field goals (70.6% with a long of 47 yards, only 5 yards shy of the school record. He's missed just one extra point attempt at Central (47-48). 'His leg definitely helps us,' McMartin said. Forsythe handled the punting duties last year, averaging 37.7 yards with nine kicks inside the opponent's 20-yard line. But there are other options. Senior Tanner Price (5-10, 245) can kick and punt as can  sophomore Jacob De Waard."
Henderson State University, specialists
"Charles Gonsalves is back for his senior season and will handle most of the kicking duties for the Reddies. The McKinney, Texas native holds the HSU single-season record for PAT kicks with 63 In 2012 he led the GAC in scoring with 90 points. Gonsalves also averaged 48.4 yards per kickoff. Redshirt Addison Allen may also handle some of the kicking duties. Christian LaToof has been Henderson’s punter the last two seasons and has averaged 36.9 yards per boot. The junior from Dekalb, Texas has had 22 of his 90 career punts downed inside the 20."
Missouri S&T, specialists
"With the players involved in the kicking and punting games back for the upcoming season, the Miners enter the year with a good situation in those spots. S&T used two kickers during the season after a season-ending injury felled Adam Peden (Bloomington, Ill./Bloomington) four weeks into the year.  Peden had connected on all 15 of his extra point attempts and five of his seven field goal tries, including a season-best 43-yarder in the season opener.  After Peden's injury, David Druse (Coal City, Ill./Coal City HS) took over and was eight-of-12 on field goal attempts and went 36-of-43 on point after tries. 'Adam is a very consistent kicker and David has been a solid kicker that we wouldn't be afraid to put in there,' said Miner head coach Tyler Fenwick. Sophomore Logan Turk (Moberly, Mo./Moberly) handled the kickoff duties last year in fine fashion and is also back in the fold this season as are holder Reed Brown (Rogers, Ark./Heritage HS) and long snapper Jon Vance (Marshalltown, Iowa/Marshalltown). Punter Cole Wassner (Quartz Hill, Calif./Quartz Hill), who averaged over 33 yards per punt last year and has had only one touchback in two seasons, also returns.   A pair of incoming freshmen, Tyler Swart (Dickinson, Texas/Dickinson) and Will Rogers (Springfield, Mo./Glendale), will attempt to compete for that position. 'Cole has a great leg and great hang time, which is really important to get people downfield to prevent returns,' Fenwick said."
If you have news to share regarding other D2, D3, NAIA or Juco kickers, punters or long snappers, please let us know!

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