the study of the kicking components within sports

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Michigan Wolverines Kicker, Punter & Snapper News

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April 10, 2015 - punter Blake O'Neill transfers
"O'Neill, from Australia but punted last fall for Weber State, will be eligible as well as a graduate student. 'We are looking forward to having a player of Blake's level of maturity, background and skill set -- growing up playing Australian rules football -- in our program,' U-M special teams coordinator John Baxter said in a released statement. 'Australian players have made a big impact on college football in the kicking game, like last year's Ray Guy Award winner, Tom Hackett from Utah. We are looking forward to the impact that Blake will have on our team and within our conference.' O'Neill should make an instant impact for the Wolverines, who lost punter Will Hagerup to graduation after last season. O'Neill finished six nationally among Football Championship Subdivision teams in punting during 2014, averaging 44.1 yards per punt.Before attending Weber State, O'Neill attended college in Melbourne, Australia." - Detroit Free Press

March 17, 2015 - spring kicking, from the beginning
A year removed from his last stint at Southern California, JohnBaxter is building his special teams unit from the ground up. After losing punter Will Hagerup and kicker Matt Wile to graduation, Baxter has his hands full tweaking the replacement candidates. 'What we’re doing is what pro baseball players call ‘the bullpen,’ he said. 'They’re just spinning balls into the net, they work the mechanics from the ground up, and that’s what we’re doing here. I’m taking these guys, and they’re kicking way less than they probably ever have, and we’re rebuilding them from the ground up.'... Anticipated starter Andrew David doesn’t arrive on campus for a few months, but in the meantime, Baxter is treating all of his players like starters. Sophomore Kyle Seychel, freshman Ryan Tice and senior Kenny Allen are all getting equal reps — albeit into the net." - Michigan daily

February 4, 2015 - kicker Andrew David signs
"Massillon, Ohio (Washington High School) ... served as kicker, kickoff specialist and punter ... notched school-record 58-yard field goal ... also posted 49- and 48-yard field goals during senior campaign ... averaged nearly 40 yards per punt ... Rivals.com two-star prospect ... three-star prospect according to Scout.com ... three-star recruit, No. 10 kicker prospect and No. 45 player in Ohio according to ESPN.com." - Wolverines

January 16, 2015 - John Baxter hired as special teams coordinator
"Head football coach Jim Harbaugh announced the hiring of John Baxter as the team's special teams coordinator. Baxter, known nationally for producing extremely-productive special teams play on the field and developing academic success for players off the field, comes to Ann Arbor after spending four years at the University of Southern California (2010-13) as the program's associate head coach and special teams coordinator." - Go Blue

October 20, 2014 - kicker/punter Ryan Tice to walk-on
"Saline High School kicker/punter Ryan Tice announced via Twitter that he'll play at Michigan next season as a preferred walk-on. Tice says he plans to enroll at Michigan in January as an early-enrollee. Michigan's starting placekicker (Matt Wile) and punter (Will Hagerup) are both seniors, and are both currently the only scholarship kickers on the roster. Next season, the Wolverines will welcome in Massillon (Ohio) High School kicker Andrew David as a scholarship placekicker. In addition, the Wolverines will still have punter/kicker Kenny Allen, a current third-year sophomore preferred walk-on. The 6-foot-1, 160-pound Tice will also join current freshman walk-on Kyle Seychel (Harland High School) in Michigan's kicking group next season." - MLive

October 14, 2014 - kicker Matt Wile hits some field goals, has a burger
"Beyond the postgame locker room celebration, Matt Wile simply went about his business. Michigan's kicker made three field goals, including one to tie the game and the eventual winner from 37 yards, against Penn State last weekend. He was named the Big Ten special teams player of the week after his career-best performance. He then went to Grizzly Peak in downtown Ann Arbor with his family. 'Had the smokehouse burger, which was delicious,' Wile said, smiling. That's about as crazy as it got for Wile, who is 8-for-12 on field goals." - Detroit News

September 19, 2014 - kicker Andrew David
"2015 kicker commitment Andrew David set a school record and came close to the Ohio state record on Friday with a successful 58 yard field goal attempt. 'I knew it was good immediately after contact,' David said. 'It felt amazing. I actually had a little bit too much loft underneath it, but it was really awesome to make it.' David is expected to compete immediately to be the Michigan placekicker next season, as current kicker Matt Wile graduates after this season." - 247 Sports

September 9, 2014 - kicker Matt Wile struggles, Kenny Allen competes
"Matt Wile's first season as Michigan's primary placekicker has gotten off to a rocky start. Wile, a senior from San Diego, missed field goals of 46 and 48 yards last week against Notre Dame, making him a shaky 1-for-4 on the young season. Was last week's struggle enough to cost him his job? 'I've got a lot of faith in Matt, but we've got to get him straightened away,' Michigan coach Brady Hoke said Monday. 'The right hash was a little bit of a problem for him, he has to get that straightened out. The second one, he slipped with his plant foot and that's what caused that one'.... At this point, the only other real option behind Wile is third-year sophomore Kenny Allen, a preferred walk-on kicker/punter from Fenton. Allen has never attempted a collegiate kick, but according to Hoke, he'll get a look during practice this week. '(The kickers) are no different than anybody else,' Hoke said. 'They're going to compete and challenge. Kenny, we'll give some kicks to and we'll see who we're most comfortable with and who can help Michigan win. And that's who will kick for us'."- MLive

August 27, 2014 - punter Will Hagerup returns
He’s back, reinstated for his fifth year, and referred last spring to his appreciation for the support of the U-M coaches, athletic director Dave Brandon and associate AD Greg Harden, plus addictions therapist/personal counselor Wendy Yallop through his off-field issues. 'Everybody’s heard the deal over and over, so I’m not going to be sitting there on the bench thinking about what happened the last year and a half,' Hagerup said. 'We have a game to win.' In that direction, he has shown his booming leg in camp. 'What I like about Will is how he’s come back, and that’s hard,' coach Brady Hoke said last week. 'I’m proud of him. When he’s on, which two years ago he was on most of the time, he’s very effective changing the field'.” - Detroit Free Press

August 23, 2014 - kicker Matt Wile & co-specialists
"Matt Wile said he’s now competing for all three kicking responsibilities -- kickoffs, field goals and punts. Most, though, expect him to handle the first two, while Hagerup returns to take over punts. 'He has got a definite cannon for a leg,' Wile said of Hagerup. As for his own leg, Wile said he’s comfortable kicking from upwards of 55 yards. From 55 to 59 yards, he said is where 'sometimes I’ll have it, sometimes I won’t.' The farthest field goal he’s hit in practice measured 63 or 64 yards.... Wile has spent recent days resting, letting his kicking foot heal. To hear him explain it, a scab has developed atop the foot from over-kicking. Both he and Hoke said the rest if mostly precautionary. Sophomore kicker/punter Kenny Allen has served as Wile’s holder through the preseason. According to Wile, if there’s ever a fake, Allen has the better throwing arm, but he (Wile) is capable of gaining a few yards on foot." - MLive

August 10, 2014 - coach Brady Hoke discusses specialists
“Matt Wile has done a nice job in his career so far with the kicking part of it. Will Hagerup - it's great to have Will back. He's had a good camp so far punting. Kenny Allen is a young man who walked on here who works really hard and is developing in a little bit of the kickoffs, and he's also a very good punter. At snapper, Scott Sypniewski and Dan Liesman are two guys that are really competing there. Scott we brought in a year ago, and we were able to redshirt him. Losing Jareth Glanda was a big loss, but Scott has done a nice job in that part of it." -  Maize & Blue News

May 9, 2014 - kicker J.J. McGrath to transfer
"Preferred walk-on redshirt freshman kicker J.J. McGrath plans to transfer from the Michigan football program. McGrath, a 6-foot-2, 233-pound kicker from Lutheran North High School in Macomb, joined the Wolverines as a preferred walk-on in January of 2013 and had hopes of eventually earning a scholarship with the team. Michigan currently has one scholarship placekicker on its roster in senior Matt Wile, and plans to give another to 2015 Massillon, Ohio kicker Andrew David. McGrath, in search of a scholarship, will be eligible immediately." - MLive

April 1, 2014 - punter Will Hagerup refocus and third chance
A week after being named Big Ten punter of the year in 2012, he was suspended for a violation of team rules and missed the bowl. Michigan coach Brady Hoke held him out last season, and Hagerup was given the year to refocus. 'A lot of growth happened,' Hagerup said. Looking back, Hagerup said the off-field mistakes were just as important as his on-field success in shaping who he is.... Hagerup since then has met weekly with his counselor; Greg Harden, associate athletic director for counseling; Hoke and athletic director Dave Brandon. Sometimes each meeting lasts a few minutes, and sometimes they’ve lasted several hours....
Now, back in the fold, Hagerup is competing for his job with Matt Wile, who punted last season, and Kenny Allen. Physically, he said he is unchanged. The change is mental. 'And how I treat each practice as an opportunity rather than (taking it) for granted,' Hagerup said. 'That’s helped me with competition. I have one season left. I’m more focused than I ever have been'.” - The Detroit News

February 21, 2014 - long snapper Andrew Robinson commits as preferred walk-on
Michigan landed one of the nation's top long-snappers as a preferred walk-on today when Troy Athens' Andrew Robinson made his decision to be a Wolverine. 'I chose Michigan because I really loved the football program all around when I went there for a visit,' he said. 'I was really impressed with the facilities. But I didn't pick Michigan just off of football, I really looked into their academics and I am interested in going into pre-med and I felt Michigan could help me to reach my goal academically.' As much opportunity as there is academically, there is also great opportunity on the field. 'I was told I would come in at the start of camp and be able to challenge the current snapper for the starting job, if not i would be the back up snapper'." - Scout.com

January 28, 2014 - kicker Brendan Gibbons expelled
"The Washtenaw County prosecutor’s office is not reviewing possible charges against former Michigan kicker Brendan Gibbons, who was expelled from the university last month after it said he had violated its Student Sexual Misconduct Policy. The violation stemmed from an alleged sexual misconduct incident Nov. 22, 2009, for which Gibbons was never charged. Gibbons was a redshirt freshman that year on the football team. He was in graduate school and had completed his football eligibility — with the exception of the bowl game — when he was expelled. Gibbons was informed of his expulsion in a letter sent Dec. 19, 2013, and mailed to his home address in Florida from the University’s Office of Student Conflict Resolution, which handles disciplinary proceedings against students. The letter was reviewed by the Michigan Daily, which first reported the story on Tuesday. In the letter, he was informed he would be “permanently separated” from the university on Dec. 20. The Daily indicated it did not obtain the documents from the university. In the legal realm, though, Gibbons likely will not face further proceedings." - Detroit News

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