the study of the kicking components within sports

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Draft Preview: Richie Leone

Among the punters eligible for this year's NFL draft, or signing as an undrafted free agent thereafter, is Houston's Richie Leone. He ranks in the top five in the majority of the various draft rankings.

Excerpts from Leone's profile page on the Cougars' website:

2013 Senior Season
  • Second team All-American by the Football Writers Association of America
  • named a Ray Guy Award semifinalist for the third straight year
  • one of two players to be named Ray Guy Award Player of the Week on two occasions
  • only the third player in UH history to lead the program in punting in four straight years ... 
  • ranked third nationally as 34 of his 73 landed inside the 20 (46.6 percent) while pinning 14 (19.2 percent) inside the 10-yard line
  • led Houston to a No. 3 national ranking in net punting at 41.4 yards per punt
  • had just three touchbacks on the year ... had 16 punts over 50 yards, including four over 60 yards ... forced opponents to call for a fair catch 34 times (46.6 percent)
  • also the team's kickoff specialist, sending 37 of his 78 kickoffs (47.4 percent) out for touchbacks ... averaged 63.5 yards per kickoff
  • Houston's starting kicker for the first seven games of the season ... connected on all 32 of his extra point attempts and was 11-of-17 on field goals with a long of 40 yards
2012 Junior Season
  • Named first team All-Conference USA
  • led Conference USA and tied a Houston single-season record with an average punt of 45.5 yards
  • led the conference with 20 punts over 50 yards including four over 60 yards
  • hit a career-long 77-yard punt against Louisiana Tech
  • placed 18 of his 60 punts inside the 20-yard line including nine inside the 10-yard line ... just 21 punts were returned with opponents calling for 24 fair catches and just six touchbacks on the year
  • also handled kickoff duties with 25 touchbacks on 71 kickoffs
2011 Sophomore Season
  • Honorable Mention All-Conference USA
  • Semifinalist for the Ray Guy National Punter of the Year Award
  • Had 12 punts of 50+ yards and 15 punts caught/downed inside the 20
2010 Freshman Season
  • Played in all 12 games
  • Handled all punting duties and kickoff duties
High School
  • No. 16 punter by at Roswell High
  • Named to the Class 5A All-Decade Team by Georgia High School Football Daily
  • Selected to the Class 5A First-Team All-State by Atlanta Journal-Constitution
  • GACA North-South All-Star Football Classic participant
  • Four-year varsity player 
  • Averaged 46.4 yards per punt as a senior and 42.3 yards per punt as a junior

College Stats:
2013: 73 punts, 43.2 yard average, long of 65 yards
2012: 60 punts, 45.5 yard average, long of 77 yards
2011: 51 punts, 41.2 yard average, long of 63 yards
2010: 35 punts, 41.4 yard average, long of 63 yards

At the NFL Scouting Combine last month, Leone discussed sevral stages of his kicking career:
“When I was in 8th grade, I was winning kicking competitions with only high schoolers and I was the youngest kid there. It was kind of a moment in my life where I chose the kicking route....

It’s a dream; it’s something as a kid you watch on TV and competing, although I would have to look up the kicking stats on line. I’m really enjoying the moment right now and sharing it back with my family as they’ve been calling me non-stop....

I’ve been to a couple of Texans games, one this past year and when he played for the Raiders. My dad and I got tickets just so we can watch Lechler warm up so I can emulate him a little bit.”

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