the study of the kicking components within sports

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Draft Preview: Zach Hocker

Among the kickers eligible for this year's NFL draft, or signing as an undrafted free agent thereafter, is Arkansas's Zach Hocker. He ranks in the top ten in the majority of the various draft rankings.

Excerpts from Hocker's profile page on the Razorbacks' website:

2013 Senior Season
  • Associated Press All-SEC Second Team
  • Hocker wrapped up his career holding school records for points and points by a kicker with 354, field goal percentage at 77.2 percent, PATs made with 171, PAT attempts with 173 and 61 made field goals
  • He also ranks sixth on the SEC's career PATs made list, seventh in PAT attempts, eighth in points scored and tied for 10th in field goals made
  • This season, three of his field goals rank among the 15 longest in school history, including a 54 yarder that is tied for the eighth-longest by a Razorback
  • Hocker also kicked off 50 times, averaging 63.2 yards per kickoff with 34 touchbacks. His touchback percentage of 68 percent ranks second in the SEC and fifth in the NCAA, and his average is fourth in the conference and 18th in the nation
2012 Junior Season
  • He averaged at least 64 yards per kickoff in 10 of 12 games. His kickoff average led the NCAA, and his touchback percentage of 67.27 ranked second in the SEC and sixth in the NCAA while his 39 total touchbacks were third in the conference and tied for 11th in the nation.
  • He was recognized as an SEC Special Teams Player of the Week following the 49-7 win vs. Kentucky when he tied his career highs with seven made PATs and six touchbacks
  • He averaged 70.8 yards on five kickoffs with four touchbacks while adding one 37-yard field goal and 4-of-4 on PAT attempts vs. ULM
  • He broke the UA record for career PATs made vs. Ole Miss, as part of a of 3-of-3 game. He also was 2-of-2 on field goals with four touchbacks on six kickoffs
  • At No. 12 South Carolina, he broke the UA kick scoring record with eight points as he was 2-of-2 on field goals and 2-of-2 on PATs and added three touchbacks on four kickoffs
2011 Sophomore Season
  • He broke the Arkansas single-season record for points by a kicker with 118
  • He also kicked off 93 times for an average of 67.8 yards per kick with 40 touchbacks in his first season as a collegian handling kickoff duties in addition to placekicking. 
  • He led all SEC kickers and was second overall in the conference and 17th in the NCAA with his average of 9.1 points per game. 
  • His 40 touchbacks were the most in the SEC and ranked second in the NCAA, and his touchback percentage of 43.01 was second in the conference and third in the country. His average kickoff distance of 67.8 yards also was second in the SEC and ranked fourth in the nation. 
  • His 21 made field goals and 27 field goal attempts both ranked second on the respective single-season lists at UA, while his 57 PAT kick attempts stood as the third-highest single-season total in school history and his 55 PAT makes ranked fourth on the single-season list. 
  • He was named SEC Special Teams Player of the Week after he was 2-of-2 on PATs and 3-of-3 on field goals, including a season-long 50 yarder, and recorded two touchbacks on seven kickoffs in the 31-28 victory at Vanderbilt.
  • He wrapped up the season by tying his career high for field goals with a 3-of-3 performance, tying the bowl record for made field goals, and adding two PATs and four touchbacks on seven kickoffs while helping Arkansas defeat No. 11 Kansas State 29-16 in the AT&T Cotton Bowl. 
  • He also made three tackles, one each vs. New Mexico, vs. South Carolina and at LSU, and recovered one fumble vs. South Carolina.
2010 Freshman Season
  • He appeared in all 13 games for the Razorbacks and was named to the SEC All-Freshman Team 
  • Hocker's 104 points scored were seventh in the SEC in 2010 and ranked as the fourth-highest single-season total in school history and the third most by a kicker. 
  • His .842 field goal percentage ranked third in the SEC and tied for 21st in the NCAA and was the third-best single-season percentage (min. 10 attempts) in school history. 
High School
  • Hocker earned all-state honors in 2009 at Russellville High School
  • ranked as the best kicker in the state of Arkansas by Scout.com
  • selected to play in the Arkansas High School Coaches Association East-West Shrine game
  • As a senior, he helped Russellville to an 8-3-1 record and kicked a school-record 15 field goals
  • All but three of his 61 kickoffs reached the end zone for a touchback, resulting in opponents starting from their 20-yard line more than 95 percent of the time
  • He finished the season with a 45-yard average on 35 punt attempts. He averaged more than 45 yards in seven games and 14 of his punts were downed inside the 20.
  • He kicked four field goals in a 26-26 tie at Fayetteville, including a school-record 52 yarder


College Stats:
2013: 13 of 15 (86.7%) FGs; 28 of 28 PATs; 67 points
2012: 11 of 18 (61.1%) FGs; 32 of 32 PATs; 65 points
2011: 21 of 27 (77.8%) FGs; 55 of 57 PATs; 118 points
2010: 16 of 19 (84.2%) FGs; 56 of 56 PATs; 104 points

Last month, Hocker discussed his experience at the NFL Scouting Combine:
“I honestly thought about benching and running the 40 because it’s the NFL combine, it’s kind of a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I don’t think I would do bad at them. It was just, I was looking at stats and guys who had been at the combine before and just statistically, the guys who got drafted were guys who focused strictly on kicking ended up being more successful at it. I’m not saying I won’t run a 40 or do bench press or something at our Pro Day in March. But just up here, solely focus on impressing scouts with kicks....

It’s cool. I know the whole process, the interviews and the coaches and the meetings and the hospital visits, that’s all the same. Being able to relax when it’s on to perform and not worry about the 40 or bench. At the next level, it’s all about making kicks and winning games, and if you can prove that here, then you should be in pretty good shape.”

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