the study of the kicking components within sports

Monday, April 14, 2014

Draft Preview: Jeff Budzien

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

Excerpts from Budzien's profile page on the Wildcats' website:

2013 Senior Season
  • Repeated as the Bakken-Andersen Big Ten Kicker of the Year and a first-team All-Big Ten selection
  • first-team honor by The Sporting News and second-team nod from the Walter Camp Foundation
  • Semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award for the second time in as many seasons
  • Broke several Northwestern school records, becoming NU's all-time leader with 280 points (104 in 2013) and a career field goal percentage of .872 
  • Connected on all four field goal attempts vs. Michigan, including a long of 40 in the first quarter
  • Hit a season-long 43-yard field goal in home state against Wisconsin
  • Handled kickoff duties and averages of 61.3 yards with 21 touchbacks on 65 kicks
2012 Junior Season
  • Named Bakken-Anderson Big Ten Co-Kicker of the Year
  • Became first NU kicker to be named first-team All-Big Ten (coaches) since Brian Gowins in 1997
  • Named one of 20 national semifinalists for the Lou Groza Award, 
  • established the NU single-season mark for field goal percentage (95.0)
  • Against Vanderbilt, hit eventual game-winning 18-yard field goal with 2:01 remaining, finishing the game a perfect 3-of-3 with makes from 40, 37 and 18 yards in a 23-13 win ... It was his first career game with multiple made field goals
  • Topped that performance a week later vs. Boston College by going 5-for-5 on field goal attempts, tying the NU school record for FGs in a single game ... Hit from 42, 20, 29, 41 and 19 yards in 22-13 victory over the Eagles en route to Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week honors
  • Finished 3-of-3 on field goal tries (24, 43, 27 yards) at Michigan State, including the game-winner with 7:30 remaining that broke a 20-20 tie
  • Accounted for 10 points in TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl win vs. Mississippi State, hitting field goal attempts from 34 and 37 yards
2011 Sophomore Season
  • Had a successful debut, booting a 43-yard field for NU's first season points at Boston College
  • Converted a career-long 47-yard field goal at Iowa and all four PAT kicks for a seven-point game
  • Converted both PAT kicks vs. Texas A&M in the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas to finish a perfect season for PAT kicks (50-of-50)
2010 Freshman Season
  • Saw first collegiate action versus Illinois State, converting a PAT kick.
High School
  • 2008 MaxPreps first-team All-America kicker
  • Garnered first-team SuperPrep All-America honors in 2007
  • Two-time first-team Associated Press all-state selection
  • Ranked seventh-best kicker nationally by Rivals.com and 19th-best kicker nationally by ESPN.com/Scouts, Inc.
  • Lettered three years and was a team captain for the Warhawks
  • In 2008 (senior season), booted 8-of-11 field goals (no misses under 50 yards and a season-long 55-yarder) and 63-of-65 PAT's, and 70 of his 88 kickoffs resulted in touchbacks
  • Converted 65-of-66 PAT's and 6-of-11 FG's his junior year, while 71 of his 98 kickoffs went for touchbacks
  • Selected to play in Wisconsin's North-South All-Star game on July 18, 2009


College Stats:
2013: 23 of 25 (92.0%) FGs; 35 of 35 PATs; 104 points
2012: 19 of 20 (95.0%) FGs; 50 of 50 PATs; 107 points
2011: 6 of 10 (60.0%) FGs; 50 of 50 PATs; 68 points
2010: 0 of 0 (0%) FGs; 1 of 1 PATs; 1 point

Back in December, Budzien discussed the possibilities of a pro career:
"I'm hearing great stuff from agents and scouts; I think now it's just a wait and see game. I put some great seasons on film, and there are other kickers who have stronger legs than me, but if a team was in the market for a kicker that will make every field goal, I think I'm the No. 1 person on their board. It depends what a team needs, and it's something I'll find out....

I probably wouldn't say the top 32 kickers in the world are kicking for NFL teams. There are some great kickers that aren't (on a team). There's so much overlooking in (college recruiting), maybe because people are developing still in high school and aren't at their full physical peak. Then there's a coaching philosophy; some high-school coaches think they should go for it on every fourth down and not give the kicker a chance."

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