the study of the kicking components within sports

Friday, April 11, 2014

Draft Preview: Steven Clark

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

Excerpts from Clark's profile page on the Tigers' website:

2013 Senior Season
  • Ray Guy Award semifinalist for third straight season
  • AP All-SEC honorable mention ... ESPN, Scout all-bowl teams
  • had only five punts returned this season in 56 attempts... only 22 of 207 career punts have been returned (10.6%) for an average return of 5.4 yards
  • third in Auburn career punts (207) and fourth in punt yards (8,423)
  • 58-yard punt vs. Florida State in the BCS title game was season long and tied career best ... two punts downed at the Alabama one in that victory ... all three kicks in SEC Championship were inside the MU 8 ... five of six punts in BCS title game were downed inside 20, four inside the 10 ... averaged 43.2 yards per punt against Florida State
  • East-West Shrine Game
  • NFL Combine invitee
2012 Junior Season
  • Ray Guy Award semifinalist
  • only five of 70 punts were returned ... six punts of 50+ yards for season
  • long punt of 54 against LSU
2011 Sophomore Season
  • Ray Guy Award Finalist, Auburn's first in school history
  • Coaches' All-SEC First Team ... Pro Football Weekly First Team All-America ... Sports Illustrated Honorable Mention All-American
  • SEC Special Teams Player of the Week (10/3) ... SEC Special Teams Player of the Week (10/17) 
  • 33 punts inside the 20 led the SEC and was third in FBS
  • dropped nine punts inside the 10
  • two punts of 50+ yards vs. MSU, including career-long 58-yarder
  • against South Carolina earned SEC Special Teams Player of the Week honors punting seven times for an average of 37.9, including five punts inside the 20, all inside the 12-yard line, with two inside the 5-yard line
  • played a key role in the Tigers' win vs. USC -- a game dictated by field position -- as five of his last six punts were inside the 20 ... after Clark punts, USC's averaging starting field position was the USC 16, as its possessions started at the 38, 4, 1, 11, 12 and 12
  • SEC Special Teams Player of the Week after punting nine times in win over Florida, including two punts that were muffed by UF returners and recovered by Auburn
  • three punts for career-best average of 49.0 yards in Chick-fil-A Bowl win against Virginia
2010 Freshman Season
  • Appeared in five games 
  • against LSU, punted three times for a 37.3 yard average with one pinned inside the 20 ... also had a season-long punt of 42 yards
High School
  • No. 20-ranked placekicker by
  • No. 4-rated kicker by Inc. 
  • 2009 Class 5 First Team All-State selection at punter by the Missouri Football Coaches Association
  • also played tight end and defensive end in high school 
  • averaged nearly 40 yards per punt as a junior

College Stats:
2013: 56 punts, 42.6 yard average, long of 58 yards
2012: 70 punts, 39.8 yard average, long of 54 yards
2011: 72 punts, 40.8 yard average, long of 58 yards
2010: 9 punts, 34.9 yard average, long of 42 yards

Back in January, heading into the East-West Shrine game, Clark discussed his interaction with NFL scouts:
"They've been gathering a lot of information about us all week, every night. They've reached out to get information...personal questions and that type of stuff. They pretty much all asked us the same questions. Some are more detailed, some are more personal than others. Sometimes it's, 'What your best game? What's your worst game? What do you feel like you do well? What do you feel like you don't do well?'

I'm just trying to get better at my craft, trying to perfect it as much as I can between now and draft day. I hope I have opportunities to show what I can do. I know I have NFL potential and it's just a matter of being able to pull out the right cards and showing them what I can do.... But a lot of teams aren't willing to spend draft pick on a punter. So there are other opportunities to be invited to training camps or even sign right after the draft."

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