the study of the kicking components within sports

Monday, May 26, 2014

The Feets with the Mostest

Who has used their feet to score more points than anyone else in their respective sports?

Pelé - Soccer/Football/Futbol

"Pelé's goalscoring record is often reported as being 1280 goals in 1363 games. This figure includes goals scored by Pelé in non-competitive club matches, for example, international tours Pelé completed with Santos and the New York Cosmos, and games Pelé played in for armed forces teams during his national service in Brazil.... While his birth certificate shows his first name as Edison, it is as Pelé that he has become a sporting legend. He is widely regarded by polls among football experts, former players and fans as the greatest footballer of all time. In his native Brazil, Pelé is hailed as a national hero. He is known for his accomplishments and contributions to the game of football in addition to being officially declared football ambassador of the world by FIFA."
Landon Donovan - MLS (Major League Soccer)
"After more than eight months of waiting, LA Galaxy forward Landon Donovan has finally notched goal No. 135 to become the new MLS all-time goal king. The goal, assisted by Robbie Keane, came in the 50th minute of the Galaxy's match against the Philadelphia Union at StubHub Center. Keane was released in behind the Philly defense, where he eluded a tackle and played a cross to the far post. Donovan was there to slam the ball into the open net. With his 135th goal, Donovan surpassed Jeff Cunningham on the all-time goalscoring list. Cunningham held the record of 134 goals since scoring for the Columbus Crew on August 27, 2011. Donovan then added a second goal – the 136th regular-season goal of his career – in the 81st minute. He was replaced two minutes later, walking off to a standing ovation from the Galaxy crowd and chants of "USA! USA!" "
Morten Andersen - NFL (National Football League)
"Morten Andersen (born in Copenhagen, Denmark) is a former American football kicker. He holds the distinction of being the all-time leading scorer in NFL history, as well as being the all-time leading scorer for two different teams; the New Orleans Saints, with whom he spent 13 seasons, and the Atlanta Falcons, with whom he spent a combined eight seasons. He is known as "The Great Dane".... On December 16, 2006, Andersen passed Gary Anderson to become the all-time leading scorer in NFL history.... At the end of his career Andersen held (and still holds) the following NFL records: most games played (382), most field goals attempted (709), most field goals (565), most points (2,544)"
Jeff Schebler - NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association)
Schebler recently completed his college football career at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. On November 21, 2009 he scored 10 points in a Division III playoff win over Lakeland to become the NCAA’s all-time point leader among place-kickers, passing the previous mark of 433 set by Art Carmody of Louisville. Schebler finished his career with 470 points.
Lui Passaglia - CFL (Canadian Football League)
"Passaglia is a former professional Canadian football player. Passaglia was the placekicker/punter for the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League for a record-breaking 25 years (1976–2000) and scored more points in that time than any professional gridiron football player in history. He is a member of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, the British Columbia Sports Hall of Fame, and the BC Lions Wall of Fame.... Passaglia holds many CFL regular season records including total points scored (3,991), most converts at 1,045 (560 consecutive—he missed only three), most field goals at 875 (of 1,203 attempted), best single season field goal percentage at 90.9% (40 of 44 in 2000, his final year of play), and most single points at 309."
Remy Hamilton - AFL (Arena Football League)
"In college, he was an All-American for the Michigan Wolverines football team. As a professional, he played for the Detroit Lions of the NFL in addition to exhibition and training camp experience with the Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis Rams and Chicago Bears. He also played for the Grand Rapids Rampage, Carolina Cobras, Milwaukee Mustangs, Los Angeles Avengers, and Dallas Desperados of the AFL. In the AFL, he holds records for all-time career points and single-season kick points."
Tony Lockett - AFL (Australian Football League)
"Lockett is a former Australian rules football player. Lockett is the highest goal scorer in the history of the VFL/AFL with 1,360 goals in a career of 281 games, that commenced in 1983 with the St Kilda Football Club, and finished in 2002 with the Sydney Swans. Lockett is the only full-forward ever to win the coveted Brownlow Medal, in 1987, a season in which he was decorated with several honours. He is a four-time Coleman Medallist, kicked more than 100 goals in a season on six occasions, and is a member of the Australian Football Hall of Fame."
Jonny Wilkinson - Rugby/Football
"Jonny Wilkinson will forever be remembered as the man who kicked England to Rugby World Cup glory in Australia in 2003 - slotting a last-gasp drop goal in extra-time to edge out the hosts in a thrilling tournament finale. Regularly a left-footer, the talented fly-half slotted that memorable kick with his right foot to cement his place in English sporting history. That moment is just one highlight of a record-breaking career that has seen Wilkinson rise to one of the sport's all-time greats.... In March 2008, he became the all-time leading Test points scorer, overtaking Wales' Neil Jenkins. His first converted penalty against Scotland at Murrayfield, took him three points past Jenkins' tally of 1090 Test rugby points.... Wilkinson announced his international retirement following the 2011 World Cup but continued to shine for Toulon and opted to sign a new one-year contract in 2013 that he celebrated by steering the club to Heineken Cup glory."

The 2014 Post-Draft CFL West Specialists Landscape

Following free-agency and the CFL draft, here is a snapshot of the current specialists in the West Division:

B.C. Lions
  • K Paul McCallum, returning starter, re-signed in February
  • P Ricky Schmitt, free agent signing in February
  • P/K Steven Shott, returning backup
  • LS Jordan Matechuk, returning starter
Calgary Stampeders
  • K Rene Paredes, returning starter
  • P Rob Maver, returning starter
  • K Tyler Crapigna (McMaster), drafted in the fifth round
  • LS Randy Chevrier, returning starter, re-signed in January
Edmonton Eskimos
  • K/P Grant Shaw, competing with...
  • K/P Hugh O'Neill
  • K/P Zackary Medeiros (London Beefeaters), drafted in the sixth round
  • LS Ryan King, returning starter, re-signed in April
Saskatchewan Roughriders
  • K Chris Milo, returning starter, re-signed in February
  • K/P Brett Cameron, free agent signing in January, will compete with...
  • P Josh Bartel, acquired by trade from Tiger-Cats in February, will compete with...
  • P/K John Mark (Calgary), drafted in the third round
  • LS/DL Levi Steinhauer, likely replacement for retired Cory Huclack
Winnipeg Blue Bombers
  • K Brett Maher, free agent signing in April, will compete with...
  • L Lirim Hajrullahu, free agent signing in January
  • P Mike Renaud, returning starter 
  • LS/LB Ian Wild, returning starter

Sunday, May 25, 2014

The 2014 Post-Draft CFL East Specialists Landscape

Following free-agency and the CFL draft, here is a snapshot of the current specialists in the East Division:

Hamilton Tiger-Cats
  • K/P Justin Medlock, new/former starter, free agent signing in January
  • K/P Brett Lauther, re-signed in January
  • LS/DL Marc-Antoine Fortin, promoted to starter following departure of Kevin Scott
  • LS/DB Neil King, promoted to backup
Montreal Alouettes
  • K/P Sean Whyte, returning starter, re-signed in February
  • K Delbert Alvarado, added to practice roster last October
  • K/P Nick Boyd (Manitoba), drafted in the 5th round
  • LS Martin Bédard, returning starter, re-signed in February
Ottawa Redblacks
  • K/P Justin Palardy, starter, signed in March
  • K Paulo Henriques, signed in May
  • LS Kevin Scott, starter, signed in February
  • LS Kevin Malcolm (McMaster), drafted in the 7th round
Toronto Argonauts
  • K/P Swayze Waters, returning starter, resigned in February
  • P/K Josh Jasper, free agent signing in February
  • LS Jake Reinhart, free agent signing in April

Thursday, May 22, 2014

When I Became a Punter

Some started in high school, some in junior high school and some in elementary school.

Some kicked and punted during their primary education.

Some started on the other side of the world in a different sport that also uses a pointy ball.

Following are the stories of six punters' beginnings.

Ben Graham, AFL 1993-2004, NFL 2005-2012
"Darren Bennett paved the way for me and the rest of the Australian punters. I first kicked an NFL ball at a workout with the NY Jets in 1997 and then traveled to the US in 2004 after I retired from the AFL to embark on my NFL journey. It took 6 months of intense punting training which helped me win the job at the NY Jets in 2005."

Adam Podlesh, Pittsburgh Steelers
“I think I was about five or six years old, at a YMCA soccer league. I kept kicking the ball over the goal. From then on I kinda knew that I had a big leg from a soccer standpoint, before I made the transition to football.”

Ryan Donahue, Detroit Lions 2011
"I wasn't a kicker. I was a little wash up who never played on my freshman high school team. I played backup kicker as a toe basher. I had put football behind me and chose to play a different sport instead when I was approached one month before the season opener. I was asked to work with a guy for a week to try to learn to kick properly because the Varsity did not have a kicker. Naturally I said ok. One week later I had a one man tryout in front of the head coach and the entire team. I guess I was good enough. Not one month later I'm playing in my first varsity game as a sophomore. I have never wavered on gratitude whenever someone asks me how I learned to kick. His name is JJ Standring. Punter for Northwestern from '97-01. He had just joined the coaching staff after college. He helped me to become the conference offensive MVP in the #1 conference in the state. Not to mention All State and All American."

Chris Husby, Special teams Football Academy
"I started kicking footballs on my middle school team mainly because I has a soccer background.  I didn't start punting until my freshman year of college, when after the first day of "two a days," 4 kickers stepped up to compete for the 2nd and 3rd string spot.  The coaches had a shortage of punters and they felt that I had the strongest leg out of the group of kickers, and asked me to try punting as well.  From then on, I was a punter and a kicking specialist second.  I pursued the NFL with a focus on punting.  If it weren't for my college coaches thinking I had a chance to be a good punter, I would never have had the opportunities that I did after college."

Louie Aguiar, NFL punter 1991-2000
“When I was a senior in high school, I punted really well. Then I was getting recruited by some junior colleges in California to punt, so I said, ‘maybe this can be my meal ticket’. I just wanted to get into college and get my education paid for. Having three older brothers in college at the same time, I wanted to help my mom and dad out. That’s how I got into punting. I really enjoyed it. Punting and kicking."

Brian Stahovich, Buffalo Bills camp 2013
"I started out in 5th grade. I wanted to kick because my dad kicked in high school and he was working with the kicker on our Pop Warner team. So I started to kick, but knew I didn’t have the leg strength then, I could barely get the ball to roll. It was BAD. But I knew if I kept kicking I would get better. I kicked for three years in Pop Warner, four years in high school, where I also started at cornerback, and four years in college [at San Diego State University]."

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The 2014 Post-Draft NFC West Specialists Landscape

Following free-agency, the NFL draft, and the flurry of undrafted signings, here is a snapshot of the current specialists in the NFC West:

Arizona Cardinals
  • K Jay Feely, returning starter re-signed to 1-year deal in March
  • K Danny Hrapmann, free agent signing in January
  • K Chandler Catanzaro (Clemson), undrafted rookie free agent signing
  • P Dave Zastudil, returning starter re-signed to 2-year deal in January
  • LS Mike Leach, returning starter
St. Louis Rams
  • K Greg Zuerlein, returning starter
  • P Johnny Hekker, returning starter
  • LS Jake McQuaide, returning starter
  • LS Jorgen Hus (Regina), claimed off waivers from Seattle in May
San Francisco 49ers
  • K Phil Dawson, returning starter re-signed to a 2-year deal in a March
  • P Andy Lee, returning starter
  • P Colton Schmidt, free agent signing in January
  • LS Kevin McDermott, returning starter
Seattle Seahawks
  • K Steven Hauschka, returning starter re-signed to a 3-year deal in March
  • P Jon Ryan, returning starter
  • LS Clint Gresham, returning starter

The 2014 Post-Draft AFC North Specialists Landscape

Following free-agency, the NFL draft, and the flurry of undrafted signings, here is a snapshot of the current specialists in the AFC North:

Baltimore Ravens
  • K Justin Tucker, returning starter
  • P Sam Koch, returning starter
  • P Richie Leone (Houston), undrafted rookie free agent signing
  • LS Morgan Cox, returning starter
Cincinnati Bengals
  • K Mike Nugent, returning starter
  • K/P Quinn Sharp, free agent signing at the end of December
  • P Kevin Huber, returning starter coming off injury (broken jaw)
  • P T. J. Conley, free agent signing in April
  • LS Clark Harris, returning starter
Cleveland Browns
  • K Billy Cundiff, retuning starter re-signed in March
  • P Spencer Lanning, retuning starter
  • LS Christian Yount, returning starter
Pittsburgh Steelers
  • K Shawn Suisham, returning starter 
  • P Adam Podlesh, free agent signing in April
  • P Brad Wing, free agent signing in January
  • LS Greg Warren, returning starter re-signed in March
  • LS Bryce Davis, free agent signing in January

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The 2014 Post-Draft NFC South Specialists Landscape

Following free-agency, the NFL draft, and the flurry of undrafted signings, here is a snapshot of the current specialists in the NFC South:

Atlanta Falcons
  • K Matt Bryant, returning starter
  • P Matt Bosher, returning starter
  • P Matt Yoklic (Pittsburgh), undrafted rookie free agent signing
  • LS Josh Harris, returning starter
Carolina Panthers
  • K Graham Gano, returning starter re-signed in Febraury
  • P Brad Nortman, returning starter
  • P Jordan Gay, free agent signing in May
  • LS J.J. Jansen, returning starter
New Orleans Saints
  • K Shayne Graham, returning starter re-signed to a 1-year deal in February
  • K Derek Dimke, free agent signing in January
  • P Thomas Morstead, returning starter
  • LS Justin Drescher, returning starter
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • K Connor Barth, returning starter coming off IR
  • K Patrick Murray, free agent signing in January
  • P Michael Koenen, returning starter
  • P Jacob Schum, free agent signing in January released
  • LS Jeremy Cain, free agent signing in March, will compete with...
  • LS Andrew DePaola, free agent signing in May

Monday, May 19, 2014

The 2014 Post-Draft AFC West Specialists Landscape

Following free-agency, the NFL draft, and the flurry of undrafted signings, here is a snapshot of the current specialists in the AFC West:

Denver Broncos
  • K Matt Prater, returning starter
  • P Britton Colquitt, returning starter
  • LS Aaron Brewer, returning starter
Kansas City Chiefs
  • K Ryan Succop, returning starter
  • K Cairo Santos, undrafted rookie free agent signing
  • P Dustin Colquitt, returning starter 
  • LS Thomas Gafford, returning starter re-signed to a 1-year deal in February
Oakland Raiders 
  • K Sebastian Janikowski, returning starter
  • P Marquette King, returning starter
  • P Daniel Zychlinski, free agent signing in April
  • LS Jon Condo, returning starter
San Diego Chargers
  • K Nick Novak, returning starter
  • P Mike Scifres, returning starter
  • P Chase Tenpenny (Nevada), undrafted rookie free agent signing
  • LS Mike Windt, returning starter

The 2014 Post-Draft NFC East Specialists Landscape

Following free-agency, the NFL draft, and the flurry of undrafted signings, here is a snapshot of the current specialists in the NFC East:

Dallas Cowboys
  • K Dan Bailey, returning starter signed to 6-year extension in January
  • P Chris Jones, returning starter signed ERFA tender in March, could be challenged by...
  • P Cody Mandell (Alabama), undrafted rookie free agent signing
  • LS L.P. Ladouceur, returning starter who could be challenged by...
  • LS Casey Kreiter (Iowa), undrafted rookie free agent signing
New York Giants
  • K Josh Brown, returning starter re-signed in March
  • K Brandon McManus, free agent signing in January
  • P Steve Weatherford, returning starter re-structured contract in March
  • LS  Zak DeOssie, returning starter

Philadelphia Eagles
  • K Alex Henery, returning starter who could be challenged by...
  • K Carey Spear (Vanderbilt), undrafted rookie free agent signing
  • P Donnie Jones, returning starter re-signed to 3-year deal in March
  • P LS Jon Dorenbos, returning starter 

Washington Redskins
  • K Kai Forbath, returning starter who on placekicking could be challenged by and on kickoffs will compete with...
  • K Zach Hocker (Arkansas), 7th round draft pick
  • P Robert Malone, free agent signing at the end of December, will compete with...
  • P Blake Clingan, free agent signing in April
  • LS Nick Sundberg, returning starter coming off IR (knee)
  • LS Kyle Nelson, signed last October after Sundberg was injured

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The 2014 Post-Draft AFC South Specialists Landscape

Following free-agency, the NFL draft, and the flurry of undrafted signings, here is a snapshot of the current specialists in the AFC South:

Houston Texans
  • K Randy Bullock, returning starter who'll be competing with...
  • K Chris Boswell (Rice), undrafted rookie free agent signing
  • P Shane Lechler, returning starter
  • LS Jonathan Weeks, returning starter
Indianapolis Colts
  • K Adam Vinatieri, returning starter re-signed to a 2-year deal in March
  • K Cody Parkey (Auburn), undrafted rookie free agent signing
  • P Pat McAfee, returning starter re-signed to a 5-year deal in March
  • LS Matt Overton, returning starter
Jacksonville Jaguars
  • K Josh Scobee, returning starter 
  • P Bryan Anger, returning starter
  • LS Carson Tinker, returning starter
  • LS Trevor Gillette (Rice), undrafted rookie free agent signing
Tennessee Titans
  • K Maikon Bonani, free agent signing in January who'll compete with...
  • K Travis Coons (Washington), undrafted rookie free agent signing
  • P Brett Kern, returning starter
  • LS Beau Brinkley, returning starter

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The 2014 Post-Draft NFC North Specialists Landscape

Following free-agency, the NFL draft, and the flurry of undrafted signings, here is a snapshot of the current specialists in the NFC North:  

Chicago Bears 
  • K Robbie Gould, returning starter
  • P Pat O'Donnell (Miami FL), probable new starter drafted in the 5th round, will need to hold off...
  • P Tress Way, free agent signing at the end of December
  • P Drew Butler, free agent signing at the end of December released
  • LS Patrick Mannelly, rehabbing from hip surgery, undecided on whether he'll return or retire
  • LS Chad Rempel, free agent signing in April
  • LS Brandon Hartson, free agent signing at the end of December
Detroit Lions 
  • K Nate Freese, probable new starter drafted in the 7th round, will need to hold off challenger...
  • K Giorgio Tavecchio, free agent signing at the end of December
  • P Sam Martin, returning starter
  • LS Don Muhlbach, returning starter re-signed in February 
Green Bay Packers 
  • K Mason Crosby, returning starter
  • P Tim Masthay, returning starter
  • LS Brett Goode, returning starter 
Minnesota Vikings
  • K Blair Walsh, returning starter
  • P Jeff Locke, returning starter
  • LS Cullen Loeffler, returning starter

Friday, May 16, 2014

The 2014 Post-Draft AFC East Specialists Landscape

Following free-agency, the NFL draft, and the flurry of undrafted signings, here is a snapshot of the current specialists in the AFC East:

Buffalo Bills
  • K Dan Carpenter, re-signed in March, returning starter who'll compete with...
  • K Dustin Hopkins, drafted in 6th round last year, but was injured late last summer
  • P Brian Moorman, returning starter who could be challenged by....
  • P Jake Dombrowski, free agent signing in April
  • LS Garrison Sanborn, returning starter
Miami Dolphins 
  • K Caleb Sturgis, returning starter who could be challenged by...
  • K Anthony Fera (Texas), undrafted rookie free agent signing
  • P Brandon Fields, returning starter 
  • LS John Denney, returning starter
New England Patriots 
  • K Stephen Gostkowski, returning starter 
  • P Ryan Allen, returning starter
  • LS Danny Aiken, re-signed to a 1-year deal in March, returning starter who could be challenged by...
  • LS Tyler Ott (Harvard), undrafted rookie free agent signing
New York Jets
  • K Nick Folk, franchise tagged in February then signed to a 4-year deal in March, returning starter
  • P Ryan Quigley, returning starter
  • LS Tanner Purdum, returning starter

Thursday, May 15, 2014

When I Became a Kicker

Most began at an early age, kicking the round ball. 

Then in junior high or high school, most made the career transition to kicking the pointed ball. 

But every kicker's story is unique. 

Following are eight such stories, in their own words.

John Carney, NFL kicker 1988-2010
"I went to Cardinal Newman High School in West Palm Beach Florida. We had a very rich tradition for our football program. It was led by coach Sam Budnyk, who ended up coaching over 35 years and retired as one of the winningest high school football coaches in the state of Florida. So it was more or less a rite of passage for the boys at that school to go through the football program. I thought I’d be a wide receiver, but sitting on the bench as a wide receiver wasn’t that much fun. I felt like guys punting and kicking the football, but they were football guys and not soccer guys. I felt I could kick a soccer ball, so I went home and worked on kicking a football. I actually went to a Garo Yepremian Soccer and Kicking Camp (to date myself) and learned some more about kicking a football from “the” Garo Yepremian. I ended playing JV my sophomore year and varsity my junior and senior years as a placekicker and a punter."

Nick Folk, New York Jets
“Going into high school I didn’t know may people. I knew one guy (he’s actually the backup catcher for the Florida Marlins right now)… I played soccer with him growing up and he was going to my high school as well, and he was gonna go play football. I said, ‘well, I guess I could try kicking and see how that goes’. I ended up kicking. After the first 45 minutes of practice after they had special teams, then I’d go to soccer practice. That was how I did it my whole high school career.”

Taylor Rowan, AFL & UFL kicker 2008-2011
“Back in my junior year of high school, the head football coach for our school was my P.E. teacher. Two days before their first game the kicker got hurt and quit. So the coach came up to me, knowing I played soccer, and said, ‘Do you wanna kick for us Friday?’ I wasn’t interested, because of the pressure of doing it after never having practiced it and having to kick two days later. But he ended up coming to me again and saying, ‘If you want to pass my gym class you’re going to be out at practice’. So I was out at practice that afternoon before soccer, and ended up kicking the ball that afternoon and did extremely well. I kicked in my first game Friday night and kicked a 32 yard field goal. That was before I even knew how to step off or anything.”  

Fred Mitchell, Fred Mitchell Outstanding Placekicker Award
"When I was a sophomore in high school, I was a skinny kid at the time – maybe six feet and a 150 pounds, when I was 14 years old and a sophomore. I was kicking in gym class outside from about second base over a high fence that we had in right field on the baseball diamond. The physical education teacher, who happened to be the head football coach (Bob Stearnes), was watching me and said ‘you’re gonna be on out football team’. This was 1962. So he put me on the varsity right away. There weren’t kicking specialists, especially at the high school level, back then like there are nowadays. Most schools would run for the extra point. So he listed me as a six foot, 150 pound tackle in the program initially to try to fool the opponent into not knowing that I would be a kicker. Our team wasn’t really that good, but I won maybe three games on field goals in my short career there."

Billy Cundiff, Cleveland Browns
"Our high school did not have a soccer team - everybody in my small town wanted to play football. I had been playing football since junior high, where I was the quarterback and also happened to be the kicker because of my soccer background. It was a natural progression - I just kind of fell into kicking."

Julie Harshbarger, Chicago Blitz (CIFL)
“[A friend in school] was a junior tackle and a free safety, then she played in high school as well. She wanted to keep playing, but she was too small and the guys were getting too big. She knew that I could kick a soccer ball really far and she wanted me to help her learn how to kick stuff. I tried working with her and she couldn’t do it very well, while I could do it very well. She said, ‘well, maybe you should try out for the team’. One of my other friends double dared me, ‘I’ll give you ten bucks if you can get on the team.’ Freshman year of high school."
Steven Hauschka, Seattle Seahawks
"I kicked a couple footballs in eighth grade, just messing around once with my friends, but that was just one day only. I played soccer in high school and in my freshman year at college. Then I started kicking footballs, to try to win a position on the football team, the summer between my freshman and sophomore years. I started like mid-July, so I really only kicked for about four weeks before training camp. I remember the difficulty of kicking this oblong object compared to a soccer ball. When you kick a soccer ball you can hit the sweet spot every time. But when you’re kicking a football it’s difficult to find that spot at first. And your foot position needs to be in a different place. I’d say the hardest thing for me to get used to at first was just how to hit the ball with my foot. The foot-to-ball contact was really tough to adjust to at the beginning."

Michael Husted, NFL kicker 1993-2002
"Some friends and I were at the mall in the arcade playing video games.  Three girls that we knew from school saw us, came up to us, and told us that the football team that they cheered for needed players and we should go out for the team.  I had never played organized football and like the idea.  We all agreed to go out for the team.

At the first practice, near the end, we were all lined up along the sideline.  The coached asked us if anyone could kick.  I looked up and down the line and didn't see any hands go up.  So, I raised my hand and said that I played soccer.  The coach then said, "You're the kicker."

The initial instructions that I received from one of my coaches was take three steps back, two over, keep your eyes on the block, head down and kick the ball."

It seemed simple enough.  However, on my first attempt, I slipped when I went to plant and fell.  Everyone laughed.  I then tried "toe jamming" it straight on.  I kicked it pretty well, but tried soccer style again and kicked that one well too.  Not knowing which style to use, I asked the coach which way he wanted me to kick it.  His reply?  "Son, I don't care if you kick it with your A___, just put the thing through the uprights.

Thus, the beginning of my kicking career."

Davidson Wildcats Kicker, Punter & Snapper News 2014

February 24th - four specialists among early decision commits
kicker Nathan Higdon: Canton, N.C., Pisgah... Wendy's High School Heisman State Finalist... MedWest Player of the Week... Waynesville Automotive Group Player of the Week... School Record for Field Goals in a Season (10)... School Record for Longest Field Goal (42 yards)... All-State in Track
long snapper Conrad Mueller: Waxhaw, N.C., Parkwood... 2013 North Carolina 2AA state semifinalist... 2012 All-American Honorable Mention Long Snapper
kicker Trevor Smith:  Tampa, Fla., Cambridge Christian... First team all-state... All-county... All-conference... Kicked 44-yd field goal in Hillsborough County All-Star Game... Holds school kicking records for points, field goals, and touchbacks
punter Seth Stancil: Greenville, N.C., South Central ... Kicked a 41-yard field goal... 34-of-38 on PAT attempts... Averaged 50 yards per kickoff - Wildcats

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Draft Preview: Small School Kickers 2014

A quick look at some of the small school kickers from this year's senior class. For the purpose of this list, "small school" means a university or college in any division other than FBS.

Sergio Castillo, West Texas A&M (D2)
"Castillo is the recipient of the 2013 Fred Mitchell Award (to the nation’s top place-kicker in FCS, Division II, Division III, NAIA and NJCAA for excellence on the football field and in the community).... Mitchell said, 'It is a thrill to congratulate Sergio as the first Division II kicker to receive the Fred Mitchell Award. With more than 750 place-kickers to choose from, we are extremely proud to recognize Sergio among a stellar group of nominees. Sergio’s record-setting season and career are very impressive. He led the Buffs in scoring while playing a key role in the team’s successful playoff run and 11-3 record. He is a very accurate kicker, having made 62 of 79 career field goals and 251 of 255 extra points. Sergio has focused his community service efforts on mentoring young people. Our Selection Committee is quite impressed with Sergio'.” - Kickology

Seth Sebastian, Southeastern Louisiana (FCS)
"After completing the best season ever by a Southeastern Louisiana player at his positions, Lion senior Seth Sebastian was honored by College Football Performance Awards, CFPA. Sebastian, a Lafayette native, was named the National Football Championship Subdivision Place-Kicker of the Year....  Sebastian, a first team All-Southland Conference selection was 16-for-18 on field goals and 66-of-67 on point after touchdowns, setting single season records for PAT's made, PAT's attempted, points (114) and field goal percentage (88.9). The four-year starter finished his career as the school's leader with 289 career points." - Lions

Dylan Rushe, Endicott (MA) (D3)
"Named a NEFC First Team Kicker and Punter...a four-time NEFC Special Teams Player of the Week...named to the All-East Region Second Team as a kicker and Third Team as a punter...All-New England by the New England Football Writers...placed on the BSN and All-American Second Team as a placekicker...became Endicott's first AFCA All-America winner, recognized as the nation's top placekicker." - Gulls

Colton Cook, Southern Utah (FCS)
"Cook, a senior from Centerville who attended Viewmont High School, received third-team All-American honors making 20 of his 25 field goals(80 percent) and 24 of his 26 PAT’s (92.3 percent) on the season for the Thunderbirds. Cook was the Thunderbirds’ leading scorer on the season, posting 84 points and made the game-winning field goal to defeat I-A South Alabama August 29 at Mobile, Ala." - Mid-Utah Radio

Sam Brockshus, Minnesota State Mankato (D2)
"Brockshus, a member of the MSU football team, received the Don Buchanan Award, which is handed out to the most “well-rounded” male senior student-athlete, excelling on the field, in the classroom and throughout the community. Brockshus is the all-time MSU football leading scorer with 372 career points. The Spencer, Iowa, native is a two-time Capital-One Academic All-American, a three-time NSIC All-Academic selection for his 3.62 GPA in civil engineering. On the gridiron, Brockshus was named an AFCA All-American and Daktronics All-American Second Team selection and currently holds the MSU career records for field goals made (54) and extra points (210). During his senior campaign, Brockshus averaged nine points per game, helping the Mavericks to their second-straight NCAA Tournament appearance." - Mankato Times

Jarod Brown, Old Dominion (FCS, moving to FBS)
"Not long after Old Dominion started its football program five years ago, the Monarchs stumbled upon an unexpected weapon that helped them level the playing field against some of their more established opponents — kicker Jarod Brown. Brown made four field goals of 50-plus yards in his four-year career, including a Heinz Field-record 54-yarder in a loss to Pitt last year, and the transfer from West Virginia contributed directly to a number of ODU wins with an uncanny knack for converting onside kicks.... In Brown’s four seasons as kicker, ODU recovered 10 of his onside attempts. He hit bunt kicks that he recovered himself, pooches that his teammates ran under, traditional onside kicks late in games and surprise ones that caught his opponent off guard. Last year, in a 59-58 win over the Citadel, Brown converted back-to-back onside kicks in the second half as ODU erased an early two-touchdown deficit." - Detroit Free Press

Eric Kindler, Wisconsin Whitewater (D3)
"Kicked placements all four years, making 72 of 102 FG tries (70.6%). Punted in 2012 and '13, averaging 36.5 yards as a senior. 'He'll have a shot,' one scout said. 'He'll be a good free agent.' Said Warhawks coach Lance Leipold: 'He's got ability to do both. I look at him more as a kicker. He's been a very solid kickoff and very consistent field-goal guy'."- Journal Sentinel 

Griffin Thomas, Jacksonville State (FCS) 
"Thomas finished as one of the top kickers in the country after setting the OVC record for most field goals made (24), attempted (32) and most points scored by kicking in a season with 134. He also was a finalist for the Fred Mitchell Award, given to the top kicker in the FCS, Division II, Division III and NAIA." - Gamecocks

Brandon Rodrigues, Massachusetts Maritime (D3)
"Rodrigues has posted a 3.886 cumulative grade point average as a Marine Engineering major at the Academy, and last season he averaged 46 yards per kickoff and added a 30-yard field goal in the Buccaneers’ season-opening 24-20 Chowder Bowl victory over SUNY-Maritime.  He also converted seven PAT attempts and recorded four touchbacks during his senior campaign, and as a junior, Rodrigues converted 31 extra point attempts and kicked a pair of field goals, setting a school record with eight PAT conversions in a 56-32 victory over Fitchburg State.  He also booted a game-tying fourth quarter field goal in Massachusetts Maritime’s 42-38 come-from-behind triumph over Coast Guard in September 2012 and ranked second on the team in scoring with 37 points." - Buccaneers

Ray Early, Furman (FCS)
"As a placekicker he converted a Furman season record 20 field goals (in 25 attempts), including 20 of his final 22 tries, and a punter he averaged 43.5 yards on 65 attempts, 16 of which covered at least 50 yards and 29 downed inside the opposition's 20-yard line.  On kickoffs, 38 of his 70 boots went for touchbacks. Early's 94-point campaign marked the second highest tally in Furman kick scoring history, and the 43.5 punting average ranks third all-time on the season chart. A consensus first team All-SoCon kicker and second team punter, the Darlington, S.C., native finished his Paladin tenure with 249 points, the third best tally by a Paladin, and his 43.0 yards per punt average on 104 attempts is a new Furman career standard. He booted a Furman record and tied a SoCon standard with six field goals in the Paladins' 32-20 win over Western Carolina." - Paladins

Steven Wakefield, Mercyhurst (D2)
"Wakefield was named a First Team All-American by the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), a First Team All-American by AP Little, a Third Team All-American by Beyond Sports Network, an All-PSAC West First Team selection, a Daktronics All-District First Team selection, and he earned a spot on the ECAC All-Star Team prior to his accolade from Don Hansen.... Wakefield broke nearly every school kicking record at Mercyhurst during his four-year career. Last season, Wakefield was 16-of-17 on field goals and 41-of-42 on extra points, finishing with a career-high, and a school-record, 89 points.... Wakefield now holds the school's all-time records for most career extra points made (164), most career field goals made (38), most field goals in a season (16), most points in a season (89), most career points by a kicker (278), and most points scored by any player (278)."- Lakers

Tyler Sievertsen, Northern Iowa (FCS)
"He placed himself in the UNI record book this season by notching 261 career points, putting him in eighth all-time at UNI in career points. He finished the 2013 season with a team-leading 97 points off 21 of 27 field goals and a perfect 34-of-34 PATs. The Cedar Rapids, Iowa native also set a new school record for consecutive PATs made, making 114-of-114 to close out his career as a Panther. He notched a career-long 50-yard field goal this season against North Dakota State and also tied his career-high four field goals made in a game twice. The senior propelled UNI to a 22-20 win over then No. 9 ranked Youngstown State, knocking in the winning 34-yard field goal.He finished his career at UNI first in the FCS during the 2013 season in field goals made per game (1.80) and is second among FCS active career leaders in field goal percentage (.817). Sievertsen is now 49-of-60 from field goals and also racked up 11,956 yards from 194 kickoffs, averaging 61.6 yards." - Panthers

Andrew Muzljakovich, Olivet Nazarene (NAIA)
"Capped off an outstanding season and career with his selection to the 25-man 2013 American Football Coaches Association (AFCA)-National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) All-America First Team.... During the 2013 season, Andrew started all 11 games and finished second on the team in scoring with 58 points. He had 13 made field goals (13-17) with a career-long of 49 yards against St. Francis (Ill.) on Sept. 7. He converted all 19 PATs. He had 43 kickoffs for 2,674 yards (62.2 avg.) and 25 touchbacks. He finished with 59 punts for 2,443 yards (41.4 avg.) and a long of 64 yards. Andrew was named the Mid-States Football Association’s (MSFA) Midwest League Special Teams Player of the Week four times during the season, finishing with nine such honors in his college career." - Tigers

Nick Ferrara, Stony Brook (FCS) 
(played first three seasons for Maryland Terrapins)
Career Highs Kicking: Points: 14, vs. Miami (9/5/11); FG Attempted: 5, vs. Virginia (10/17/09); vs. Miami (9/5/11); FG Made: 4, vs. Miami (9/5/11); PATs: 6, vs. Clemson (10/15/11); Long FG: 50, at Wake Forest (10/10/09)... Punting: Punts: 10, at Florida State (10/22/11); Yards: 346, vs. Clemson (10/3/09); Average: 48.2, at Maine (11/2/13); 50+: 3, vs. Clemson (10/3/09); vs. Temple (9/24/11); i20: 3, at Rhode Island (9/7/13); at Buffalo (9/14/13); at Colgate (10/12/13); Long: 68, at Rhode Island (9/7/13) - Seawolves

Curt Duncan, Carson-Newman (D2)
"Duncan is arguably one of the greatest kickers to ever stroll onto the field at Carson-Newman. An All-American a year ago, Duncan topped his own school record with 17 made field goals in 2013.  He also broke his own school record for points by a kicker in a single season with 109." - Eagles

Jordan Day, Gardner-Webb (FCS)
"Day (Marvin, N.C./Marvin Ridge HS) was named first-team All-Big South at punter and was a second-team selection as a placekicker, capping his lone college football season with a shelf-full of recognition. Day led the Big South in punting average with 39.1 yards per attempt and in net punting average for the season. He pinned opponents inside the 20-yard line 17 times, forced 18 fair catches and boomed seven punts at least 50 yards. Day was named Special Teams Player of the Week four times during the 2013 season, with his scoring exploits early in the season giving way to outstanding punting in the late stages." - NFLDraftScout

Taylor Groff, East Stroudsburg (D2)
"Senior kicker Taylor Groff is a member of the Fred Mitchell Award Watch List as the 2013 college football season approaches. Groff (Manheim/Manheim Central) was one of 10 finalists for the award last season, which went to Fordham senior Patrick Murray.... Groff was the first team kicker on the All-PSAC East, Daktronics All-Region and Football Gazette All-Region teams last year after leading Division II kickers with 9.3 points per game. He is the only kicker in PSAC history to make more than one field goal of 51+ yards – making four from that distance, including three in 2012." - Warriors  

Kevin van Voris, West Texas A&M (D2)
"A man with a 'big leg' and no shortage of confidence, Van Voris finished third in the nation in punt average (45.2) as a senior and had a college career long of 74 yards. This led Van Voris to chase his dream of being drafted in the NFL....  He proved during his college career to be a proficient punter and kickoff specialist. He also left his mark on scouts and by connecting on consecutive field goals of 35, 40, 45, 50, 55 and 60 yards at the Houston Regional Combine alongside his brother and fellow kicker prospect David Van Voris." - SB Nation

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Draft Preview: Small School Punters 2014

A quick look at some of the small school punters from this year's senior class. For the purpose of this list, "small school" means a university or college in any division other than FBS.

Bobby Wenzig, Alabama State (FCS) 
See separate preview post

Chad Zinchini, Tennessee Tech (FCS)
"Zinchini set a school record by averaging 45.9 yards on 75 punts last season, ranking second in the Football Championship Subdivision, and was named first-team all-OVC. In the contest at Wisconsin, he punted nine times, averaging 50 yards per punt, including a 70-yarder. He averaged at least 40 yards per punt in every game in the 2013 season and pinned 20 punts inside the 20-yard line. He had similar success in his junior year in 2012, averaging 44.8 yards per punt with 25 kicks of 50 or more yards. That was after his parents, Michael and Lisa Zinchini, convinced him to try out for the Golden Eagles once he got on campus in Cookeville. He was sidelined by a foot injury after being enrolled at Middle Tennessee State University in 2009 and spent the next three semesters at Volunteer State Community College before transferring to TTU." - The Tennessean

Scottie Gallardo, Fort Lewis College (D2)
"Gallardo earned All-American honors from four different organizations his senior year.  A six-foot, 220-pound punter, Gallardo set school records for most punting yards in a season (3,640), highest punting average (46.1), most punts landing inside the 20-yard line (22), most punting yards in a game (555 yards), and second most punts in a season (79). A first team All-Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference selection, Gallardo led NCAA Division II in punting with an average of 46.1 yards per punt.  His longest punt of the season was 77 yards.  Gallardo, who did not fumble one punt or have one punt blocked, recorded nine touchbacks, 18 fair-caught punts, and 27 punts 50 yards or longer." - Skyhawks

Jordan Berry, Eastern Kentucky (FCS)
"Berry is in his fourth year as a starter for EKU and can punt from a variety of positions; exceling at rugby style punting and also serves as the team's holder on field goal attempts. He hails from Essendon, Victoria, Australia where he was a member of the Australian national team in the Junior World Championships of American Football. The senior's 2013 Highlights include a 77-yard punt against Austin Peay which was one yard short of tying the school record set 1966.  Against Southeast Missouri two weeks later, Berry scored his first collegiate touchdown on a 25-yard fake field goal in the second quarter. He also booted a 76-yard punt, two yards shy of the EKU record, in the first quarter.  Against Morehead State, Berry punted the ball to a teammate to complete a lateral pass on fourth down." - Colonels

Kollin Carman, Saint Francis (IN) (NAIA)
"After earning All-American honors three straight seasons, Saint Francis punter Kollin Carman could soon be bringing his deadly accurate leg to the NFL. The Columbus, Indiana native is considered one of the top ten punter prospects in the 2014 NFL Draft Class by ESPN draft expert Todd McShay. After finishing as one of the most statistically impressive punters in the country at any level last season – it isn’t hard to see why McShay is so high on the former Cougar standout. Carman readily admits there are plenty of punters out there with stronger legs – his game is built around accuracy and control." - WANE

Rory Perez, Montana State (FCS)

"The Montana State product averaged 44.9 yards per punt in 2013 with a 68-yard long and had 17 fair catches. His biggest strength besides consistency is that he has good hang time on his punts.  He could be a good camp body for placekicker as well as he hit 50% with a 45-yard long this past year.  His best shot to make it is as a punter though and should be a free agent signing." - Tony Softli

James McCombie, Slippery Rock (D2)
"McCombie ranked first in the PSAC and fifth among NCAA Division II punters last fall with a per-punt average of 43.2 yards.  McCombie had 12 punts that traveled 50 or more yards last fall, headlined by a career-best-tying 74-yarder in the season opener at Northwood. McCombie also had 13 of his 53 punts land inside the opponents' 20-yard line this fall and only nine result in touchbacks. A park and resource management major at SRU, McCombie finished his four-year career as The Rock's first-team punter with a 40.5 yards per punt average. McCombie had six punts that traveled 60 or more yards, 34 punts that traveled 50 or more yards and 67 that landed inside the opponent's 20-yard line during his 208-punt college career." - Rock

Nick Liste, Youngstown State (FCS)
"Liste gave himself a chance with a great career at Youngstown State, a school that has produced two NFL kickers in its history (Paul McFadden and Jeff Wilkins). Liste was a first-team All-Missouri Valley Football Conference performer as a senior. His punting average of 44.2 yards set a school record, was tops in the conference and sixth overall in the FCS. He booted 16 punts more than 50 yards and had 17 land inside the 20-yard line, and remember, a lot of this came in the swirling winds of Stambaugh Stadium. 'He's got great physical tools,' said Jamie Bryant, YSU's special teams coordinator in 2013. 'He's got a lot of pop in his foot. He's a perfectionist, so his work ethic is outstanding, and he gets very upset when he doesn't hit a good ball every time. And when you have that kind of drive, you're going to be good'." - Tribune Chronicle

Zach Pulkinen, Bemidji State (D2)
"In 2013, Pulkinen earned All-NSIC North Division First Team Special Teams honors as a punter. The senior completed his second season as the full-time punter with a 42.5 yards per punt average that set the new record for Bemidji State punting average, ranked second in the NSIC and 14th nationally at the conclusion of the regular season. The previous record at BSU was 41.8 yards per punt set by Rick Van Roekel in 1977. Pulkinen totaled 2,802 yards on 66 punts to rank second all-time at BSU in total punt yards, which led the league in 2013. His 66 punts stands tied for seventh at BSU on the single season list. He totaled 16 punts of 50 yards or more, which included two punts that traveled 70 or more yards. His 73-yard punt ranks tied for second longest in the NSIC and tied for 11th nationally. Pulkinen placed 15 punts inside the 20-yard line." - Beavers
Grant Bowden, Liberty (FCS)
"Career Stats: 23 Games played, 104 punts, 38.8 yard avg, only 4 touchbacks, 28 fair catches, 29 inside 20, 10 50+, 7 muffed punts. 2013 Preseason 1st team All-Conference... 2012 2nd Team All-Conference... 3 time Conference Special Teams Player of the Week (nominated 6 times)... 2009 2-start #35 rated kicker prospect. Virginia Tech Football (2009-2011), graduate transfer to Liberty University (2012-2013)." - Bowden

Brandon Kliesen, Colorado State Pueblo (D2)
"Kliesen was named 2013 first-team All-American selections by Daktronics. Kliesen, a 2012 All-American, earned first-team honors after he finished second in the nation in punting, averaging 45.3 yards per punt this season. A two-time national player of the week this year, Kliesen also was named a two-time Academic All-American, becoming the first CSU-Pueblo football student-athlete in program history to be a two-time recipient.  Previously this year, he had earned All-America honors from the Beyond Sports Network." - Thunder Wolves

Justin Weldon, Sacramento State (FCS)
"Weldon was a third team selection by the Associated Press.... Weldon is the first punter to earn All-America in Sacramento State's Div. I era. The Madera, Calif., native  finished fourth in the FCS with an average of 44.9 yards per punt. That mark easily set the Sacramento State single-season record and his career average of 44.2 is also the best by a Hornet. Against UC Davis, Weldon boomed a 78-yard punt which broke the school mark of 75 which was set in 1973." - Hornets

Matt Harmon, Baldwin Wallace (D3)
"Harmon played four seasons of football at Baldwin Wallace University (2010-2013) and earned three varsity letters.He was one of the top punters in Division III in 2013 when he ranked eighth in the nation with a 41.6-yard average and FIRST with a 39.5-yard net average. He earned first-team Division III All-America honors by the AFCA (American Football Coaches Association), second-team Division III All-America and first-team All-North Region honors by the web site and first-team All-Ohio Athletic Conference honors." - Yellow Jackets