the study of the kicking components within sports

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Southern Jaguars Kicker, Punter & Snapper News

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February 4, 2015 - punter Taylor Merritt & long snapper David-Michael Carrell sign
The Southern Jaguars can thank Les Miles for helping them land Taylor Merritt, an All-District and Shreveport Times All-Area punter for the Arcadia Hornets, on National Signing Day. The Jags may not have been clued into his talents if not for a failed tryout in front of the LSU head coach. Before his senior season at Arcadia High School, Merritt was invited to LSU’s football camp. Soon after lunch one day at camp, he and a fellow kicker along with a pair of prospective long snappers were instructed to grab their gear. 'They told me, ‘You have 15 minutes to warm up and kick in front of Coach Miles. I was so nervous. I lost the field goal competition.' Unbeknownst to Merritt, Miles had company at the tryout, Southern University special teams coach Marty Biagi.... When Merritt heads down to Baton Rouge in June to begin his college career, his roommate will be David Michael-Carrell — the long snapper who also earned an offer from the Miles tryout." - Shreveport Times

October 2, 2014 - punter Paul Randall Soden
"Punter Paul Randall Soden averaged 45.4 yards on seven punts Saturday, landing five of those punts inside Alcorn State’s 20-yard line. That was his best average of the season, and most improved performance since being replaced during Southern’s loss to Northwestern State two weeks before. The sophomore has been starting punter since his freshman season. But after he let go of a 15-yard punt in the first quarter against the Devils and allowed the Northwestern State offense to start its possession at the Southern 31-yard line, Murphy Nash III replaced him. 'That was the first two snaps I didn’t take as a starting punter for the first time in more than three years,' Soden said. 'It hit me. It made me realize, I’m getting out-performed right now, so I need to get back on what I know what do and do what I know what to do.' Soden has gradually returned to the level he was pre-Northwestern State. He averaged 38.3 yards per punt at Prairie View before the solid performance at Alcorn State. Some of his bad habits while punting, he said, come from his years of playing soccer. He had to learn to adjust to the differences in punting an oddly shaped football and the soccer ball he was used to kicking." - The Advocate

August 30, 2014 - punter Soden busy at Louisiana-Lafayette
"Southern punter Paul Randle Soden was called on nine times against the Cajuns and came through. He averaged 44.0 yards per punt and had a long of 63 and another of 55 yards." - The Times-Picayune

August 20, 2014 - kicker Cal Yonke
"The Jaguars were in a bind last week when kicker Greg Pittman was lost for six to eight weeks with a knee injury. Matt Hill was already on the shelf with a hip injury so Southern didn't have a kicker. So Odums went to his knees and darn if the phone didn't ring. 'I prayed,' Odums said when asked what he did about the dilemma. The Jaguars picked up Cal Yonke, a student at Colorado State but who wasn't on the football team. Odums said special teams coordinator Marty Biagi worked the phones as apparently kickers and punters like to network. The two connected last week and Yonke arrived in Baton Rouge and enrolled in school on Thursday. He was near perfect in Saturday's scrimmage, missing only a 43-yard field goal attempt." - NOLA

August 14, 2014 - kicker Greg Pittman undergoes surgery
"Place-kicker Greg Pittman had surgery Wednesday on the meniscus in his right (kicking) leg and will be sidelined four to six weeks, coach Dawson Odums said. Pittman, a junior from Helen Cox High School, injured the leg when it got rolled during practice last week. He made 8 of 12 field goals last season, inluding a long of 44 in the 34-27 double-overtime victory against Jackson State in the Southwestern Athletic Conference championship game. The only other place-kicker listed on the roster is Matt Hill, a senior from Pensacola, Florida, who is currently sidelined by an unspecified muscle pull. Hill made 2 of 3 field goals last season." - The Advocate

July 22, 2014 - 8th grade long snapper offered
"It didn’t seem possible to the 13-year-old, a rising eighth grade long snapper at Vickery Creek Middle School, that he would be collecting college scholarships this soon. He was at Louisiana State University’s specialist camp this past Sunday merely to get familiar with how summer college camps work, gain exposure and maybe meet a high-profile college coach or two. He wound up the MVP and meeting Tigers head coach Les Miles. He has met Alabama head coach Nick Saban, Georgia head coach Mark Richt. Southern University special teams coordinator and secondary coach Marty Biagi was at the LSU camp, too. After Skinner Jr. and his dad left LSU, Biagi called with the scholarship offer. 'We were kind of like, ‘Uh, are you serious?’ Skinner Sr. said. 'At first, to be honest, I didn’t know if it was a real thing. But [Biagi] was serious about it. He said he’s impressed with his ability to long snap, and he basically told us as long as the head coaching staff is in place at Southern – it’s a long ways off – but they just wanted my son to know he had a scholarship offer from them'.” - Forsyth County News

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