Kick Coverage, Week 1
The first real week of the 2017 season was undoubtedly great, the kicking scene included.
At schools like Alabama and Utah, murky kicker situations became clear after de facto audition processes. Elsewhere, freshmen and other first-time starters made strong cases that they might become even better than their decorated predecessors.
Many relative unknown kickers also dazzled, including one that fell several school records on one kick. Conversely, several of the pre-season Groza favorites already have blemishes on their stat-lines already.
But thankfully, there’s still plenty of games to be played (and kicks to be made). And for that, I can’t wait—welcome back, college football.
If I ever miss something cool, let me know in the comments.
Kicker of the Week:
Quinn Nordin, Michigan – 4/6 FG: 55, 50, 30, 25; 3/3 XPs
Nordin, the freshman that Jim Harbaugh famously slept with in January (phrasing?), announced his arrival to college football loud and clear on Saturday against Florida.
After warming up with a 25-yard make on Michigan’s first drive, Harbaugh wasted no time testing his redshirt freshman’s leg on a 55-yarder that literally couldn’t have been any closer of a make:
Hitting the two 50+ers marks the first time any Michigan kicker has accomplished the feat, and the greater of the two stands as the season’s longest in the nation so far (see below).
Nordin, who sports a Ricky Vaughn-buzz in honor of his closer role, was a three-star recruit and Rivals’ top-rated kicker in the class of 2016. Before making headlines for Harbaugh’s relentless pursuit of him, Nordin first caught college football’s attention for the 65-yarder he hit at Kornblue Kicking Camp. He is, without a doubt, the extremely early Groza favorite.
1) No kicker in the nation has bigger shoes to fill than Arizona State’s Brandon Ruiz. In his first game taking over for most recent Lou Groza winner and all-time NCAA field goal leader Zane Gonzalez, Ruiz wasted little time in showing he was more than worthy. After missing on a 56-yarder, the freshman hit a 52-yard bomb that was crucial in the Sun Devils 37-31 escape of New Mexico State:
Rip it like Ruiz! 🙌 pic.twitter.com/YLBli47gYj
— Sun Devil Football (@FootballASU) September 1, 2017
I don’t know anything about kicking mechanics and don’t pretend to, but I know that Ruiz leaves me mesmerized as to how he generates so much power off what seems like such a short approach.
2) It looks like Andy Gay won the Utah kicker job in a trial by fire during the Ute’s 37-16 win over FCS North Dakota. True freshman Chayden Johnston was trotted out first to try a 45-yarder in the first quarter, which he missed. That prompted Kyle Whittingham to call Gay’s name for the next attempt, a 33-yarder which was successful. Senior Gay got the call twice more on the day, finishing a perfect 3/3 FG (33, 32, 49) and 4/4 XP.
3) Lane Kiffin’s best player in Florida Atlantic’s 42-19 loss to Navy just might have been Greg Joseph. A former walk-on, Joseph broke three school records with a single kick. The 54-yarder he hit in the third was not only the longest in FAU’s history, but also made him the Owls’ all-time leading scorer and field goal kicker. He also made one from 24 to go 2/2 on the day.
Doink of the Week:
Cincinnati senior Andrew Gantz did not have a good start to his 2017 season. Another UC student did, however:
No reason to freak out, UC. Gantz misses a 26 yard FG and a PAT, but a random fan from the stands kicked a 20 yard FG … okay. Freak out.
— C. Austin Cox (@C_Austin_Cox) September 1, 2017
Week 2 Kicker Matchup To Watch:
Greg Joseph (Florida Atlantic)
6-1, 210 lbs
Boca Raton, FL
This Season: 2-2 (100%)
Career: 44/63 (69.8%):
Longest make: 54
Tale of the Tape: Four-year starter Joseph already reserved a place in FAU’s record books (see above), now he’ll spend the rest of the season cementing it. Saturday’s 54-yard bomb was a personal best, surpassing the 50-yard mark he set for himself last year against FIU. The former MaxPrep.com All-American and All-State soccer player has improved his FG% steadily the past three seasons (60.4%, 62.9%, 64.7%) and based on the leg he showed in Week 1, a run at All-CUSA honors wouldn’t be out of the question.
Rafael Gaglianone (Wisconsin)
5-11, 232 lbs
Sao Paulo, Brazil
Kohl’s Ranking: #5, Class of 2014
ESPN.com, Scout: ***
This Season: 1-1 (100%)
Career: 45/58 (77.5%)
Longest make: 51
Tale of the Tape: Joseph’s Owls will go to Camp Randall to face Rafael Gaglianone’s Wisconsin squad. The Brazillian missed most of last season with a back injury, but not before going 7-8 on field goals (including 4-4 from 40-49). That start looked like a return to form from his freshman year when he tied the UW record with 14 consecutive FGMs, went 19-22 overall (87.5%), including 2-3 from 50+. He hasn’t been called on to try a shot that long in two years now, but wouldn’t be out of the possibility if the UW offense stalls on Saturday in Madison, where the forecast calls for clear skies and calm winds.
Long Ball Leaderboard Through Week 1:
The cut to make the top 15 longest list has risen to 44 yards already. Nordin is not only the only player listed twice, he’s also the only kicker in the country to make two FGs from 40 or further on the season.
|1||Quinn Nordin||Michigan||55||1, Florida|
|2||Greg Joseph||Florida Atlantic||54||1, Navy|
|3||Matthew McCrane||Kansas State||53||1, Central Arkansas|
|4||Brandon Ruiz||Arizona St.||52||1, New Mexico St.|
|5T||Michael Badgley||Miami (FL)||50||1, Bethune-Cookman|
|5T||Daniel Carlson||Auburn||50||1, Georgia Southern|
|5T||Quinn Nordin||Michigan||50||1, Florida|
|8T||Matt Gay||Utah||49||1, N. Dakota|
|8T||Cooper Rothe||Wyoming||49||1, @Iowa|
|10||Daniel LaCamera||Texas A&M||48||1, @UCLA|
|11||Tyler Davis||Penn State||47||1, Akron|
|12||Jimmy Camacho||Fresno St.||47||1, Incarnate Word|
|13||Eddy Pineiro||Florida||46||1, Michigan|
|14||Nick Vogel||UAB||45||1, Alabama A&M|
|15T||Ryan Nuss||W. Kentucky||44||1, E. Kentucky|
|15T||Evan Pantels||UNLV||44||1, Howard|
|15T||Matthew Wright||UCF||44||1, FIU|
Kicker Survivor Leaderboard Through Week 1:
Lots of big names eliminated already and the winner of the inaugural Kicker Survivor contest may be a complete surprise (especially to the winner themselves, who has no idea this exists).
Of the 106 kickers that have recorded an FGA this season, 50 (47%) have missed at least once already, with the overwhelming majority missing their first attempt of the season. The average distance on eliminating attempts was a respectable 41.72 yards.
|4||Wyatt Bryan||Colo St.||-||-|
|3||Daniel LaCamera||Texas A&M||-||-|
|3||Colton Lichtenberg||Boston College||-||-|
|2||Michael Badgley||Miami (FL)||-||-|
|2||Jimmy Camacho||Fresno St.||-||-|
|2||Greg Joseph||Florida Atlantic||-||-|
|2||Sean Nuernberger||Ohio St.||-||-|
|2||Gavin Patterson||South Alabama||-||-|
|2||James Sherman||Texas St.||-||-|
|2||Samuel Sloman||Miami (OH)||-||-|
|2||Sawyer Williams||Arkansas St.||-||-|
|2||M̶i̶c̶h̶a̶e̶l̶ ̶A̶r̶m̶s̶t̶r̶o̶n̶g̶||Central Michigan||-||46|
|2||C̶h̶r̶i̶s̶t̶i̶a̶n̶ ̶H̶a̶g̶a̶n̶||Northern Illinois||-||39|
|2||G̶a̶r̶y̶ ̶W̶u̶n̶d̶e̶r̶l̶i̶c̶k̶||Ole Miss||-||45|
|1||John Baron II||SDSU||-||-|
|1||Dominik Eberle||Utah St.||-||-|
|1||Paul Fricano||Eastern Michigan||-||-|
|1||Haden Hoggarth||Boise St.||-||-|
|1||Shane Hynes||Kent State||-||-|
|1||Mike Molina||West Virginia||-||-|
|1||Trevor Moore||North Texas||-||-|
|1||Emilio Nadelman||South Florida||-||-|
|1||Ryan Nuss||Western Kentucky||-||-|
|1||Erik Powell||Washington St.||-||-|
|1||Nick Rice||Old Dominion||-||-|
|1||Michael Rubino||App. State||-||-|
|1||Jason Sanders||New Mexico||-||-|
|1||Parker Shaunfield||Southern Miss||-||-|
|1||Mike Weaver||Wake Forest||-||-|
|1||Brandon Wright||Georgia St.||-||-|
|1||M̶a̶t̶t̶ ̶A̶m̶m̶e̶n̶d̶o̶l̶a̶||Ok. St.||1||33|
|1||J̶o̶n̶a̶t̶h̶a̶n̶ ̶B̶a̶r̶n̶e̶s̶||Louisiana Tech||1||52|
|1||F̶r̶e̶e̶m̶a̶n̶ ̶J̶o̶n̶e̶s̶||North Carolina||1||45|
|1||J̶o̶e̶y̶ ̶S̶l̶y̶e̶||Virginia Tech||1||38|
|0||R̶i̶c̶k̶y̶ ̶A̶g̶u̶a̶y̶o̶||Florida St.||1||37|
|0||T̶y̶l̶e̶r̶ ̶B̶a̶s̶s̶||Georgia Southern||1||44|
|0||T̶y̶l̶e̶r̶ ̶D̶a̶v̶i̶s̶||Penn State||1||39|
|0||T̶u̶c̶k̶e̶r̶ ̶D̶a̶y̶||Mississippi St.||1||32|
|0||J̶o̶s̶h̶ ̶G̶r̶a̶n̶t̶||Western Michigan||1||38|
|0||M̶o̶r̶g̶a̶n̶ ̶H̶a̶g̶e̶e̶||Ball St.||1||54|
|0||B̶r̶a̶d̶e̶n̶ ̶M̶a̶n̶n̶||Texas A&M||1||43|
|0||M̶a̶t̶t̶h̶e̶w̶ ̶M̶c̶C̶r̶a̶n̶e̶||Kansas St.||1||50|
|0||B̶r̶a̶n̶d̶o̶n̶ ̶R̶u̶i̶z̶||Arizona St.||1||56|
|0||J̶a̶k̶e̶ ̶V̶e̶r̶i̶t̶y̶||East Carolina||1||51|
|0||C̶a̶r̶s̶o̶n̶ ̶W̶i̶s̶e̶||NC State||1||29|
|0||J̶u̶s̶t̶i̶n̶ ̶Y̶o̶o̶n̶||Notre Dame||1||44|
|0||J̶o̶r̶d̶a̶n̶ ̶C̶h̶o̶u̶k̶a̶i̶r̶||Oregon St.||0||52|
Still none in FBS. Ball State’s Morgan Hagee had his 54-yard game-winning attempt blocked as time expired at Illinois, as did Georgia Tech’s Shawn Davis, which led to the Yellow Jackets’ demise in 2OT against Tennessee.
There was also this nice 32-yarder from Nicholl State’s Lorran Fonseca to defeat rivals
Mayor McCheese McNeese State: