In college football, where games are highly explosive and the scores are higher. This can be where many college kickers make a name for themselves and can really become an elite college kicker. There are many kickers in college football. But it becomes that much more important for these players to strive to be head and shoulders above the rest. Being Elite requires many different characteristics in order to establish yourself.
Who Are the Best College Kickers Right Now?
According to the rankings of 2019, some of the best college kickers for the 2019 season are;
#1 Rodrigo Blankenship – Senior – 25/31 (80.6%)
#2 Keith Duncan – Junior – 29/34 (85.2%)
#3 Blake Mazza – Sophmore 20/21 (95.2%)
#4 Gabe Brkic – Freshman 17/17 (100%)
#5 Jake Koehnke – Senior 12/12 (100%)
# 6 Nick Sciba – Sophmore 24/25 (96%)
#7 Johnathan Song – Senior 23/24 (95.8%)
#8 Trey Wolff – Freshman 20/22 (90.9%)
It starts to get pretty wild that even the 8th best kicker in the college rankings maintains a 90% conversion rate. That gets pretty insane. While each of these kickers has their own form and technique, one thing to note; they were the hardest workers out of all of their peers.
#8 Trey Wolff
A true freshman at Texas Tech, Trey has shown tremendous promise. With a 90% conversion rate and 50% of his kicks going for touchbacks, Wolff has shown that he has a big-time leg already.
Most of the time, success in kicking comes down to doing simple tasks early and often. As long as he can continue to get stronger and better consistently, he will be a Lou Groza contender for sure. It gets impressive to see some of the talent from college kickers start in their first year.
After some time, you watch them develop into a hall of fame player for their team. Lamar Jackson, and Kyler Murray are examples of this.
They became elite at the high school level, and have found a method to develop with that works even in the pros. Typically, when a college player becomes a professional, they fall off a bit, so hopefully we see that these elite college kickers above carry the momentum forward.
Trey has the capabilities to make it to the next level. As long as he can focus, and do what is necessary to get there. One thing he does really well, he gets his long legs and hips to go downfield so he can maximize power. He also has a great body position at Ball Contact. A nice lean from the ball to get the hips and body in the right position to strike the ball.
#7 Johnathan Song
Johnathan has been with the frogs for 5 years, and has a 90% conversion rate! Finishing up his last season, his accuracy should be a highlight for many scouts as you need to be money from inside 40. He missed one kick out of 42 inside of 40 yards. Not bad at all! That kind of consistency just needs to bump out past 45 yards and he will be golden.
For most college kickers, there is a mental block once we get out past the 45 or 50-yard field goal mark. While most of it might only be mental, the only way to conquer it starts with repetitions. Since he takes care of the short-range kicks and Cole Bunce handles the long-range ones, it gets frustrating for a kicker to develop any sort of rhythm.
Typically, we want to handle our whole job without having to think about who will be kicking this one. So Johnathan came in big for the Horned Frogs as he became the sole kicker after Cole Bunce got hurt in a car accident. Johnathan has done just that, he has become very consistent all year and it will be great to see what comes from this.
One thing Johnathan does really well, he gets his entire body downfield through the kick to maximize momentum and power.
Elite College Kicker #6 Nick Sciba
While Nick had a pretty funny moment in the 2018 season. Not aware that his team was lining up for a field goal, he was practicing on the kicking net. Now with the whole team on the field, he was told that he needs to be out there. So he sprints like a bat out of hell and attempts the kick.
It would have been an amazing moment but he did not make the kick. Despite that, he had an incredible season in 2018. And in 2019, he did even better. Going 96% on 25 attempts is ridiculous. It makes sense that he has done well, he did well in high school going 8/11. This kid is consistent!
Looking at his form, the thing he does really well, he drives his leg and whole body through the ball. The ball flight tells you he does not leave any momentum on the table. He definitely gets the momentum through the ball.
Elite College Kicker #5 Jake Koehnke
Entering his final season with the air force, Jake definitely did big things. most players that have high percentages never attempt kicks longer than 50 yards. But Jake did just that, and nailed it!
He made a 57-yard field goal no problem! Big-time players make big-time plays in big-time games. Some other highlights were Jake went 4-4 against Navy. Jake did not see action for the 2016 or 2017 season but became a high performer in his 2018 season.
And an even better one in his 2019 season. It might be hard to do better than 100% on field goals. Most College Kickers can only dream of making all of their kicks in a season, and Jake gets to forever hold that title.
Jake does a great job of staying tall through the kick. When he swings his leg, his chest does not drop allowing for him to get full range of motion through the ball.
#4 Gabe Brkic
Gabe has one of those long bodies that allows him to hit through the ball with a massive amount of power. He hits 4.6-second hangtime kickoffs as a high schooler. Not many professionals are even doing that. While leg strength earns a large portion of respect.
That does not make or break a kicker. Consistency beats all. And sure enough, in his first season playing, Gabe made all 17 of his kicks. That deserves some massive recognition from the next level.
It takes some players quite a lot of time to develop into the next level of consistency while they are in college. Some players find their stride later in college, and some college kickers like Gabe found it as early as their freshman year.
Good for him.
It might be tough to follow that up for the remainder of his career but we shall see.
One of the main reasons he stays so consistent stems from his long levers getting through the ball. He leverages his body in such a way that it allows for him to really crank up and smash through the ball. Most tall people can have the luxury of getting their frame through the kick as long as they do it right.
Elite College Kickers #3 Blake Mazza
Bouncing back from a tough 2018 season, Blake shows why he should be a contender for the Lou Groza. Mazza, a sophomore from Plano, Texas, had made all 18 of his field goal attempts until a miss this past week snapped the longest consecutive field goal streak in Washington State history.
Still, at 18-for-19, his 94.7% accuracy rate is easily the best by any FBS kicker with multiple field goals from over 50 yards. It also will almost certainly finish as the most accurate season in school history.
He has made multiple field goals in seven games this year and converted at least 5 PATs in five games, helping to a season scoring total of 105, tied for 2nd in the country.
Consistent improvement needs to be a focus for Blake. As anyone who has a rough season would do, he worked 2 times as hard in order to correct the mistakes from the year prior. His crunch at contact might be the reason for his inconsistency the year prior. The reason this might stems from when the body jerks the hips out, the alignment in the body gets thrown off. He seems to have corrected it in 2019.
One thing that Mazza does really well, he keeps his eyes on the contact point really well. He does not lift his eyes until the ball has left his foot which is a really good thing. Often times, kickers want to see their kicks as soon as they kick.
He has good discipline in the sense that he knows his body stays controlled by not looking as soon as he makes contact.
Elite College Kickers #2 Keith Duncan
Duncan, a junior from Weddington, North Carolina, leads the nation with 29 made field goals, five more than the next closest kicker and a new Big Ten single-season record. A full dozen of those kicks have come from at least 40 yards out, the most in the nation.
Not only has he made a field goal in each game this season, he’s made 4 field goals in a game on three different occasions, each vital to close Iowa wins. With one more of those 4-FG performances, he would tie the all-time FBS record for field goals in a single season. None the less, Duncan has had an incredible year.
The fact that he has made 14 kicks from one season from 40+ yards is pretty awesome.
Keith gets his body in a great position to hit the ball. He leverages his body to hit the ball really well. And it shows. Now, if he can increase his strength to attempt more 50+ yard kicks, that would be the best thing for him.
Elite College Kickers #1 Rodrigo Blankenship
Blankenship, a senior from Marietta, Georgia, became the Bulldogs’ all-time career scoring leader thanks to a 23-for-26 campaign that ties for second in FBS for made field goals.
Three of those makes came from 50 yards out, tying him for the national lead for most field goals from long distance. His 88.5% conversion rate is the best among kickers with at least 20 attempts and at least one kick from 50 yards.
He has never missed a PAT in 190 career attempts, including 36 this year that help lift his season scoring total to 105, tied for 2nd in the country.
Oh boy, the specs are here. Rodrigo has shown time and time again that he can perform at a high level. Watching his film, he seems like an NFL caliber player no doubt.
Hitting kickoffs 85 yards with 4.2+ seconds of hangtime pretty consistently seems to be the norm for him. Just for reference, a normal touchback has to go 70 yards to reach the back of the endzone.
He has capabilities to hit those kickoffs 15 yards past the back of the endzone, consistently.
Not only that, he manages to keep the hangtime high enough as well. That means that even with his far kicks, one would expect to see a drop in hangtime to achieve that distance.
However, he can keep the hangtime quite high while still hitting the ball over 80 yards, absolutely insane. And Rodrigo has never had a “Bad” season on paper in college.
He can make kicks from anywhere, and he carries himself well. As long as he can stay humble, this guy will do big things.
Rodrigo Blankenship Continued
What Rodrigo does well, he really stays square with the target at contact. His body position stays tall, and the ball explodes off of his foot. It seems as if he barely hits it and yet it travels over the uprights from 45 yards or more.
That can be hard to teach for the average kicker. Most kickers usually see their ball start to drop below the highest point after 45 yards. His ball seems to keep climbing until it gets to 50 yards.
Often times, the ball moves and curves after so many yards. Blankenship hits the ball with such force that the ball has no choice but to fly straight and true. It really is a sight to see.
Rodrigo has a ton of torque that allows him to snap and explode up and through the ball. Allowing for there to be little error when met with good technique. Sometimes, you just cannot teach that kind of power, you either have it or you do not.
Power can be great, but unless the kicker knows how to utilize it, that might be an entirely different question.
Elite Kickers Have One Thing in Common
Every kicker who has ever been among the “Elite” has one similarity; They all have power over their mind. Having the right Mindset, and matching that sound a sound technique that develops over time, can be a recipe for massive success.
Some of these kickers above, along with many others who are not on this list, will go on to become great kickers in professional careers and make it to the 1%. Some of these kickers might go Undrafted.
One of these kickers might take longer than others to get there, but they will get there.
In the end, the person who has the most confidence in themself, and natural desire to improve, will most likely thrive in anything they do. That will be where a Kicking Coach comes in.
Kicking coaches understand what must be done to develop a player from where they are to where they want to be. It takes a ton of patience, failure, and determination to achieve the level that needs to be achieved.
Eventually, we will have NFL Kicking Coaches as well to develop the professionals.
Thanks for reading and stay amazing!