We continue our Conference USA preseason position reviews by looking at the kickers in C-USA. The grading categories: “Great Shape,” “Good Shape,” and “We’ll See.”
To elaborate on the grades, "We'll See" means exactly what it means. We don’t know if that position is going to turn out to be a positive due to a lack of proven contributors and questionable depth. At this time, there’s no way to know.
“Good Shape” means known commodities are at the position but there’s still room for improvement. Depth is probably decent at the position but an injury could be catastrophic.
“Great Shape” means all-conference performers are at this position or there is good-to-great depth. You definitely want your team to be here.
1. Louisiana Tech: Jonathan Barnes was 22-for-27 on field goals last season and 77-for-78 on PATs. Nine of those 22 successful attempts are from 40-plus. Barnes also has a game-winner under his belt as he made the decisive field goal in Tech’s bowl game victory.
2. Middle Tennessee: Canon Rooker was a member of the All-Conference USA First-Team last season as he went 16-for-19 on field goals while scoring 112 points, the most points ever for a MTSU kicker.
3. Southern Miss: Parker Shaunfield was only 12-for-14 on field goals last year but six of those makes were longer than 40 yards. The junior was also perfect on PATs, going 40-for-40.
4. FAU: Greg Joseph has a huge leg as he made four of five field goals over 40 yards last season but he was inconsistent from 40 yards in (6-for-9). He was 10-for-14 last year and 39-for-39 on PATs. Given the senior’s range, I’d like to see Joseph become a lot more consistent near the red zone but Lane Kiffin shouldn’t be worried here.
5. Old Dominion: Brad Davis took over for an injured Chris Kirtley last year and should be the main guy going forward after Kirtley’s decision to leave the team. Davis was 10-for-12 on field goals and 45-for-46 on PATs last season and has a pretty big leg.
6. UTSA: Victor Falcon is back after going 12-for-17 on field goals last year with a perfect 43-for-43 for PATs. Falcon isn’t reliable from 40 yards out but he’s dependable from 40 yards in.
7. Western Kentucky: Skyler Simcox and Ryan Nuss were inconsistent as sophomores last year. The two kickers combined to make only 18 of 26 field goals that were 40-yard in. While that’s troubling, they are at the least veterans and should be more consistent this year.
8. North Texas: Trevor Moore probably isn’t going to appear on any All-CUSA team but he’s a reliable senior. Moore was 9-for-13 on field goal attempts last year but made only one field goal from 40 yards out. He was 43-for-43 on PATs.
9. Marshall: Good news: Amoreto Curraj was 4-for-5 on field goals under 40 yards. Bad news: he was he was 0-for-5 over 40 yards. Curraj was 4-for-10 on field goals last year and a head-scratching 39-for-42 on PATs due to blocked or errant kicks. Freshman kicker Cole Phillips could be Curraj’s replacement in the fall.
10. Rice: Haden Tobola was 7-for-11 on field goal attempts and 31-for-34 on PATs. Tobola doesn’t have a strong leg and his accuracy on PATs is troubling. Honorable Mention All-Conference USA punter Jack Fox saw some time as a place kicker last year and might be a better option going forward.
11. UTEP: After four years of reliable play from Jay Mattox, the Miners will look for an upperclassmen to emerge between Andrew Zubia and Jason Filley.
12. FIU: The Panthers will look to replace Austin Taylor with junior Scott Wade. Wade appeared in two games last season but has yet to attempt a field goal attempt in his career.
13. UAB: Nick Vogel is in line to be the starter. Now we just need to see him attempt a field goal when the lights are on.
14. Charlotte: The 49ers will be breaking in a new place kicker after the departures of Stephen Muscarello and Blake Brewer. Neither were particular great last year and the new guys, Kyle Corbett and Jackson Vansickle, might be just as unreliable after an uneven spring.