We continue our Conference USA Preseason Position Reviews by looking at the kickers in the conference. 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 have no idea if that position is going to turn out to be a plus 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 this unit to improve. Depth is above average to good, with a player or two having the potential to make an All-C-USA Team.
“Great Shape” means all-conference performers are at this position or there is good-to-great depth across the board. You obviously want your team to be here.
1, Southern Miss: Parker Shaunfield made First Team All C-USA last season after making 85 percent of his attempts. He’s 31-of-39 in his career.
2. UTSA: Jared Sackett had a great freshman season, leading returning kickers in the conference with 86 percent makes on field goals last season. He was 19-of-22 on the year.
3. FIU: Jose Borregales was very consistent as a freshman, going 15-18 last season with a 44-yarder as the longest FG made.
4. UAB: Nick Vogel was 13-of-17 last year. He was 5-of-8 on field goals 40 yards or out and 6-of-6 on attempts inside the 40 yard line. Vogel hit the game winner against Middle Tennessee last season so he has a history of being clutch too.
5. Old Dominion: Nick Rice went 15-of-20 last season as a freshman and didn’t miss a single PAT. His longest FG made on the season was a 48-yarder.
6. North Texas: Trevor Moore was terrific last season and played a huge role in UNT’s turnaround season. Replacing him will be tough, but the Mean Green will turn to a veteran kicker as Arkansas graduate transfer Cole Hedlund appears to be the guy to replace him. Hedlund has made 91 consecutive PATs but his 14-of-24 in his career.
8. WKU: Ryan Nuss was extremely volatile last season, making 3 field goals over 40 yards but missing 5-of-12 under 40.
9. Marshall: Another kicker who won’t be too hard to replace is Kaare Vedvik who went 10-of-16 last season. Justin Rohrwasser from the JUCO ranks will compete with sophomore Robert LeFevre to be the full time kicker.
10. FAU: Vladimir Rivas, a redshirt freshman, appears set to replace one of the best kickers in C-USA over the past few years, Greg Joseph.
11. Louisiana Tech: Jonathan Barnes is gone and finished as one of the best kickers in La Tech history.
12. Middle Tennessee: Canon Rooker is gone. Stepping in to replace him will be Crews Holt, who made 1 field goal last season. The sophomore was named MTSU’s most improved special teams players this spring.
13. UTEP: The Miners finished 128th in FG efficiency last season. Brady Viles and Jason Filley combined to go 3-of-7 on seven field goals and was only 2-of-4 inside of 40 yards. Both return to El Paso.
13. Rice: The Owls didn’t have too many chances to kick field goals. Will Harrison and Haden Tobola combined to go 3-of-5 on the season, with Harrison converting all 21 of his PATs. Punter Jack Fox is terrific. Perhaps Mike Bloomgren turns to Fox as the full time kicker.
14. Charlotte: Three Charlotte kickers saw the field last season. They combined to go 4-for-7 on field goals under 40 yards and 0-for-6 on field goals 40 and over. They also missed three PATs. These numbers were bad enough to make Charlotte last in FG efficiency. Nigel Macauley, Jackson Vansickle and Kyle Corbett will return.