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2012 Draft Preview: Specialists
SAN DIEGO – Chargers.com will devote several weeks to previewing the 2012 NFL Draft, detailing prospects by position so you can familiarize yourself with the names and faces that will shape the future of the franchise and the NFL.
Today we’ll review the top specialists in the draft pool.
Chargers angle: Punter Mike Scifres is signed through 2016 and averaged a career-best 47.5 yards per punt in 2011.
Kicker Nate Kaeding returns after tearing his ACL in the 2011 season-opener, and Nick Novak (27-of-34 on FG attempts last season) will be in camp with the Chargers as well.
BRYAN ANGER, California
6-foot-3 ½, 208 pounds
“If you can hang the ball up five seconds to get, say, 45 to 50 yards, the returner’s not going to return it because the coverage is going to be down there, so you can lead like a quarterback in determining what’s going to happen.”
Notes: Averaged 45.0 yards per punt in 2010-11 … Sent one punt at least 40 yards in all 51 college games … Booted a punt of at least 50 yards in 38 of those games … Began punting as a high school junior … Averaged 60 yards on three punts in the East-West Shrine Game … Incorporated rugby and Australian-rules style kicks and shortened his approach from three to two steps toward the end of his Cal career … Holds degree in integrative biology.
RANDY BULLOCK, TEXAS A&M
5-foot-9 ¼, 205 pounds
“(My dad) was huge on academics and that’s one of the reasons I’m trying to finish up my degree. (After) the NFL I want to be able to work in the oil and gas industry. He just taught me so many things about being successful, being disciplined, working hard and that nothing comes easy if it’s worthwhile.”
Notes: Won the Lou Groza Award as the nation’s most valuable kicker and earned consensus first team All-American status in 2011, making 29 of 33 field goal attempts … Went 12 of 14 on field goal attempts between 40 and 49 yards … Also handled kickoffs for the Aggies … Father died of a heart attack in 2003, a few months before Bullock enrolled in college … Bullock earned degree in petroleum engineering, his father’s career.
DREW BUTLER, Georgia
6-foot-1, 203 pounds
“Dad was called ‘Butthead,’ but everybody just calls me ‘Butt.’”
Notes: Son of long-time NFL placekicker Kevin Butler, a member of the ’85 Bears Super Bowl team. The two can become the second father-son kicking specialists to reach the NFL in history … Set a school record for the Bulldogs in ’09, averaging 48.1 yards on 56 punts. Butler won the Ray Guy Award as the nation’s top punter … Averaged 51.6 yards on eight punts in the SEC Championship Game against LSU, with three downed inside the 20 … Career average of 45.4 yards per punt is more than two yards better than the next-closest punter in Georgia history.
DEREK DIMKE, Illinois
5-foot-10 ¾, 178
“I warmed up a heck of a lot. During Big 10 play, we really didn’t have too many field goals at all. A lot of cold games not kicking much.”
Notes: Made 84.8 percent of his field goal attempts in college and hit all 89 of his extra-point attempts … Dimke isn’t known as a long-distance kicker, but he made 12 of 15 attempts of 40 or more yards in college, including 2 of 3 from at least 50 yards … Attempted just 12 field goals as a senior and made 10 … Used to windy conditions kicking in Champaign, Ill.
BRAD NORTMAN, Wisconsin
6-foot-2 ½, 213 pounds
“You have to be accountable. You have a lot more pressure. That’s something I really look forward to being a part of. If they tell you, ‘We want it here,’ you better put it there.”
Notes: Averaged between 41.8 and 42.7 yards per punt for his entire four-year career … Placed 34.7 percent of his punts inside the opposing 20-yard line … Showed good athleticism at the NFL Combine with a 35-inch vertical and a 10-foot-1 broad jump … Executed a fake punt in 2010 against Iowa, helping the Badgers to a Rose Bowl appearance, where Nortman again rushed for a first down on a fake.
SHAWN POWELL, Florida State
6-foot-3 ¾, 248 pounds
“I’ve been working on my Aussie-style kick because that is always something you need to have in the NFL. It’s starting to be the big thing.”
Notes: Has worked with former Chargers punter Darren Bennett on the Australian rules kick and regularly practices kicking to targets he places on the field … Set the single-season school record as a senior in 2011, averaging 47.0 yards per punt, leading the nation as a consensus All-American … Net average of 41.3 ranked second in the NCAA.
BRIAN STAHOVICH, San Diego State
5-foot-11, 211 pounds
“I’m a big fan of competition. I love that stuff. I’ll work as hard as I can to be the best.”
Notes: Earned Mountain West Conference Player of the Week honors as a junior for belting an 89-yard punt against Wyoming, a school record … Booted a 50-yard punt in 38 of San Diego State’s last 45 games … Averaged 44.3 yards per punt from 2009-11 for the Aztecs.
BLAIR WALSH, Georgia
5-foot-9 ¼, 187 pounds
“It’s awesome I get to share this experience with my team(mate) Drew (Butler). He’s a great punter. I just think our program values the kickers and punters a lot. They really know how to take care of us and they know how to get us the best help and it translates into our play.”
Notes: Walsh’s 412 career points are SEC and Georgia records and place him second in NCAA history … Set an NCAA record by making at least one field goal in 45 different games … Holds Georgia record for career extra points (184) and consecutive extra points made (119) … Made 40-of-45 field goals between sophomore and junior seasons, but went 21-of-35 as a senior and missed a field goal in overtime against Michigan State during the 2012 Outback Bowl, and the Bulldogs eventually lost … Made 10 field goals of at least 50 yards during college career … Handled kickoffs in college.
OTHER NOTABLE SPECIALISTS
|P||Kyle Martens||Rice||6-4 ¾||226|
|K||Philip Welch||Wisconsin||6-2 ¼||206|
|K||Carson Wiggs||Purdue||6-0 ¾||221|
|K||Greg Zuerlein||Missouri Western State||6-0||188|