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B1G 2017 Spring Position Rankings: KICKERS

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Who’s the best kicker and kickoff specialist in the Big Ten?

Do you enjoy the witticisms of ranking Big Ten safeties by height? Of subtly trolling Penn State fans?

Well that's not what this article is! We're talking kickers, and with a solid crop at the top of the conference, we're breaking down the entire Big Ten, plus the best of the kickoff specialists! Let's hit it.

Kickers

1. Emmit Carpenter, Minnesota

@Mit_Carp

Kicker School Yr XPM XPA XP% FGM FGA FG% 30-39 40-49 50+ Lg
Emmit Carpenter MN 2 43 44 98% 22 24 92% 6/8 8/8 2/2 53

It’s hard to pick against the returning Bakken-Andersen Kicker of the Year. As such, I’m not going to! Carpenter has a hell of a leg, turning in a perfect 10/10 performance from beyond 40 yards in 2016, along with a tied-for-B1G-best long of 53 yards. Oh, he’s also the Minnesota kickoff specialist on top of that (see below), and one of the best in the Big Ten.

Carpenter will break every Minnesota kicking record if he keeps up his torrid pace, though until he goes Full Nystrom on Penn State, Dan from Robbinsdale Cooper will still have a special place in my heart.

Also, this was a strike against Carpenter. Educate your student-athletes better, Minnesota:

2. Drew Brown, Nebraska

@Drewdbrown34

Kicker School Yr XPM XPA XP% FGM FGA FG% 30-39 40-49 50+ Lg
Drew Brown UNL 4 38 38 100% 12 14 86% 4/4 3/4 1/2 51

Just another Brown proving to be a solid kicker for the Huskers. Ho hum. The rising senior drilled another 50+ kick (51) in 2016 and missed a 56-yarder against Illinois but as a consistently-strong leg that Mike Riley was not afraid to call on. He’ll be yet another 4-year starter at kicker for the Huskers and should find his name near the top of the conference after entering 2016 on the Groza watch list.

Never mind that waiting in the wings behind Brown is 6’5" kicker Cole Frahm. The Huskers just keep reloading solid kickers.

3. Rafael Gaglianone

@rafagaglianone

Kicker School Yr XPM XPA XP% FGM FGA FG% 30-39 40-49 50+ Lg
Rafael Gaglianone uw 3r 10 10 100% 7 8 88% 2/3 4/4 - 48

He’s baaaaack...

Everyone’s favorite sambaing kicker should return to the field in 2017 for the badgers after undergoing back surgery after three games in 2016. Before his injury, Gaglianone was 7/8 on field goals and a perfect 4/4 from beyond 40 yards. He’s this low mostly due to uncertainty about his health and should contend for the conference’s highest honor if he’s fully back.

4. Tyler Davis, Penn State

@Tyler_Davis94

Kicker School Yr XPM XPA XP% FGM FGA FG% 30-39 40-49 50+ Lg
Tyler Davis PSU 4r 62 62 100% 22 24 92% 12/14 3/3 - 40

I have Davis and Gaglianone close together, but I’m giving Rafa the nod until I see Davis hit something in a game beyond 40 yards. And for dancing.

In the meantime, Davis is a solid mid-range kicker who, since quitting his soccer career at Bradley University to take up kicking at Penn State, has been excellent on PATs and solid in his one high-leverage situation against Minnesota since seizing the job from Joey Julius in mid-2015.

Rest assured, if he ever does need to make another high-leverage kick, though, the Blue Band has him pretty well-trained to do so:

5. Chase McLaughlin, Illinois

@cmclaughlin48

Kicker School Yr XPM XPA XP% FGM FGA FG% 30-39 40-49 50+ Lg
Chase McLaughlin IL 3r 26 26 100% 12 17 71% 4/5 4/6 1/3 53

Thumpasaurus: I think you've got McLaughlin right at 5. I'd never heard of this guy and he comes on and doesn't miss until October. He has range and accuracy up to about 50 yards. That being said, he's only been in the job one year and I can't overlook the fact that he clanged the most important kick of the season against Purdue.

But even if he just repeats his production from last year, I trust him.

Then, because it’s Thump, we got extra commentary:

Illinois is 1/3 on game-winning-or-tying field goals in the last 5 seasons.

The two misses are by Derek Dimke (who signed with two NFL teams but never played in the regular season) and McLaughlin. The one make is by David Reisner of all people.

I guess thanks, Thump?

6. Griffin Oakes, Indiana

@Griffin_Oakes

Kicker School Yr XPM XPA XP% FGM FGA FG% 30-39 40-49 50+ Lg
Griffin Oakes IN 4r 33 35 94% 16 26 62% 2/4 5/8 0/3 49

Oakes got an awful case of the yips in 2016, but his game-winning kick against Michigan State redeemed him at least a little in the eyes of the Indiana faithful. His past seasons and kickoff stats show he’s got the leg, but accuracy has become a problem.

Candystripes for Breakfast: After being the Big Ten Kicker of the Year in 2015, 2016 was a year Griffin Oakes would probably rather forget. Very little went right for him, to the extent that I would only be a little surprised if he wasn't Indiana's starting kicker in 2017.

Should he retain his job and return to his previous form, 2017 could once again be a big year for Oakes. If that doesn't happen, this might be the last time "Griffin Oakes" and "starting kicker" are used in the same sentence.

7. J.D. Dellinger, Purdue

@JDDell85

Kicker School Yr XPM XPA XP% FGM FGA FG% 30-39 40-49 50+ Lg
J.D. Dellinger PU 2 35 36 97% 10 14 71% 5/7 1/2 - 42

Little to go on for Dellinger, who was saddled with an offense that didn’t score much, was usually playing from behind, and often wouldn’t even get him into field goal range. He nailed a 28-yard game-winner against Illinois but had been just 2/5 on field goals to that point.

8. Sean Nuernberger, Ohio State

@Sean4Heisman1

Kicker School Yr XPM XPA XP% FGM FGA FG% 30-39 40-49 50+ Lg
Sean Nuernberger ('14) OSU 3 89 89 100% 13 20 65% - 5/10 - 49

Going off his 2014 stats, Nuernberger has the potential to hit the big kicks for the Buckeyes, but he’s also a little erratic with the leg.

There will, of course, be the challenge from Austin Brizee, the marching band member who hit a 55-yarder and received a tryout offer (along with an interview here). Meanwhile, apparently greyshirting is a thing for kickers in the Big Ten now, as Urban Meyer plans to greyshirt #2-ranked kicker Blake Haubeil in 2017.

I still like Nuernberger to emerge assuming he can shake off the rust, and if he’s healthy he’s pushing up this list in the fall.

9. Keith Duncan, Iowa

@kduncan_8

Kicker School Yr XPM XPA XP% FGM FGA FG% 30-39 40-49 50+ Lg
Keith Duncan IA 2 38 39 97% 9 11 82% 2/4 1/1 - 41

Duncan’s kick was the highest-leverage kicking play in the Big Ten in 2016, but it does belie that Kirk Ferentz would rarely call on the true freshman from distance—can’t punt from inside the 40 if you kick a field goal, obviously.

Stewmonkey13: Duncan does not have a particularly big leg, and had some ugly looking kicks last season. But he has the stones to make a kick in a big moment (hi, Michigan).

T-10. David Bonagura, Rutgers

@DBonagura98

Kicker School Yr XPM XPA XP% FGM FGA FG% 30-39 40-49 50+ Lg
David Bonagura RU 4r 20 22 91% 10 14 71% 4/5 1/4 - 41

T-10. Adam Greene, Maryland

Kicker School Yr XPM XPA XP% FGM FGA FG% 30-39 40-49 50+ Lg
Adam Greene MD 4r 37 38 97% 9 14 64% 5/7 0/1 0/1 37

I don’t have anything witty to say about either one of these two. Less accurate than Duncan, both average on kickoffs as well. Greene struggled to make a name for himself after replacing Aussie Brad Craddock, while after kicker Alex Barbir flipped from the ol’ Raritan to the middle of nowhere, Rutgers went with Bonagura.

Competitions/Newcomers

Michigan

Ryan Tice (2): @R_Tice15

Quinn Nordin (1r): @QuinnNordin

Sleepovers do pay off, as Michigan landed the top kicker in the nation, Nordin, though he missed 2016. When Kenny Allen struggled for Michigan in 2016, Tice came on and missed a 40-yarder against wisconsin, but not even Harbaugh’s expectation that Tice would win the job could secure him the gig. Tice finished the year 0/1 on field goals but made all 10 of his extra points. Watch this battle as spring camp rolls on.

Michigan State

Matt Coghlin (1r): @MatthewCoghlin

From Andrew K:

Matt Coghlin is the presumed starter for MSU. Redshirt freshman, so who knows if he'll be any good. Dantonio has also traditionally has a kickoff specialist, but no clue yet who that would be.

Northwestern

Mason Weissenhofer (2r): @TheWeissOne

Drew Luckenbaugh (1r): @drewmyles15

Charlie Kuhbander (1): @CKuhbander

Your guess is as good as mine. Weissenhofer made some noise in Northwestern circles a while back with a 65-yarder and is the presumptive front-runner, but it’s a wide-open field in Evanston to replace 4th-quarter specialist (PSU link) Jack Mitchell.

Luckenbaugh may also have a leg up (I’m so sorry) for the kickoff specialist role, while Kuhbander is the most highly-touted kicking recruit Northwestern has had since current punter Hunter Niswander (more on him tomorrow).

Kickoff Specialists

1. P.J. Rosowski, wisconsin

Kicker School Yr KO Yds Avg TB TB%
P.J. Rosowski uw 3r 79 5032 63.696 51 65%

Far and away the best in the conference. No comparison.

2. Joey Julius, Penn State

Kicker School Yr KO Yds Avg TB TB%
Joey Julius PSU 3r 93 5775 62.097 45 48%

Numbers are pretty similar to Carptener's (see below), but I think we all know why Joey gets the nod here...

3. Emmit Carpenter, Minnesota

Kicker School Yr KO Yds Avg TB TB%
Emmit Carpenter MN 2 76 4694 61.763 38 50%

4. Drew Brown, Nebraska

Kicker School Yr KO Yds Avg TB TB%
Drew Brown UNL 4 63 4017 63.762 30 48%

5. Chase McLaughlin, Illinois

Kicker School Yr KO Yds Avg TB TB%
Chase McLaughlin IL 3r 34 2102 61.824 15 44%

Also "Receiving" "Votes"

Griffin Oakes, Indiana

Danny Sutton, Maryland


You think THIS was fun? Stay tuned tomorrow to find out who the best punter in the Big Ten is! In the meantime, vote in the poll and tell me why I’m hilariously misguided in my rankings of kickers and failure to know about a touted walk-on at Michigan State from Beaver’s Lick, Ontonagon County, Michigan.

-MNW