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B1G 2018 Positional Previews: KICKERS

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Toto, we’re not in the end zone anymore. Let’s kick some pigskin.

NCAA Football: Music Bowl-Kentucky vs Northwestern Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Ohhh yes folks you are not mistaken, the time. Has. Come. Get up out of your seats, your beds, your ill-advised balanced ball chairs, and make some silent inner-monologue noise for your 2018 B1G kickers! A novice may gloss over this piece, but as we all know the B1G takes its kicking game very seriously, and while the punters have this group soundly outmatched in playing time, kickers put points on the board sometimes.

Borrowing from China’s Social Credit System model, we emphasize the following values:

  • Honesty in government affairs Dependability- Perhaps more than any other position, perfection is expected of kickers. We lean toward kickers that are accurate and known to get the job done when needed.
  • Commercial integrity Range- Accuracy aside, is this a guy that could potentially get you some points from 55-60? We like that guy.
  • Societal integrity Versatility- Is this kicker trusted not only for field goals, but also for kickoffs? Do they therefore bring hilarious tackle attempt potential to their resume? We award some extra points (LOL) for that. Also known as the Joey Julius Quotient.
  • Judicial credibility Spring coverage- If your local SBN blog has covered 2018 special teams, or spring practice at all, that was helpful. The less gymnastics coverage to sift through the better.

Okay let’s do it!

Premier Leatherbooters

1. Rafael Gaglianone, Wisconsin

2017 Stats: 59/59 XP, 16/18 FG, 52 Long

Gaglianone first graced our television sets on August 30, 2014(!), drilled a 51-yarder against LSU, gave a little dance, and never looked back. Gaglianone has a big leg and a bigger belly, which is all we ask of our kickers. He’s also proven to be very accurate throughout his career and gives Wisconsin a chance for points in the 50+ range. If he handled kickoffs and had some tackle GIFs out there he’d be an all-timer, but we’ll settle for #1.

2. Sean Nuernberger, Ohio State

2017 Stats: 71/71 PAT, 17/21 FG, 44 Long

Ohio State mostly looks elsewhere for kickoffs and Nuernberger has had an up-and-down career with field goals, but his greatest asset has been consistency with extra points. It might sound silly, but keep in mind that Nuernberger holds the B1G record for consecutive made PATs and made all of his whopping 71 attempts last season. He missed all of 2016 with a groin injury and has since displayed a newfound dedication to weight training, so look for Nuernberger to show off some added strength in his encore to his 2017 Third Team All-B1G season.

3. Miguel Recinos, Iowa

2017 Stats: 44/44 PAT, 11/13 FG, 48 Long

Recinos slid under the radar in 2017 and was passed over for all-conference accolades, but he had a solid campaign last year and earns brownie points from us for handling kickoffs. Iowa is now on Year 3 of its Ferentzian Cycle, and with Captain Kirk well-paid and stable there should be ample stalled drives for Recinos to show off his leg.

4. Emmit Carpenter, Minnesota

2017 Stats: 31/31 PAT, 14/20 FG, 49 Long

Carpenter earned himself Honorable Mention All-B1G honors in 2017 and could revive his old kickoff responsibilities in 2018 following the departure of punter/kicker Ryan Santoso. Carpenter is the most accurate kicker in Gopher history, plus he’s from Wisconsin so you know he’s quality. With a career long of 53 and numerous high-40s makes, Carpenter has proven a reliable weapon from medium to deep field goal range.

5. Chase McLaughlin, Illinois

2017 Stats: 17/17 PAT, 12/17 FG, 43 Long

McLaughlin doesn’t get much action due to Illinois being so horrific, but he’s got a huge leg. He’s extremely reliable inside 40 yards; almost all of his career misses occur on long distance attempts, though he is also productive from deep. If Illinois can build some momentum and get more drives to die closer to the end zone, McLaughlin is capable of boosting his career high on upper-50s attempts. Illinois also trusts him with kickoff duties.

Honorable Mention

Charlie Kuhbander, Northwestern

2017 Stats: 43/44 PAT, 13/16 FG, 40 Long

Have Kuhbander-in-Chief jokes been played out for this guy already? I’ll move on. Kuhbander was an accurate weapon for Northwestern and earned Honorable Mention All-B1G honors in his inaugural campaign. With a career long of 40 yards and no kickoff duties, we need to see more leg to move him up the list.

Quinn Nordin, Michigan

2017 Stats: 35/38 PAT, 19/24 FG, 55 Long, 1 Sleepover

Nordin has a huge leg and has come up big for Michigan thus far in his career. Nordin also received All-B1G Honorable Mention accolades last year, but he gets demerit points for inaccuracy, including on extra points. Extra demerit points for choking in his first appearance at Penn State after spurning them for Michigan, missing a PAT while being booed by Penn State fans and making them happy for no good reason.

Matt Coghlin, Michigan State

2017 Stats: 38/38 PAT, 15/19 FG, 46 Long

Coghlin rounds out our Honorable Mention honorees for both OTE and 2017’s B1G selections. Coghlin had a promising freshman campaign, knocking in all of his PATs and rattling off eight straight field goal attempts to finish the season.

Special shoutout to Purdue, who utilized a kicker platoon last year for what might be the most B1G thing ever.

There’s a lot of talented freshmen debuting in this group for 2018 and seniors currently sit at the top of this list, so don’t be surprised if the hierarchy shakes up in a major way for 2019.