2016 Preseason All-American Projections: Kickers and Punters

By Charlie Campbell
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Heading into the 2016 college football season Walter Football will debut our projections for the nation’s leaders during the fall. The All-American teams always have some surprises and the stars of next fall could be the headlining players next May in the 2017 NFL Draft.

First-Team Kicker: Andy Phillips, Utah

Phillips has been extremely accurate during his collegiate career as he has three seasons of over 80 percent on his field goals. Phillips was 23-of-27 in 2015 with a long of 53 yards. In 2014, he was 23-of-28 as a sophomore and hit on 85 percent of his field goals as a freshman. If Phillips maintains his level of play in 2016, he could be college football’s best kicker.

Second-Team Kicker: Jake Elliott, Memphis

Elliott hit on 82 percent of his field goals in 2015 (23-of-28) with a long of 52 yards. He was 21-for-32 as a sophomore and 16-for-18 as a freshman. The senior has never missed an extra point. It wouldn’t be surprising if Elliott has fewer field goal opportunities in 2016 as Memphis lost quarterback Paxton Lynch to the NFL and will be breaking in a new signal-caller.

Third-Team Kicker: Ryan Phillips, Alabama

Griffith was 23-of-32 in 2015 with a long of 55 yards. He was 12-of-19 in 2014. Phillips has a strong leg and could be rated higher if he improves his accuracy. Griffith may have fewer attempts this season as Alabama has to replace its offensive backbone in Derrick Henry. Plus, the Crimson Tide will have a new starting quarterback.

Kicker Honorable Mentions: West Virginia’s Josh Lambert, Boise State’s Tyler Rausa, Stanford’s Conrad Ukropina, Oklahoma State’s Ben Grogan, Washington’s Cameron Van Winkle, Auburn’s Daniel Carlson, Kentucky’s Austin MacGinnis, Miami’s Michael Badgley and South Carolina’s Elliott Fry.

First-Team Punter: JK Scott, Alabama

The junior Scott had a drop in his numbers from his freshman year, but he still was an excellent punter for the Crimson Tide. In 2015, Scott had an average of 44 yards and a long of 59 yards. He was superb as a freshman for Alabama in 2014, averaging a booming 48 yards per punt with a long of 73. It turned out to be the best season ever for a punter in the program’s history. Scott dropped 56 percent of his punts inside the opponent’s 20-yard line (31-for-55) that season. He was a First-Team All-SEC selection and finalist for the Ray Guy Award. I think Scott will be better as a junior and closer to his freshman form.

Second-Team Punter: Austin Rehkow, Idaho

Rehkow has been a model of consistency over three seasons. He averaged 47.8 yards per punt as a freshman and sophomore. Rehkow had long punts of 73 and 65 yards in those seasons, so he has a powerful leg as well. As a junior, Rehkow averaged 45.7 yards per punt with a long of 65 yards. There is no reason to think the senior won’t be as successful in 2016.

Third-Team Punter: Justin Vogel, Miami

Vogel averaged 42.5 yards per punt in 2015. After not winning the punting job at Florida, Vogel transferred to Miami and took over as the Hurricanes punter in 2014, averaging 43 yards per punt with a long of 65 yards. Vogel also had 12 punts over 50 yards and 21 placed inside the 20. His father, Paul, played linebacker for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Houston Oilers.

Punter Honorable Mentions: Colorado State’s Hayden Hunt, Nebraska’s Sam Foltz, Ohio State’s Cameron Johnston, Bowling Green’s Joseph Davidson, San Jose State’s Michael Carrizosa, Memphis’ Spencer Smith and Florida’s Johnny Townsend.

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