Jared Zirkel now stands in line to follow Rodrigo Blankenship as the next kicker at Georgia.
He tweeted out his decision to commit to Georgia on Thursday morning.
— Jared Zirkel (@JaredZirkel) June 13, 2019
His reasoning here was simple.
“Powerhouse football and world-class education,” Zirkel told DawgNation. “Been my dream school for a long time running.”
To be clear, this is a scholarship decision. Not a preferred walk-on as some wondered Georgia might do with its limited numbers in the Class of 2020.
Blankenship even went from preferred walk-on to scholarship in Athens. Zirkel earned this scholarship with a big showing at the UGA specialist camp earlier this month. He won the kickoff competition and finished in the top 8 in the field goal contest by booming a few efforts from more than 55 yards out.
That camp work, plus his high school resume and film, was enough to earn a coveted scholarship slot for UGA in a class where it does appear there will be many more wanting to play for the Bulldogs than there will be scholarships available.
Zirkel plays for Tivy High School in Texas. That’s the city of Kerrville.
— Kicking World Kicking Camps (@KickingWorld) January 5, 2019
He was credited with a 90 percent touchback rate on his kickoffs last season. Zirkel also converted three field goals over 50 yards during the 2018 season.
The young Texan even dropped 18 of his 44 punts inside the 20. His kickoffs, it was reported by Kicking World, also even averaged an impressive 4.1-second hang time.
Brent Grablachoff, his private coach, offered a comprehensive report of what he can do.
He runs the Kicking Worlds camps and has seen thousands of kickers come through his program over the past 12 years. That said, he sees something uncommon in what Zirkel can do with a lot of yards between him and a pair of goalposts.
— Kicking World Kicking Camps (@KickingWorld) January 21, 2019
Grablachoff feels that Zirkel has the biggest kickoff leg among prep prospects in the country right now. He even brought up Jason Sanders of the Miami Dolphins as a point of reference during his time in college. Sanders led all FBS kickers with an 84-percent touchback percentage in 2016.
His takeaway here is that Zirkel’s leg strength as a high school junior is already comparable to what Sanders displayed that season at New Mexico.
That’s a bold statement but Grablachoff had a great deal of conviction behind those words. Sanders, who was a seventh-round selection in the 2018 NFL Draft, also started working with him early in his high school career.
KickingWorld.com lists him at 6-foot-3 in height and at 190 pounds. Kicking World goes on to note that he was kicking 55-yard field goals as a freshman in high school.
Zirkel has essentially looked to UGA as “the school” for him in 2020. If he earned the offer from Georgia, he was going to take it.
Jared goes by “Zirk” in his world.
He was at Georgia earlier this year for a “Junior Day” event prior to that camp. Zirkel was the only kicker there.
“The trip was awesome, amazing hospitality and the best facilities, on the top of my list by a long shot,” Zirkel told DawgNation. “Really hope to make a home at Georgia.”