What can Georgia do to upgrade its options at kicker next season?
I’ve made several calls over the last two weeks trying to gauge if there is a potential scholarship kicker in the 2017 class. Let’s be clear: That’s a big “if.”
It will depend on what the production at kicker looks like for the rest of the year and the outlook for next season. That decision will also hinge on Georgia finding a difference maker at that position that’s worthy of a scholarship and not just a preferred walk-on opportunity.
A name that quickly came to my attention was Mill Creek senior Brenton King. He will also be an unofficial visitor in Athens on Saturday.
The MaxPreps.com All-American made 19 of his 24 field goal tries last year and has drilled a 63-yarder in practice.
“If you know Chris Sailer from Chris Sailer Kickin,g he’s the guy who scouts kickers all over the country,” King said. “He says that I probably have one of the biggest accurate legs he has seen out of my class so far.”
Sailer offered the following assessment in regard to King on his website:
Brenton is an excellent kicker. He has a great leg and kicks with outstanding consistency. … He shows D1 ability on kickoffs. Also a dependable rugby style punter. Brenton is a phenomenal athlete with great future potential. He does very well under pressure. Huge upside here. I look forward to seeing what the future holds. Big time prospect.
King currently holds a full scholarship offer from Old Dominion. But that’s the lot for kickers. He said he’s also been offered a preferred walk-on slot from South Carolina.
He was also named a preseason 2016 large school first-team All-American by MaxPreps.com. The senior has sailed 88 of his 122 career varsity kickoffs (that’s 72 percent) into the end zone.
King is going to have a resume that glitters in terms of production (26 field goals in 32 attempts and 83 of 84 on extra points) with a career-best boot of 56 yards. According to the stats on Sailer’s blog, that’s currently tied for the longest effort in the nation so far this season.
Check out the loft and length of that boot below.
— Alan Stewart (@BT514) September 10, 2016
Brenton King with a school record 56 yard field goal with 53 seconds left in the half. Hawks lead 24-3 pic.twitter.com/ZHYOEzzsqV
— MC Football Coach (@MCFootballCoach) September 10, 2016
But above all of that, I like his style. It appears he has what it takes between the ears to excel in the SEC pressure cooker. Kickers are forever unpredictable, but he seems to carry the proper mindset.
He’s got the leg but felt his strongest tool was in the realm of mental discipline. When discussing the 56-yarder, he doesn’t label it as anything special. He called it “his job” to come in and make that kick. He’s the kicker and he has the ability. That’s the role his team needs him to be ready to do when called upon.
That’s just like a speedy running back beating the defenders to the edge on a stretch play to him. That’s what he is called on to do.
“When I’m back there I just visualize me already making the field goal,” King said. “So it is already in my head that I am going to make it. That way it is nothing but confidence going through my head.”
When Kirby Smart said last week he’d scholarship a difference maker at kicker, he paid close attention. He even sent out a tweet aimed directly at UGA special teams coach Shane Beamer.
Hey @CoachSBeamer would love a follow so I can DM you !
— KING (@Brenton_King_37) September 18, 2016
King said his coaches at Mill Creek encouraged him to do so. The direct approach could only help matters. He’d camped at UGA over the summer and won two of the three competitions for kickers there. He left Athens having built a solid rapport with UGA kicking analyst James Vollono.
“So I thought that I am definitely going to take my shot so I can send him my film,” King said of that tweet to Beamer.
Beamer followed him and King shared his film via a direct message. The 6-foot, 170-pounder might also plan to visit UGA for the Auburn game this season.
Georgia should evaluate him across the balance of his senior season. King said he and his family grew up watching Alabama, South Carolina and UGA. What would happen if the Bulldogs offered?
“If they offered me a full ride I would definitely go to UGA,” King said. “That’s a very good program and they are really started to build back up with Kirby (Smart) as the head coach now. The special teams coaches are fantastic. Nice guys. There are real and straight forward with you. I like that in coaches. My family would love it because all my family lives around here. So if they definitely offered me I wouldn’t take too long to answer that.”
The former youth soccer standout felt the Georgia offer would rank in his Top 3 even if every other school in the nation was to offer him. The only other schools that he felt might measure up would be Louisville and South Carolina. He has a few teammates that are already at Louisville or on the way there.
King stated that he’s made 3 of his 5 tries in his varsity career from beyond 50 yards. He missed another 56-yarder against Stephenson this year. It hit the post about 8-10 feet above the bar. It had the leg.
His skills — if they translate to the college level — would be an upgrade over the current production in Athens. He’s also a decent athlete. He mentioned that he’s been timed at 4.69 seconds in the 40-yard dash.
Don’t look for the preferred walk-on option route here. King said that’s he definitely looking for a full scholarship at the next level. As he should.
“If they offered me a full ride and said I just needed to come in and kick prove myself in (fall) camp that’s all I want,” King said. “I just want a chance with a scholarship.”
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Follow Jeff Sentell on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play Between the Hedges. Unless otherwise indicated, player rankings and ratings are from the 247Sports Composite.