WHITEWATER, Wis. -- After a series of regional Kohl's kicking camps throughout the spring and summer, the season ended with a final National Invitational Scholarship Showcase on the campus of Wisconsin-Whitewater. The Division III power supplied a kicker's dream as far as facilities go, with plenty of fields and uprights playing host to about 300 prospects. The three-day event was filled with competition. The players were charted in place-kicking, kickoffs and punting through three sessions. They were judged by factors such as distance, accuracy and hang time, with some kickers specializing in certain areas and others displaying their skills in several or all areas. The camp included several kickers already committed to BCS schools, others holding several offers and plenty more on the verge of or looking for offers. The final session of the camp was strictly competition-based with the campers squaring off in different events to see who was tops under pressure. Here are some highlights from the camp and the final competition.
One of the participants was Under Armour All-American Cody Parkey (Jupiter, Fla.) who throughout the camp put on a performance worthy of billing as one of the top kickers in the nation. The Auburn commit charted the best in the camp in field goals, hitting on 27 of 30 attempts through the three sessions. He hit on 90 percent of his kicks and was perfect in the final two charting sessions, going 10-for-10 each time. He had a kick sail wide in the field competition, but his leg strength was impressive. In addition to his strong performance in field goals, he also performed well with his kickoffs. He finished fourth overall in the charting, averaging a little over 72 yards in distance, and posted one of the better overall hang times with an average of 3.83 seconds. He really displayed what he is capable of in the third session of kickoffs, when he averaged close to 80 yards per kick and almost 4 seconds in hang time. A win in one of the competitions would have been nice to see, but from start to finish Parkey was arguably the top kicker at the camp.
The camp had a very strong field of punters, but two stood out not only for their ability and size. Will Hagerup (Whitefish Bay, Wis.) was a prospect I had seen at a regional camp in the Wisconsin Dells. At that time, he was already holding 10 offers and by the time he arrived in Whitewater he had added three more. Hagerup is easy to spot: He is tall with a great frame and could really develop into a physically impressive kid with some time in a college weight program. Looking more like a tight end prospect, Hagerup's continued physical growth could strengthen his already strong leg and delivery. One of the things Hagerup -- who holds offers from programs like Florida, Purdue, Tennessee, Indiana, Ohio State and Michigan -- said college coaches note that they like about him is his size. The sought-after punter did not come into the camp complacent. He finished second in the charting and battled until the end in the punt competition, proving why he is one of the top punting prospects in the 2010 class. Hagerup said a decision could be coming within the next month.
The only punter who edged out Hagerup was the equally big Steven Clark (Kansas City, Mo./Park Hill) who charted the best and also won the punting competition. The 6-foot-6, 230-pound Clark also plays tight end and defensive end for his high school. He matches Hagerup in size and potential, but he does not match his offer list. Clark holds no offers at this point and said he has really only heard from Michigan State to date. Based on his performance at the camp, the lack of attention for this sleeper will likely be coming to an end and probably soon.
In April I attended a showcase camp at Florida State. The top performer was Marvin Kloss (Naples, Fla./Barron Collier). The consistent and talented kicker was in attendance this weekend. Although he was not the top performer, he put forth another good performance. He finished in the top ten in field goal charting and finished second in kickoff charting. He had a rough first session with his field goals, but rebounded well. With his kickoffs he averaged close to 75 yards over the three sessions, with a 3.7-second average hang time. He was among the finalists for the field goal competition, showing plenty of leg on the winning 55-yard distance, but he could not get the ball to bend through the uprights. Once again, Kloss did not amaze with his kicking, but he was consistent and productive. Still no offers for the Florida native who hopes to stay in the South, but he said he is hearing from several schools.
It's all right to be a lefty
Two other top punters in attendance were left-footed kickers. One was Mike Sadler (Grand Rapids, Mich./Forest Hills Northern) who displayed a very strong leg and the ability to get impressive hang time. Disappointingly, he was knocked out in the first round of the punt competition after shanking two punts, and he needs more consistency in his kicks. Still, he flashed one of the strongest legs. That ability is why several schools have already offered, including in-state Michigan State, LSU, and Arizona State, Sadler said. When asked if being a lefty had its advantages he said he believed so, saying that return men, especially at the high school and college level, are not used to the curves and spirals left-footed kicks produce. Another punter who enjoys the same advantage is Kirby Van Der Kamp (West Des Moines, Iowa/Valley) who charted in the top 10 among the punters. Van Der Kamp is a prospect we saw at an earlier showcase event and at that time had no offers. Since then, though, he picked up an offer from in-state Iowa State and committed. He said the Cyclones expect him to come in and take over the punting duties.
'Wild Thing' finds some control
At the showcase camp at Florida State we were introduced to Brandon Tarpley (Palmetto, Fla.) -- a tall and rangy kicker with a big leg and spotty consistency. His combination of power and wildness earned him a comparison to "Major League" character Rick "Wild Thing" Vaughn. At this weekend's camp, Tarpley showed much improvement in his field goals, going 7-for-10 in all three sessions. The consistency was nice to see, and he said he felt it came from continued work kicking off the ground. When we first saw Tarpley, he had recently begun kicking off the ground, but the reps seem to be paying off. He made it to the finals of the field goal competition, missing a 55-yarder. He certainly had the distance, but the ball sailed a little wide on him. Tarpley, who worked in all three phases, seems to be coming along, and with his big leg, if he continues to improve, he could emerge as a real steal from this 2010 kicking class.
Minnesota commit Kip Smith (Broomfield, Colo./Legacy) attended the camp and performed well, showing a strong leg. He competed in all three phases, though he is expected to handle place-kicking duties for the Golden Gophers. He did not chart that well in field goals, struggling to find his groove in the first two sessions, but he did kick off well, finishing in the top ten. By his own admission he is not a strong punter, but he possibly undersold himself some, as he finished third overall in the punt charting Carey Spear (Mayfield Village, Ohio/Mayfield) a 2010 place-kicker had a strong camp. He charted in the top ten in field goals, hitting 23 of 30 attempts over the three sessions. He also finished in the top ten in kickoff charting and showed good consistency, averaging at least 70 yards all three sessions One of the top punters in attendance was Jonathan Ginsburgh (Alexandria, La./Holy Savior Menard Central). I saw Ginsburg earlier this year at the Wisconsin Dells showcase camp where he took part in all three phases in the kicking game. From that camp we felt his strength was his punting, and he seems to agree, as he focused on that one phase at this camp. He finished fourth in the punt charting and got a hold of a few good punts in the competition. He has no offers at this point, but noted that a few schools seemed close It was a 2011 prospect who stepped up and won the field goal competition, hitting a 55-yard attempt. It hit the crossbar and bounced over, but Michael Beckman (Lake Villa, Ill./Lakes Community) was still the only one to hit it. The rising junior also charted well, hitting on 22 of 30 attempts.
Craig Haubert is the recruiting coordinator for Scouts Inc.