PITTSBURGH -- The Steel City has been hit very hard this winter with a record number of snow storms. Many of the region's top kickers, punter, and snappers wanted a chance to get some training without having to bring a snow blower to clear off a path. The Kohl's camp at the UPMC center at the University of Pittsburgh provided a great opportunity for about 50 athletes to get that experience. The camp had many of the region's top 2011 and 2012 specialists.
Preston Lyon (Concord, Calif./De La Salle), a 2011 kicker made the camp's longest trip. His journey was well worth it because the 2011 kicker won the FG competition at camp and showed Division I potential. He was able to hit field goals very well off the ground. Taylor Bertolet (Reading, Pa./Exeter Township) flashed the talent at camp that had everyone talking. He had multiple field goals that had enough distance from 60 yards or more off the ground. Bertolet also showed well in group drill work. He showed an ability to focus and bring out his best kicks when necessary. He should be on every major Division I school's radar. Matt MacZura (Pittsburgh/Central Catholic), a 2010 kicker, showed why he likely will be kicking in college. He went through the afternoon session 25 out of 25 on field goals. He was very impressive with his ball striking. Two other 2011 athletes who showed well in the competitions were Ben Lecompte (Barrington, Ill.) and Bret Moore (York, Pa.). They both showed college ability and should be athletes who have great senior seasons next fall.
The staff was also very impressed with Drew Kaser (Strongsville, Ohio) a 2011 punter. Kaser showed great consistency and should get some early D1 offers as a punter. He is going on an unofficial trip to West Virginia later this week and has heard from multiple major Div. I schools. He is a top 10 punter nationally and showed it at this camp.
The 2012 class was very well represented at camp. This camp had many athletes who showed flashes of college ability. The Kohl's staff felt that Tom Valario (Mars, Pa.), Tim Shenk (Concord, Ohio), Andrew Huska (Ford City, Pa.) and Ryan Gralish (Mars, Pa.) all showed great leg strength and ball striking ability.
Joe Rotherham (Green Bay, Wis.) won the snapping contest in front of the entire camp. Former Hofstra kicker Joseph Flint also showed very well at camp. He is currently a recruitable athlete because Hofstra dropped its program. He showed great range on field goals out to 55 yards away and looked like a D1 kicker at camp.
This weekend's camp had multiple athletes who will become scholarship specialists. The campers in this region do not get many opportunities in the winter months to train. The athletes who attended took advantage of the opportunity to compete and train with some of the nation's top 2011 and 2012 specialists. It will be interesting to follow where many of these athletes land in the years to come.
FG contest winner: Preston Lyon
Kickoff contest winner: Taylor Bertolet
Best snapper: Joe Rotherham
Best punter: Drew Kaser