The last couple of weeks Kohl's kicking, punting and snapping camps have been in a couple of the nation's most talented regions. The 2011 and 2012 classes are shaping up to be a strong grouping of talented specialists. The Southeastern part of the country seems to be in the lead, in terms of top-notch talent. A few of the Kohl's camps in that region this year have produced the most talented prospects we have seen over the last couple of years. The hang times and distances have been aided by nice spring tailwinds, but the talent is there for many of these prospects.
The Sunshine State has a bunch of solid specialists with college ability. Mauro Bondi, a 2011 kicker/punter from Boca Raton, Fla., consistently hit kickoffs over 4.1 seconds and punts over 4.5 seconds in the air. He hit one punt in camp competition that had over five seconds of hang time. His natural coordination and leg speed are very impressive. His field goals off the ground are solid, but can improve with a slightly slower rotation on his kicks. He should be an early Division I offer.
The Carolinas will be loaded this year with three national-level specialists. Brad Pinion, a 2012 kicker/punter from Charlotte, N.C., may have the most talent out of anyone in the 2012 class. The 6-foot-5 specialist hit 80-yard kickoffs and 4.9 hang times on punts. His field goals have also improved off the ground, got tremendous height on his kicks and he should be an early SEC offer in years to come.
Trevor Austin, a 2011 kicker/punter from Shelby, N.C., showed he is a legitimate college punter as well as kicker. He already was rated high with Kohl's as a kicker, but now will be rated high as a punter. Austin won the punting competition with a punt that had 4.84 seconds of hang time. He also proved again that he is one of the nation's best on field goals and kickoffs.
Caleb Patterson, a 2012 kicker from Lyman, S.C., showed Division I talent as well. The ball exploded off his foot on field goals and punts. He is one of the more refined kickers we have seen all year and he is only a sophomore.
Maryville, Tenn., should have the best special teams in the nation this year thanks to two solid college prospects. Greg Colquitt, a 2011 punter, is a consistent ball-striker with the ability to hit a punt that will turn over the majority of the time. His leg swing is pure, but he does need to get stronger in order to get his hang times up slightly. However, he is one of the most college-ready punters in the 2011 class. The other half of the dynamic duo is Zach Sharp, who finished first in the field goal competition after making a 55-yard field goal off the ground. He also drove multiple kickoffs over 75 yards in the air. This is the second time Sharp won the field goal competition and he seems to thrive in pressure situations.
Chad Hedlund (Argyle, Texas) is a 2011 kicker, who won the kickoff competition. He hit a kickoff that went 80 yards and had a hang time of 3.71 seconds. He also made 14 field goals last season and should be in contention for Division I offers.
Alex Mueller (Colleyville, Texas) was the most impressive field-goal kicker at our Texas camp. The 2011 prospect won the field goal competition with a 57-yard field goal and came up wide from 62 on the windy day. The most impressive thing about Mueller is the kicks he attempted into the wind were pure and high. He is an athlete who can definitely play at a high level in college.
Bryan Torres (Bastrop, Texxas) won the punting competition with one of the longest punts in camp history. He hit a 65-yard punt that had 4.32 seconds of hang time. He demonstrated tremendous leg strength and natural power at camp. If he improves his fundamentals, the 2011 prospect could really make an impact in college as a punter.
Nick Jordan (Coppell, Texas), a 2012 kicker, had the strongest leg at his camp. During his charts, he hit consistent kickoffs over 75 yards and also the highest kickoffs in camp with multiple kickoffs over four seconds. His highest kickoff was in the air for 4.26 seconds and he may have the strongest leg in the 2012 class. His field goals do need work in order to match his kickoffs.
Kyle Jenkins (Longview, Texas), a 2011 kicker, showed good rhythm and consistency at camp by making eight field goals during the charting session and showing well during the drill work.
Craig Fischer (Grapevine, Texas), a 2011 snapper, won the snapping contest held at camp. He is a smaller snapper, who has gotten fundamentally better this spring and showed a great ability to rise up and compete under pressure.
Other specialists that impressed
Josh Applebee (Athens, Ala.) is a 2012 kicker, who won the kickoff competition and showed Division I potential for an underclassman. This big athlete looks like a tight end and has tremendous leg speed and solid coordination for a younger specialist. ... Riley Lyons, a 2011 kicker/punter from Roswell, Ga., wowed the entire camp with his leg. He hit a 78-yard kick off that had 4.16 seconds of hang time during the charting session. He also showed Division I talent on his punts. He does need refinement on his field goals to match his kickoffs. ... Riley Harper, a 2011 kicker from Holladay, Utah made the trip to the South and had another solid Kohl's camp by leading camp with eight field goals during the charting session. ... Snappers Nick Lyons (Springfield, La.) and Reid Ferguson (Buford, Ga.) showed the best combination of speed and accuracy and performed well in tough, windy conditions
Jamie Kohl is the director of Kohl's Kicking, Punting and Snapping Camps.