The last couple of weeks have been very busy for the Kohl's staff. We have seen a lot of specialists from all over the nation wanting to improve their skills in time for the all-important summer recruiting period. Summer is the time where many of the kicking, punting and snapping specialists improve the most. Here is a look at some of the campers who made names for themselves at the recent Kohl's training camps.
The Memphis training camp had some inclement weather, but the campers fought through it and produced some good results. A couple of the athletes who did very well throughout camp were Luke Ferguson (Jonesboro, Ark./ Jonesboro), a 2012 kicker, who showed great leg strength along with an easily-repeatable motion, and Brendon Welch who has very good technique with the power to kick long-range field goals and kickoffs. Welch needs to keep working in the weight room to maximize his talent. Kicker Matt Spencer won the FG contest with a 55-yard blast in heavy rain and also did very well on kickoffs. With continued improvement in his consistency and technical improvement, Spencer will do very well at the next level.
Bradley Cheatham, from Columbia, Tenn., has a great combination of size, accuracy and fundamentals. He connected on 7 of 10 targets hit and 9 of 10 short snaps. His long levers and great frame allow him good snap velocity. He has good mechanics and ball rotation that helps in his overall accuracy.
Tyler Weidner, from Gallatin, Tenn., is a smooth snapper with very good athleticism. He has very good snap mechanics and delivers a very clean snap that is easy to handle. He finished the camp with an average snap time of .83 seconds and came through in the clutch by winning the snapping competition to finish out the day.
The first competition of the day was the field goal competition, where there was an intense battle between Marcin Gawlak (Wheaton, Ill./ Wheaton North) and William Will, from Mokena Ill. Each competitor traded makes and misses until Will connected on a 52-yard field goal from the right upright position. Each prospect showed good accuracy and a strong leg as they battled in kickoffs as well. Both need to improve their consistency, but can kickoff into the endzone with regularity.
Punter Julian Sosa, a 2012 prospect from Aurora Christian High School in Ill., hit the best punt of the day (38 yards, 4.21-second hang time). He is a very strong athlete who could prove to be a valuable weapon for his team.
Evan Sobiesk, from Hattiesburg Miss, shows elite ball-striking ability off of the ground. He generates tremendous lift and trajectory off of the ground and is one of the best ball-strikers we have seen to date. Sobiesk is already being recruited by some big-name schools and we expect him to get even more attention by the end of the summer. Another athlete who impressed was Ralph Freibert, from New Orleans. He hits well off of the ground and shows great power and tempo on his kickoffs. 2013 prospect Jonathan Barnes, from Baton Rouge, La., also showed some of the best coordination and ball-striking ability at camp and is one of the best 2013 ball-strikers in the country off of the ground.
However, the most consistent kicker on kickoffs was 2012 prospect Ryan Domangue from Houma La. He attacks the ball on kickoffs and is starting to show much better in his FGs as well. Brandon Menard, from Shreveport La., also showed great potential in punting. He has good strength and tempo, and was able to generate spirals rather easily.
Kansas City, Mo.
Andrew Yoxall, from Minneapolis won the FG competition and showed well throughout the day punting the ball. Joe Brown, from Platte County, Mo., also showed well in the punting phase of camp. There were many other solid performances on the rainy day as well.
Nate Knuffman, from Coatsburg, Ill., has rare power and was dominant kicking and punting. The lefty still needs refinement, but when he hits the ball it explodes off his foot. He was timed hitting above a five second hang-time on a punt at camp. Preston Soper, from Muskogee, Okla., also showed well and hit an 82-yard kick off on a windy day. He should be one of the top kickers in Oklahoma this upcoming season.
The camp was highlighted by 2012 prospect Jordan Gruettner (Muskego, Wis.). His soft hands and powerful body were able to hit some impressive punts. He has the talent and power to be one of the best punters in America. He does need to continue working on his hang time, but he hit multiple 55-plus yard punts with a long of 66 at camp. 2013 prospect Steve Dentice, from Hartland, Wis., also showed well. He has the frame and power to do some special things and is already hitting FGs off the ground and is doing it at a very high level. His punting is also continuing to improve and his best ball was a 46-yard, 4.82-second punt. 2013 prospect Don Manke, from Lodi, Wis., also showed very well in punting and FG's. He has great flexibility and smooth form on FG's and has gotten better and better each time we have seen him.
The camp was held in 100 degree heat and dominated by Nick Jordan (Coppell, Texas). He won the field goal competition with a 65-yard blast off the ground. 2012 kicker Austin Lopez, from Euless, Texas, also had a solid day making a 57-yard field goal in the competiton. iego Gonzales from Mexico showed great potential as a kicker and punter. Nicholas Bruno, a punter from Rowlett, Texas, may be one of the best punters in the 2012 class. Former NFL punter Micah Knorr worked with Jordan and was very impressed with his overall rhythm and talent.
The camp was even hotter than Dallas. The campers trained hard and showed well in many different drills. Andrew Smith, a 2012 kicker from Westbury Christian High Scool, won the FG competition with a 52-yard blast and also hit some impressive kickoffs at camp. At the end of camp, Mitchell Becker, a 2013 prospect from Clear Creek, Texas, hit a kickoff that went through the uprights when an impending storm came and the wind picked up. Current NFL starter Thomas Morstead was coaching at camp and felt punter Trey Brown, from Missouri City, Texas, has college potential as a punter. Brwon hit multiple punts that had over 4.5 seconds of hangtime.