Post-spring position check: Top Big Ten kickers
With spring practices finished, schools are focusing on offseason work before fall camp kicks off. Some positions are in better shape than others for certain schools. Let’s take a look at the seven schools in the best shape at kicker.
1. Minnesota. Junior Emmit Carpenter is the measuring stick in the Big Ten. In his first season on the job, he was named Big Ten Kicker of the Year last season after nailing 22-of-24 field-goal attempts with a long of 53, the longest in the Big Ten. In 2016, Carpenter scored 109 points, which tied Dan Nystrom (109 points in 2000) for most all-time by a Minnesota kicker. And Carpenter’s 109 points also tied for second all-time with Nystrom for any Gopher behind Gary Russell (114 points in 2005).
2. Nebraska. There is lots of change in Lincoln. But NU is holding steady here with senior Drew Brown. He had a nice 2016, hitting 12-of-14 field-goal attempts with a long of 51. Brown topped the century mark in scoring in each of his first two seasons, becoming the first player in school history with at least 100 points as both a freshman and sophomore. He had 74 points in 2016. Brown has drilled 47-of-62 career field-goal attempts.
3. Penn State. Tyler Davis is a weapon for the defending Big Ten champs. He hit 22-of-24 field-goal attempts in 2016. The issue? His long was just 40 yards. In fact, he never has attempted a 50-yarder. Still, you have to like his consistency. The senior was first-team All-Big Ten by the coaches and second team by the media. And Davis ranks No. 12 on Penn State’s career field goals made charts with 30 while also owning the school record for consecutive field goals made with 18, breaking Sam Ficken’s mark of 15 straight makes between 2012 and 2013. Davis has hit 30-of-32 career field-goal attempts.
4. Wisconsin. Welcome back, Rafael Gaglianone! The junior from Brazil missed all but three games last season with a back injury, hitting 7-of-8 field-goal attempts before being sidelined. Too bad, as a trimmed down Gaglianone was kicking well. He and his big leg are back. He has hit 44-of-57 career field-goal attempts with two from over 50 yards.
5. Iowa. The Hawkeyes have a nice option in Keith Duncan. He made the most of his limited chances last year as a freshman, making 9-of-11 field-goal attempts, including the last-second game-winner vs. Michigan, with a long of 41 yards.
6. Indiana. Griffin Oakes. Remember when Oakes was the Big Ten Kicker of the Year in 2015? The senior needs to regain his mojo after a tough 2016, when he hit just 16-of-26 field-goal attempts (62 percent) with a long of 49 yards. The 16 field goals did rank fifth in the Big Ten and are fourth on the program’s single-season list. Oakes hit the game-winning field goal in overtime in the win over No. 17 Michigan State. He has connected on 53-of-73 career field-goal attempts, with a long of 58.
7. Illinois. The Fighting Illini have an emerging weapon in junior Chase McLaughlin. In his first year as Illinois’ kicker, he nailed 12-of-17 field-goal attempts in 2016. And his 53-yarder tied for longest in the Big Ten. and tied for fourth longest in school annals. McLaughlin was 7-of-8 inside of 40 yards and 11-of-14 inside of 50.