Monday, January 28, 2013
GatorNation position breakdown: K/P
By Michael Dirocco
Editor’s note: Twice a week through Jan. 31, 2013, GatorNation will break down each position. Today is kicker and punter. We will profile quarterback on Thursday.
Two-deep: Redshirt freshman Austin Hardin and senior Brad Phillips will battle throughout spring and preseason practice to be the starting kicker. Junior Kyle Christy will be the Gators’ punter.
Next up: Francisco Velez is a walk-on kicker from Ocala, Fla./Trinity Catholic. He will be a redshirt junior in 2013. UF has three walk-on punters on the roster: sophomores Grant Van Aman (Tampa, Fla./Plant) and Justin Vogel (Tampa, Fla./Berkeley Prep) and redshirt sophomore Todd Fennell (Vero Beach, Fla./Vero Beach).
High-profile commits: None.
Additional targets: None.
Looking into 2013: Christy was a finalist for the Ray Guy Award, which is given annually to the nation’s top punter, in 2012 after averaging 45.8 yards on 66 punts. He put 27 punts inside the 20-yard line and had 25 punts of 50 or more yards. The job is his in 2013. The competition at kicker is a little tougher. Hardin has a big leg -- he consistently put his kickoffs in the end zone in high school -- and was ESPN’s top-ranked kicker coming out of Atlanta/Marist in 2012. Phillips, however, does have some experience, and Hardin will have to prove he can handle kicking in front of huge crowds because that’s something he hasn’t done.