Scott Sypniewski (Ottawa, Ill./Marquette Academy) was sitting with Michigan coach Brady Hoke on Wednesday afternoon in Ann Arbor, chatting about future majors when the second-year Wolverines coach stunned the prospect in the room with him.
He offered Sypniewski, a long-snapper, a scholarship. Moments later, the Ottawa, Ill. native became the 21st member of Michigan’s Class of 2013.
“Michigan did definitely show the most interest,” Sypniewski told WolverineNation on Wednesday afternoon. “They said from when they first met me they wanted me to be their long-snapper.”
Colleges don’t often award scholarships to long-snappers out of high school so the offer came as a surprise. Michigan, though, had been talking to Sypniewski for months.
Sypniewski, though, has been working at this for a while. He first started long snapping as a seventh grader and stuck with it throughout high school at Marquette Academy. He continued to work on his form with his father, former Western Michigan center Scott Sypniewski, and by going to Chris Rubio long-snapping camps since 2009.
He also worked out with former Michigan long snapper Jeremy Miller last month at a Kornblue kicking camp, where he became an immediate curiosity for his ability and consistency.
“I’ve worked with Kornblue for five years and this is the most excited I’ve been because we haven’t had a snapper come through our camps the caliber of Scott,” Miller said. The kid is an absolute stud. He’s averaging .71 [seconds] on 15-yard snaps and I was doing that my fifth-year at Michigan and he’s only 17. He has a bright future and we’re lucky to have him.
“It’s very rare for a 17-year-old to have the technique and his mechanics are so polished.”
Rubio compared Sypniewski’s form to that of a fluid power hitter in baseball. It looks extremely easy and effortless, but then the ball hits your hand. The .71 Miller referred to is .71 seconds from when the snapper starts moving the ball until it hits the punter’s hands 15 yards away.
“He’s one of those kids, he’s just extremely smooth and accurate,” Rubio said. “If you caught his snap, I don’t care if you’re an athlete or not, because it is so smooth and precise that it doesn’t even look like it is moving that fast and then it hits your hand and you’re like ‘Oh my God, it hurt.’
“His form, I’ve been working with him since 2009, is damn near perfect.”
Sypniewski said part of what Michigan liked about him was besides his accuracy and speed getting the ball to the punter and holder, he also is able to block at the line of scrimmage and run downfield to make tackles on punt coverage.
These are things the Wolverines special teams coaches stress from their snappers.
“That is one of my strong points,” Sypniewski said. “My blocking, being able to run downfield and make a tackle.”
The 6-foot-1, 230-pound Sypniewski said he is strictly a long snapper after converting from offensive and defensive line in middle school.
It is also something he knows he needs to work on as even though he is one of the best snapping talents in the country -- Miller said he felt he could play right away -- he feels there is a long way to go.
“I don’t think I’m at my greatest potential yet,” Sypniewski said. “I still have so much work to do. I am nowhere where I need to be to play in college. I still have a lot to work on.”
Now he can knowing his education is taken care of.