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Friday, January 31, 2014
State of the position: Specialists

By Brandon Chatmon

In the next few weeks leading into signing day it’s a great time to take a position-by-position glance at Oklahoma’s returning roster. This series, called State of the Position, will look at the playmakers, up-and-comers and current commitments or targets at each position for the Sooners as recruiting really heats up during these final weeks before signing day on Feb. 5. On Friday, we take a closer look at the kicking specialists to wrap up the series.

Michael Hunnicutt
Michael Hunnicutt was close to automatic for the Sooners in 2013.
Starter/contributors: K Michael Hunnicutt (Sr.), K Nick Hodgson (Sr.), P Jed Barnett (Sr.)

Hunnicutt was outstanding. He made 24 of 27 field goals, 47 of 48 extra points and even had a touchdown reception against Oklahoma State. What more can you ask for? Especially since Hunnicutt solidified a position that was in major flux when he arrived on campus.

Hodgson went unnoticed but led the Big 12 in yards per kickoff (63.7), touchbacks (43) and kickoff touchback percentage (62.3 percent). He was a key contributor for an OU’s special teams group that was among the Big 12’s best.

Barnett was average or below average in pretty much every category except punts downed inside the 10-yard line. He put 8 of 65 punts inside the 10 but was ninth in the Big 12 in net punting (35.25 yards per punt) and saw 63.2 percent of his punts returned for five yards or more.

On the cusp: P Jack Steed (So.), K Daniel Schwarz (So.)

Steed is an invited walk-on punter who could take over for Barnett when he leaves if he’s unable to unseat the senior in 2014.

Schwarz was Tulsa’s kicker in 2012 before being dismissed from the program and walking on at OU before the 2013 season.

On the recruiting trail: None

OU could look to add another kicker and punter simply to add competition to the roster but there’s no need to recruit a scholarship kicker unless he’s a guy who can handle at least two of the three duties.

Overall Grade: A-

The combination of Hunnicutt and Hodgson could be the Big 12’s best and that pushes this grade above a B while Barnett is solid but not spectacular. The Sooners have two guys on the roster who can take over kicking duties in the future, making the overall future and present look pretty good in Norman, Okla.