Monday, June 22, 2015

2015 Season Countdown: #69 Andrew David

Andrew David
Name: Andrew David
Height: 5'9"
Weight: 170 lbs.
High school: Massillon (OH) Washington
Position: Kicker
Class: Freshman
Jersey number:
Last year: David was a senior in high school. He made 12/17 field goals (long of 58), averaged 37.5 yards/punt, and averaged 60.0 yards/kickoff.  He was a 247 Composite 3-star, the #9 kicker, and #1872 overall.
TTB Rating: N/A

David committed almost exactly two years ago today in June of 2013. Even through the coaching change, he stayed solid with Michigan and had a couple pretty good years. A solid all-around athlete, he also played baseball and tried out for the starting quarterback job (which was won by 2017 Ohio State commit Danny Clark). As a senior in 2014, he hit field goals of 58, 51, 50, and 49 yards, missing just once from 50+ yards.

Kicking situations are always iffy, especially when new guys arrive on the scene. David has practiced extensively without using a tee for kicks, but he has never been in front of over 100,000 peoples or on national television. Then again, his primary competition for the placekicking job (walk-on Kyle Seychel) has only stood on the sideline in front of that many people. David is an accomplished high school kicker, but maybe it will take some time for him to adjust to the pressure of the college game. I'm ranking him at #70 because Michigan has other guys who can do the job even if he starts and falters. My guess is that he does not begin the year as the placekicker or kickoff guy, and he almost certainly won't be punting in college.

Prediction: Backup kicker


  1. Got a hunch he will see action early and will do okay.

  2. Wait wait wait, stop the countdown. So you're saying Seychel is going to win the job over David? Why would they give David a scholarship if they have a better PK on the roster? Why was the others-can-do-the-job not true last year when you ranked Wile #16 or the year before when you ranked Gibbons #22?

    I don't know if I've ever been shocked by a countdown rank before.

    1. Others can always do the job. Dan Samuelson can start at wide receiver. That doesn't mean they'll be good at it.

      And the Gibbons thing, for example, is kind of silly. Gibbons had a rough start to his career, but then he developed a penchant for making some great kicks in crunch-time.

    2. Not a convincing argument.

      Gibbons was a very average kicker over his career and always limited by his range. He hit 75%, which was less than Lopata, Rivas, Hamilton, and others, despite ceding long-distance duties to Wile. I don't see what distinguishes him from other kickers. Also he had a scholarship backup available in Wile.

      Last year, Wile had Seychel around too.

      In other words; the "others can do the job" thing was at least as applicable as last year.

      Clearly, you don't think David will be very good. I'm just wondering why.

    3. That's kind of the point. He started off his career going 1/5 as a redshirt freshman. Then he hit a higher percentage of kicks as he got older.

      You're right that Wile had Seychel around last year, too. I had not heard much about Seychel last year. I do sincerely apologize for not having much inside info on the backup, walk-on place kicker.

      Clearly, you like jumping to conclusions. I haven't said whether I think David will be good or not. I think I've stated on this blog numerous times before that I do not feel comfortable making judgments about kickers, because it's not something in which I have a specialty. In case you didn't notice, I did not assign him a TTB Rating, and that was not forgetfulness on my part.

      From what I've heard this year, it sounds like Seychel will be our kicker. That's why I have David ranked here at #69, and Seychel will be higher. If I thought otherwise, I would rank them differently.

    4. No offense intended, I was just asking for clarification on the methods and assumptions built into this ranking. The criteria for kicker rankings seem pretty arbitrary to me relative to the rankings at other positions.

  3. C'mon man, I doubt ANY high schooler has played before 100,000 and only a minute fraction have ever played on national TV. I appreciate your reviews, but these two criteria seem rather weak, since they would count against virtually all recruits.

    1. Kicking is a different animal. You're out there by yourself, and everybody's looking at you - not the right guard, not the right tight end, not really even the holder or the snapper unless they botch things terribly. A missed 29-yard field goal looks bad on the kicker's stats at the end of the game, not the holder's. As I mentioned above, look at Gibbons - he was terrible when he was young, and then he got pretty darn good as he gained confidence.

    2. Why two #70 Rankings?

    3. Oops. Andrew David is supposed to be #69. I'll fix it in a second. Thanks.

    4. I don't think Gibbons career arc is typical for kickers. Most do not red-shirt, most play 4 years, and most don't get appreciably better from freshman to senior year. Gibbons was weird.

      I can buy that there might be some butterflies, but those are typically ironed out by kicking extra points and/or by playing App State or a MAC school. This year Michigan has a bit more challenging preseason schedule, but you'd think David would be through whatever those issues might be after a few games. If he was getting called in to kick a game winner in a 3-3 game -- this MIGHT be an issue. The chances of him being asked to do that are very slim.

    5. Just for the fun of it, I looked at Rivals' top ten kickers from 2014:

      1. Gary Wunderlich (Ole Miss): attempted 8/16 of Ole Miss's field goals and 10/68 punts
      2. Mike Knoll (Boston College): 5/19 field goals
      3. Aaron Medley (Tennessee): 26/26 field goals
      4. JK Scott (Alabama): 0/22 field goals, 1/59 extra points, 55/55 punts
      5. AJ Cole (North Carolina State): redshirted
      6. Tyler Newsome (Notre Dame): redshirted
      7. Cole Hedlund (Arkansas): redshirted
      8. Freeman Jones (North Carolina): redshirted
      9. Alex Spence (Clemson): redshirted
      10. Sean Nuernberger (Ohio State); 20/20 field goals, 89/89 extra points

      So out of the top ten kickers from 2014, three of them earned a full-time job (punter or kicker), five of them redshirted, and two others were part-timers.

    6. On top of Thunders data analysis, I'll second Thunder's comments about the stress and pressure of kicking. It's a position where the entire buildup and focus is on you and the kicker constantly has to think about making a kick. When a RB gets a handoff, he has to make reads, react, and run all pretty much instantaneously. His brain lacks the time to contemplate not breaking a tackle or missing the hole. There is a big difference between every other player on the field waiting for the snap on a play he is going to be featured in versus a kicker. The psychological stress is intense. Imagine missing a kick, failing your entire team and fanbase, the one job you have. The next time you have a field goal opportunity, that is all that is running through your head. I heard both Broehueizon and Gibbons were so traumatized by the 09 season kicking results that they were seeing numerous therapists and sports psychologists. It's an incredible mental strain, especially on an 18 year old versus a 22 year old. And as for Lanknows point that kickers get experience liking extra points, extra points are completely different than field goals. Much harder. I had a friend who kicked in high school and he said it was night and day between extra points and field goals. Consider the difference between a 15 yard kick for the value of 1 point versus a 40 yard kick for 3 points. Big difference.

    7. I'm not arguing that kicking is easy or stress-free, I'm arguing that a guy either has what it takes or doesn't in most cases.

      50% of guys red-shirting out of last years top 10 is interesting but that's a small sample still. Maybe my impression of kicker readiness are colored by what has happened at Michigan, but I don't recall many guys who needed a lot of development.

      Kickers are more or less on their own for development on a college campus. A special teams coordinator might be able to point them to the right resources but is almost never a kicking specialist or guru. They often coach another position and/or are glorified recruiting coordinators. Furthermore, they have to coach 11 guys on punt coverage, punt returns, kick coverage, kick returns, extra points (both ways) and FG (both ways). Every kicker interview I've ever read says they mostly do their own thing.

      So yeah, I expect a senior is more likely to make a kick like Gibbons did against Northwestern with the clock running down, and a coach is going to be more comfortable kicking with a proven commodity, ultimately it's about the guy not his level of experience.

      My point about XPs was just that it's a way to get through the butterflies. You don't want to send out a kid who has never seen 100K fans in a high pressure and difficulty situation first time out - you want to ease him in a bit.

    8. I understand it's a small sample size, but I didn't want to do an in-depth analysis for the comment section of the Andrew David countdown post. And it's more than an anecdotal comment that "most kickers don't redshirt." I think plenty of them do. It just depends on the team, the team's needs, and the players themselves.

    9. Nor should you!

      Again, my impression is based heavily on Michigan. Michigan rarely wants to have more than 2 scholarships total for kickers. Not always true (especially lately given all the program turnover and various personnel issues with Gibbons and Hagerup). If one of the scholarship guys isn't getting the job done a walk-on on like KC Lopata or Kenny Allen is usually a serviceable replacement. Pouring more scholarships (via red-shirts or otherwise) doesn't make much sense to me (at Michigan or anywhere else).

      The Gibbons example is there, but Rivas was basically the same guy every year (within some margin of error based on distance of attempts).

      FWIW the data is pretty clear that guys do get better between college and the NFL -- my assumption is that is due to more focus on kicking expertise and craft once they are professionals, but that could be invalid. Perhaps you are right that guys get significantly better.

      Also FWIW - chatted about this with a coworker who kicked in college under Dennis Erickson and he thought that guys did improve over time, but agreed that red-shirting anyone doesn't make too much sense unless there is an injury.

    10. Back to the rank -- I'd put David up around 40 and expect him to start. Maybe Seychel beats him, IDK, but I doubt Michigan will want to give up the scholarship unless it's a clear cut case of Seychel being better. We'll see.

      In general, I think kickers are important but not THAT valuable to the team unless you have an elite guy or lack viable backups. It seems like with Allen, David, and the transfer from Weber State plus Seychel Michigan has a lot of good kicking options, as they have had for the last several years with Gibbons, Wile, Hagerup, McGrath, etc.

  4. It’s surely not The Big House, but doesn’t Massillon’s Washington High School play in a stadium that can seat around 19,000 people? Hasn’t Andrew David kicked in some high pressure situations, considering Massillon’s reputation as one of Ohio’s top football programs?

    While it would be a nice story if Kyle Seychel won the primary kicking job, in part because his father played hockey and baseball at Michigan, unless there’s some evidence that (a) Kyle Seychel is far superior to Andrew David or (b) Andrew David has decided to focus more on baseball than on football during his freshman year at Michigan, why wouldn’t Andrew David be considered at least even with Kyle Seychel?

    1. As I said above, what I've heard suggests that Kyle Seychel will be Michigan's kicker this fall.

    2. So, if Kyle Seychel's going to be Michigan's kicker, then would it be fair to say that Andrew David will be focusing on baseball during his freshman year? If so, would that have any impact on his football scholarship?

      I've read that baseball is Andrew David's "first love."