Always seemingly rare and headline worthy, Alabama offered a scholarship to a kicker over the weekend.
But it wasn’t just any kicker, and it wasn’t on Nick Saban’s usual timeline. Even elite prep prospects among the specialist groups, like J.K. Scott, usually have to wait until the Alabama camp dedicated to kickers, punters and longsnappers in the summer.
Tucker McCann has bucked a recent trend, and UA planned it that way.
“I was just absolutely thrilled, I wasn’t really expecting it at first,” he said. “They called my coach and told him they were going to offer, so he kept it as a surprise for us. I’m really thankful that they did.
“Especially with Saban, that he has the trust in me. They haven’t had that good of luck in the past, with their kickers, so it’s nice knowing he has a little bit of trust in me by offering me. Now I have two pretty big offers, this early, which is rare. The timing of it is a big deal because schools want to scholarship one kicker and have a consistent kicker for four years.”
Missouri, which offered in the middle of February, is considered a semi-local extension for the O’Fallon (Ill.) standout, who doubles as a punter. It was his first time in Tuscaloosa.
“You can’t really beat Alabama’s facilities and everything like that,” McCann said. “I didn’t realize how many special teams coaches there really are in college, I just thought the team’s let the kickers do their own thing. But at ‘Bama, the kickers have a special workout routine and they have a very specialized layout for them to get better as a kicker. They don’t just do the same thing everyone else does.
“I also talked to J.K. Scott, their punter. He’s done Kohl’s kicking before. He’s a big fan of Pilates, he’s a big believer in that and now he’s got me hooked on that.”
With a pair of SEC offers to boot and without a concrete timeline for making a decision most kickers have to make in the days leading up to national signing day, the football feel of each program will be evaluated going forward.
“I’m waiting to make sure I’m 100 percent sure where I want to go,” he said. “I don’t really have a plan, it’s just when I know for sure. I have never had a dream school that I’ve always wanted to go to. Mizzou is close to home and my sister will be going there next semester, so she’s pulling me to go there. My family and I want to take it slow and make sure I’m picking the right one.
“I look for where I have the best chance to get to the next level, that’s been my dream -- to take my kicking career to the NFL. It will come down to that, and where I feel most comfortable at to become the best kicker I can be.”
McCann, ranked as the No. 1 kicker in America on Kohlskicking.com, isn’t planning on making any additional visits at this time.
“McCann has competed at multiple Kohl's events. During his High School season he hit a 60 yard FG in game. His FG range at camp was special compared to other top kickers. The ball jumps off his foot as fast as anyone in the 2016 class,” Kohl says of McCann on the site. “…McCann is currently our number one kicker based on the height and consistency of his FG ball strikes off the ground. He is an impressive young kicker.”