Introducing the 2003 Class: Jesse Ainsworth

Not many incoming freshmen are relied on as Jesse Ainsworth. The talented Thousand Oaks high school kicker is a player who figures to have a legitimate chance at starting for the Sun Devils in one of the most crucial special teams roles. Recently, DevilsDigest spoke with and Arizona State signee, who addressed the ample opportunities laying ahead of him as he prepares to kick-off his collegiate career.

Early on in the recruiting process, Arizona State narrowed in on one of the true elite kickers in the 2003 class, Jesse Ainsworth, and went for the gusto, a decision that was certainly reciprocated by the young star. "I committed really early," Ainsworth said, "I didn't even visit any other schools. I was going to go to Colorado to camp, but I'd already committed so there was no point. There were so many pro's (at ASU). It's a great school, the campus is beautiful…the opportunity to play early, the direction of the program and Coach Koetter-it was just perfect."

His excitement almost palpable, Ainsworth has focused on keeping himself busy over the next few months in anticipation of what is ahead of him. "I just got back from Mexico with my Church (for Spring Break). I've been lifting weights, going to school - the usual stuff. Right now I just started with a personal trainer. I'm working on my strength, doing more weight and less reps." Weighing in at around 205 pounds, Ainsworth knows there's no need to get bigger, saying, "I'm not really trying to bulk up, just work on my flexibility and getting a lot stronger."

With high school graduation scheduled for June 12th, Ainsworth knows there will be little rest before his real work begins this summer in Tempe. "I'll be out June 22nd for the bridge program." In some respects, Ainsworth already feels as though he's part of the team, saying, "I'm reading updates every day. I'm really excited about the way things seem to be going. I can't wait to get out there and start practicing."

Ainsworth got a taste of what's to come in a recent trip to Arizona State during spring ball. "I went down for an orientation, and saw one practice. I talked to some of the guys like (ASU punter) Tim Parker, some of the other guys (too), and it was good. It's hard to learn much from just being there one day though."

Knowing that the departure of senior Mike Barth will give him the opportunity to compete for a starting job is not lost on Ainsworth and he plans on being ready to compete for the starting job from Day One. "That was a great reason why I'm coming to ASU. I'm so lucky to have the opportunity to be able to come into camp with an opportunity to start and I'm really looking forward to it. I can't wait until the first kicks at Tontozona. I'm sure I'm going to be nervous because they have really high expectations for me, which I love, and I'm going to do everything I can to fulfill those."

Besides his work in the weight room, Ainsworth is hard at work on the field as well. "I'm kicking a couple days a week and working with (ex-UCLA kicker) Chris Sailor, and just working on fundamental things. Coach Osborne sent me some things to work on with my kickoffs and I'm just trying to get more consistent with my field goals." Asked specifically about what he's been asked to work on, Ainsworth says, "He (Osborne) sent me tape of some game film of last year about kicking off in the corners, and working on my hang time and my distance."

Considering the fact that Ainsworth was a standout defensive player at Thousand Oaks, a portion of his transition to college football will likely include adjusting to the fact that he'll no longer playing positions other than kicker. It's something he's not particularly looking forward to, but reluctantly accepts saying, "I'd love to play another position because it's going to hard just being a kicker. This year (however) I really just want to focus on kicking and getting used to the program, but who knows – I don't know what the coaches have in mind."

When you have a kicker coming into the program who has made field goals in high school from 55 and 56 yards respectively and is capable of hitting from as long as 65 yards in practice and from 50 yards and in on a consistent basis, it's easy to see what the Arizona State coaching staff has in mind for Jesse Ainsworth.

Recruit Profile

Name

Jesse Ainsworth

High School

Thousand Oaks HS, CA

Position

Kicker

Height

6-3

Weight

200

Birthplace

Thousand Oaks, CA

Nickname

None

TV Show

SportsCenter

Movie

Top Gun

Favorite Singer or Band

Tim McGraw

Favorite Food

In and Out Burger

Favorite Drink

Don't have one

Favorite Athlete

"Brett Favre, I don't really have a favorite kicker."

Favorite Pro Team

"Not really"

Person you most admire

"My dad"

First Football Memory

"Freshman year, we played Royal high school and one of my close friends tied the game, and then another picked it off and I had the opportunity to kick a winning field goal. It was 37 yards."

Where do you want to be in ten years?

"If not in the NFL, just married and with a successful career."


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