Top Utah Kicker Receives National Attention

It is pretty impressive when a kicker can put the football through the goal posts on kickoffs, and when that kicker is a high school junior, it is downright amazing. The first team all-state kicker at the 5A level in Utah wowed fans, coaches, and recruiters throughout the 2006 season, and it was not just by splitting the uprights on kickoffs.

Now is the time of year when BYU coaches are immersed in recruit evaluation, and it appears that one of the prospects to demand their interest is Bingham High School kicking extraordinaire Justin Sorensen.

"I'm 6-2 and I'm 215 pounds," said Sorensen. "I was first team all-state, all-region first team and region most valuable kicker. I was the highest kicking scorer in the state with 95 points, and the third highest kicking scorer in the nation. I was also the fifth highest in total scoring in the state of Utah with 95 points on 62 PATs.

"According to this website called MaxPreps, I was third in the nation for kick scoring, but I was first place among kickers that played in 14 games. The two guys a head of me had 15 games."

Sorensen's goal is to put the ball through the uprights during kickoffs to pump up his teammates. That power on kickoff carries over to field goal attempts, where Sorensen is rarely out of his range.

"I try to boost my team as much as I can," Sorensen said. "If I can kick the ball through the uprights during kickoffs, that's huge, so I just do my best to motivate my team. I've kicked the ball through the uprights around nine or ten times during the season.

"I also did field goals and I'm also learning how to punt right now. At the beginning of the year we had problems with our snapper, our holder and our timing was really off. For most of the year, I only did a one step kick to make sure we got the snap down and everything. A few of the earlier kicks I missed because our timing was off, but towards the latter part of the year we got better.

"My longest field goal in a game was 52 yards. During the season I only had a chance to kick from behind the 50 yard line just that one time, but I did kick a 47 yard field goal. Usually during practice I can hit a 50 yard field goal pretty consistently, but this past year I didn't get a lot of chances to kick those deep field goals."

Sorensen remembers watching a past BYU kicker by the name of Matt Payne who became known for his hard hits on special teams. Sorensen has used that part of Payne's game as a source of inspiration and has tried to incorporate it into his own game.

"I had 96 kickoffs and 81 of them were touchbacks," Sorensen said. "However on four returns, I had a chance to make four tackles. It's so much fun! [Matt Payne] and I are pretty much the same size and I can lay a hit if I have to. Even earlier this year I went to a linebacker camp at BYU."

The secret to Sorensen's amazing kicking ability may seem a bit unorthodox, but if he could patent the technique and sell instructional videos to coaches across the country he might be able to make an extra buck or two.

"A few years ago I picked up the unicycle," Sorensen said. "Doing that has made my legs 50 times stronger. I did it professionally when I was younger and was on the world team, but I don't do that anymore. It really does work! If I was a coach, personally I would have my kickers ride unicycles. As a kicker, it's huge to have balance and it's huge to have a strong and fast leg, and with being able to ride a unicycle that's what it's all about. It's all about balance using your legs and having the speed to balance and everything."

Sorensen is already receiving recruiting attention for his kicking abilities from both instate and out of state colleges.

"I've talked a lot with BYU," Sorensen said. "I've talked with Colorado, Oregon and Utah. Those are my main colleges right now. Another reason why I would like to go to BYU is because I could be with people that were on my high school team and won a state championship with. It would just be unbelievable."

Despite the early attention from a few big time programs, BYU is the college that has the inside track for Sorensen's services.

"About five years before I was born, my family has had season tickets. We have a lot of family history there at BYU. My family has graduated from there and my grandpa was a professor there. I love their facilities and weight lifting is one of my biggest hobbies. Seeing their weight room was just amazing.

"I love BYU, and if I had a choice that's where I would definitely go. Being LDS it would definitely be a good experience to be able to go to BYU to be among those with the same standards. I think it would be great.

"I've mainly talked with Coach Tidwell and Coach Doman. They always talk to me about trying hard and staying motivated. They always want me to focus on the fact that football is a team effort, and that you're a part of that team and need to do your job."

Sorensen has heard rumblings of a possible scholarship offer from BYU.

"I have received a little information about [a scholarship]," said Sorensen. "I don't know everything for sure but I'm hoping by the end of February I'll get an offer."

If Sorensen does receive an offer from BYU, he will probably not take long to think it over.

"I would probably commit on the spot," Sorensen said. "I've thought so much about it and if I had a dream place to go, it would be BYU. I have a cousin Danny Sorensen down in California and he's trying really hard to come to BYU and play."

Daniel Sorensen is a 6-foot-2, 205-pound junior safety/wide receiver from Colton High School in San Bernardino, California. He was nominated for offensive MVP in the San Andreas League as well as all-CIF for safety. He was also named second team all-state for at defensive back.

"He's a big kid and is incredibly athletic," said Justin of his cousin. "A BYU coach was supposed to be going out there to get his highlight game film. I don't know if that has happened or not, but he told me that he would like to go to BYU and thinks that would be awesome."

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