Q&A With Soon-to-be Buff Place Kicker

A 30-year old from Melbourne, Australia will join Colorado's place kicking competition this summer. BuffStampede.com got some answers from James Stefanou on what led him to want to play football in Boulder, and what his range is as a kicker...

What led your decision to switch up from playing soccer to place kicking? Had you thought about being a college football player for a while?

James Stefanou: "Playing professional soccer was my dream since I could walk. Once I exhausted every possibility of making that a reality, I discovered a new dream, American football and place kicking. I have watched the game for years and always loved it."

At this point, what do you consider to be your strengths as a place kicker?

"My consistency and mental strength, missing doesn't enter my mind. I don't mind a long attempt either."

What are the areas you feel you might need to improve on before you kick in your first college football game?

"Operation time. I'm looking forward to working with the long snapper and holder and developing a good working relationship."

Australia has developed a reputation for developing punters... was there any pressure for you to punt instead of being a place kicker? Did kicking just come more natural for you than punting?

"Having played soccer, kicking was more natural, yes. All Aussie kids grow up kicking an Aussie rules football, though, and I enjoy punting but [there is] no pressure [to be a punter for Colorado]."

Is there a distance you feel comfortable kicking from? Basically, what do you consider to be your kicking range coming out to Colorado?

"I've drilled a few 60-plus yard field-goals and won't shy away from that. Comfort is a funny thing, in game type situations, take me out of my comfort zone. I like to achieve what my mind or others think is difficult."

How much do you believe your background of playing professional soccer will aid you in your transition to college football, especially with the pressure of kicking in front of 50,000 fans?

"I'm not going to lie, the hairs on the back of my neck stand up just thinking about it. I love big crowds and being able to zone in and focus is something I've always done. The competitive nature takes over."

Did you reach out to other colleges, or was Colorado always your main option during the recruiting process?

"I did chat to other colleges, although after chatting with Matt Thompson and [head] coach [Mike] MacIntyre, it was an easy decision. I got along really well and I feel I can improve under their guidance."

Have you had a chance to visit Boulder before? What are your expectations coming in?

"No, I haven't visited Boulder before. I don't have any real expectations. I have heard it's an awesome place, though, so I can't wait to get there now."

When are you planning to arrive in Colorado?

"Early June"

Colorado has another Australian coming in with its 2017 recruiting class in Sebastian Olver... have you had a chance to communicate with Sebastian at all?

"No, I haven't chatted to Sebastian. It will be good to meet someone from back home though."

Do you know what you want to study when you get to Colorado?

"I want to eventually study Business or Journalism."


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