Shopping For A Kicker Before Signing Day?

Just two seasons ago it seemed as though the Duke kicking situation was all set after the Blue Devils had signed a four star prospect. After the 2006 season, however, it would appear that Duke may once again be shopping for a reliable kicker.

As the Peachtree Ridge High Lions drive towards tonight's Class AAAAA state championship game against Roswell, a number of critical kicks have been made by senior kicker Drew Butler. And now the 6'2, 200lbs kicker is closing in on his first scholarship offer - to Duke.

"I've talked to the coaching staff at Duke a lot in the past weeks," said Butler. "Coach Kerr and Coach Spencer have really been great to talk to, and both think I can go in there and get the job as a true freshman."

After starter Joe Surgan converted just 30% (3-of-10) of his field goal attempts in 2006 including just 1-of-5 from inside 30 yards, the Duke coaching staff began quietly looking for an alternative in case Surgan's woes continued through Spring practice and beyond. Always a factor in Georgia recruiting, the Blue Devils came upon Butler and quickly moved in.

Butler, who is the son of former University of Georgia and Chicago Bears great Kevin Butler, says "there is a scholarship available" if he wants it, has also proven a solid option as a punter. On the season he's averaging a shade over 43 yards per kick, with a long of 58 yards. As a place kicker he's converted 75% of his kicks with a long of 46 yards.

No two kicks were bigger than the two he nailed against Warner Robins to send Peachtree to the state finals. The first, a 27 yarder, got the Lions on the board. The second, from 32 yards, put the score to 13-7 with just over two minutes remaining, and ultimately was the difference in the game.

Butler says he will "definitely" visit Duke as well as his father's alma-mater, Georgia before making a decision. The 'Dawgs, however, may not be able to extend a scholarship offer to the legacy recruit, which could give the Blue Devils a leg up.

"Having a chance to be a scholarship player is something that's really hard to turn down, but I've got to make my visits and see how I fit in and how well things go at both schools. Right now, though, I am focusing on Saturday's Championship game."

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