Locks of Love

Florida State freshman kicker <b>Gary Cismesia</b> is noted for his strong right leg. He once booted a 52-yard playoff game-winner in the rain during his junior season at Lakewood Ranch in Bradenton. Of course, Cismesia also was known for his beloved ponytail. Well, Cismesia's leg is strong as ever, and his ponytail is going to a good cause -- Locks of Love, a nonprofit organization that provides hairpieces to children stricken with medical-related baldness.

When Gary Cismesia is not kicking during Florida State's practice sessions, he can be seen walking the field and watching the action.

Tuesday morning, for example, Cismesia was a solitary figure on the far sidelines. Down on one knee, Cismesia intently watched as FSU running backs ran pass patterns.

But that's Cismesia.

He's personable yet intense. He likes to watch the action but would rather be in the middle of it.

Optimistic FSU fans have likened Cismesia to former Seminole standout Sebastian Janikowski for a number of reasons -- mainly his leg strength.

However, Cismesia's shiny new dome has only perpetuated those comparisons. Before arriving in Tallahassee for the start of practice, Cismesia cut off his beloved ponytail.

Cismesia' father, brother and next door neighbor also cut their hair. Cismesia's mother had the honors. Her son has said it was the first time he had his hair cut since the second grade.

"I kind of had my mind made up that I wasn't going to cut it, but the week before I came up here I was like, 'I am just goint to cut it," Cismesia said.

"That way I don't have to worry about anything. I've had it my whole life but it was time for a change. I just cut it off."

At the urging of his mother, Cismesia donated his hair to Locks of Love, a nonprofit organization that provides hairpieces to children stricken with medical-related baldness.

"It's better than just sitting somewhere or in the trash can, " Cismesia said.

A smiling Cismesia likes his new look.

"It's a lot cooler," Cismesia said.

"You will be driving in the car and you roll down the window and you are like, 'Wow, the air is hitting me and I can feel it.' Then you don't have to worry about it in the morning. I don't have to brush my hair or anything.

"I wish I would have done it sooner. It's a lot cooler. It's just hair. It will grow back if I want it back."

Cismesia's new hairdo hasn't affected his kicking.

The 5-foot-11, 215-pound Cismesia booted a 52-yard playoff game-winner in the rain as a junior at Lakewood Ranch in Bradenton. He also kicked two field goals of 50-plus yards as a senior. Additionally, 89 percent of his kickoffs went for touchbacks.

While senior kicker Xavier Beitia has converted 77 percent of his field goals and is the team's starter, Cismesia will be ready if needed.

"I feel real good," said Cismesia, who selected FSU over Georgia Tech.

"I like these footballs better than the ones in high school. They seem to come off my foot easier. I am still getting used to the snapper and the holder. It's a little different, but it's the same ol' kicking the ball.

"Whatever happens happens. They brought me in and I am going to do my thing. If it works out that way, it works out. I want to play but it's up to the coaches to decide."

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