Gators get top kicker target Eddy Pineiro

One of the huge sore spots for an otherwise good season has been the place kicking. Scholarship junior Austin Hardin routinely could knock the ball out of the end zone on kickoffs, but making a field goal of any length was less than a 50/50 proposition. The Gators were 7/17 on the year. That is why getting Eddy Pineiro was so important and Jim McElwain got his man.

Pineiro isn’t your normal kicking prospect. First of all he is a junior college kicker. He’s just in his first year in junior college but will graduate with his AA this December and enroll as a mid-year player at Florida. He also didn’t play football this fall. He is a soccer player for ASA Community College.

Pineiro also didn’t play much high school football. He played for his high school team as a senior and did well, but that was the extent of his work on the gridiron.

So, what makes Pineiro such a big get?

The leg.

Pineiro can be seen all over YouTube kicking field goals from 70+ yards.  Yes, that was 70.  His latest and greatest is a 77-yard field goal.  Florida would settle for a guy that can make 30 yarders.

Oddly enough, Pineiro didn’t even camp at Florida. He camped at Alabama back in June and wowed their staff that had plans for bringing in another kicker and quickly adjusted those plans. The Crimson Tide didn’t offer, but Florida was quick to pounce the following day when Pineiro visited Gainesville and without working out was awarded his first D-1 scholarship offer.

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Pineiro left excited but there was no doubt he really liked the Alabama workout and was interested in getting that offer as well. A day or two later, he got the call and was offered by the Crimson Tide.

After mulling it over for a day or two, Pineiro quickly committed to Alabama and remained committed to the Crimson Tide until Monday. When he let the world know via Twitter that he was de-committing.

Florida remained on top of Pineiro throughout the process and relentlessly recruited him. In the meantime he took a four day trip to Tuscaloosa in October and then a day visit in Gainesville for a game. He visited Florida for the FSU game weekend as well and left a little unsure of everything. 

He went back to Tuscaloosa this past weekend and by all accounts had a great time. But, he told several Alabama commitments that were on the visit that he was still open to Florida. He got back to Miami and a day later he was on the market again.

It was the relentless pursuit of Pineiro that coincided with the drastic need for a competent kicker that pushed McElwain to say the following after the loss to Florida State where the kicking game was a huge part of the issue.

“We’ll get a kicker,” he said. “That’s our responsibility and we’ll get one. And we’ll get a good one.”


Well, they had to work for it, but it seems they got a good one and absolutely the one they wanted.


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