Andrew Friedman Keeps His Options Open

The one position that is probably most often taken for granted on any football team is the placekicker. As long as the kicker produces he's almost anonymous, but just let him miss one when the game is on the line --- can you say wide right? --- and everyone notices. The same is true when the kicker produces in the clutch. Can anyone forget Matt Leach drilling that 33-yard field goal in 2003 to give the Florida Gators their win over Georgia in the annual cocktail party?

Andrew Friedman is going to have his chance to be that last second hero for some school in the next four years. The senior at Moble (Ala.) Ums Wright Preparatory School has a list of schools that he will be considering on signing day, one of which is the University of Florida.

Andrew is looking to stay close to home for his college experience. SEC and ACC powerhouses are on his favorites list.

"Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, and Clemson are the schools I'm looking at," he said.

Amazingly, he doesn't have a solid offer yet although all these schools are staying in contact. His performance has been equal to or greater than several other kickers who have been offered and who have voiced commitments.

He's not certain at this point what his schedule will be for visits, but he definitely wants to take one to Florida. He's well aware that placekicker Matt Leach and kickoff specialist Matt Piotrowicz are both seniors, leaving walkons Chris Hetland and Eric Nappy as the competition he would be facing.

Friedman had a superb camp at UF during the summer, wowing coaches and spectators with his booming kicks and long distance accuracy. He's followed that up with a great senior season.

"I have 49 touchbacks," he said. "I'm in the eighty-something percentile on kickoffs (for touchbacks). Field goals are okay. I had a bit of a problem with my mechanics that I got worked out and that has been a lot better the last three weeks. I'm 38 of 41 on PATs.

"On Friday, I just missed a 57-yard field goal short. I should have made that one. I made one the day before in practice. My long field goal for the year is 48 yards."

He's looking to far more than just football when it comes to making his school selection. He has a checklist of what's important and wherever he goes, that school will have met his basic criteria. Things that are important are "Just how I feel. The atmosphere. I don't want it to be too different than home. I don't want it to be too big of a culture shock."

Academic priorities are high for him also.

"I'll probably major in medicine," he said, which would make him a third generation doctor in his family. His father is a UF grad and his grandfather graduated from Georgia. His grandfather was a tailback at Georgia (1951-52) until injuries cut short his football career.

The uncertainty of Florida's coaching situation hasn't erased his interest in UF although he is now put in the situation of having to wait and see who will be the coach and of course, if the new coach would have an interest.

"I liked Coach Zook," he said. "From what I had met of him at camp and stuff he's pretty personable. I know why his players like him so much. I would like for him to stay, but that's just what happens.

"I just want a coach that can make the transition easier for the guys there. Regardless, for me it would be new."

Although the Florida staff will likely be moving onto other schools, the staff continues to recruit for Florida and encourage kids to maintain their interest. Coach Joe Wickline was in touch just in the past few days.

"He just said that he really doesn't know anything about the coaching situation," he said. "Nothing else has changed. I told him I would be at the South Carolina game. That's about it."

As far as a commitment goes for Andrew, he has his list and now he's waiting to see who will offer. He says he remains open about where he will go, wanting to find the situation that fits him best for football and academic needs.

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