A Kicker Emerges

It only happens every four years or so, the Florida Gators are in need of special teams' help and a kicker or two. The Gators have a senior punter and a junior placekicker. A punter is necessary, a kicker maybe not. There may be one good enough that can't be passed up. Time will tell if that is the case, but a place kicker has emerged for Florida that may gain a scholarship.

West Hills (CA) Chaminade College Prep is home to one of the nation's best placekickers and he attended the Urban Meyer Football Camp kicking session this week. Matt Goudis is a strong legged and even more accurate kicker that is starting to gain interest from a lot of programs.

Currently, Boise State, Georgia, LSU, USC, and Florida are the programs he pays the most attention to, and they are returning that attention. Goudis talked about all five teams.

Boise State: "Coach Peterson is a great guy. He's had the opportunity to leave and decided to stay there so I think that program is really on the rise."

Georgia: "It's a good school and I know their current kicker. I don't know if they are going to take another kicker."

USC: "I live about 20 miles away. They first said they were going to take a kicker, but when the sanctions came out, they aren't sure any more."

LSU: "Les Miles seems like a good coach that cares about his players and like Florida they are in the SEC and have all the tradition."

When talking about Florida, it is a little bit different story for Goudis. He has a lot of reasons to camp at Florida.

"I was born in Connecticut, but moved to Boca Raton, Florida and lived there for about ten years...then moved to California," Goudis said late Wednesday night from a family member's house in Orlando. "My mom is an alumnus (of Florida) and my sister is a student there and was a freshman last year. I grew up being a Gator."

Of course Goudis knows all about the program, he shared his thoughts on the Gators.

"The whole program is the greatest, especially with Coach Meyer and all the coaches there...the tradition, the integrity of it, and the conference they play in is competitive and passionate," he said. "Also, the academics are great as well."

Being a fan of a school doesn't do anything for chances at an athletic scholarship. Goudis knows he is going to have to prove himself. He feels he did just that at camp.

"They were very impressed, they told me I was their top guy," Goudis said of the Florida coaching staff. "It was great to hear that."

Florida assistant coach Brian White has been the point man on Goudis' recruitment. White was also very responsible for helping land star defenders Joshua Shaw and Ronald Powell from California a year ago. The pesky recruiter was able to get Goudis to come across the country and try out at the camp.

"Coach White has been really great," Goudis said. "He came to camp last year and he saw me. He has been telling Urban and D.J. Durkin, the special teams coach, how good I am. He brought me out to this camp and (Wednesday) was the first time Coach Meyer was able to see me and he was impressed."

Meyer didn't make it easy on him. Typical of Meyer's special team's prowess, he wants to make sure that Goudis is not a guy that will fold under pressure.

"Coach Meyer spent about 20 minutes watching us," Goudis said. "He was intense...he came up in his golf cart and parked it right where the ball is snapped. He then called all the other campers in close and had them start screaming at us. Some of the other coaches, Durkin and White, were yelling in our ears as well."

Goudis passed the test and now he is on the verge of getting a possible scholarship offer. However, the question remains, will they try and get a place kicker in this class? Goudis was told directly what the deal is.

"They don't know what the situation is with a scholarship, they aren't sure there will be one available, they will know eventually," he said and so the wait begins.

Inevitably, when he does make a decision, the 3.3 GPA student who wants to major in business or accounting knows what he is looking for in a school.

"Academics, the coaches and whether they are going to be around while I am there, and will they help me get to the next level."

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