New Editions (1):
K: David Jordan, Travis Bell
P: Andy Thompson, Kyle Belcher
Gone are senior starters Dan Burnett and Hal Higgins. There are several players already on campus to fill the void but it isn't clear how much confidence our coaching staff has in those replacements. Thompson saw the field some last year at punter with mixed results. Jordan and Bell are possibilities at Kicker but we signed another player that could play over both.
The one that got away:
Okay, I'll say his name… Gary Cismesia. I admit I was a little surprised that he actually jumped ship on us seeing that he drove up to Georgia Tech for several games this past season when his only other offer was from Indiana. He would have had a good chance at starting here as a true freshman but now he goes to Florida State to sit a year behind Xavier Beitia. FSU also has the history of making good kickers look cursed. Gary looks to break the streak of missing big kicks in games against Miami. It probably also didn't help GT when the coach recruiting him, Glenn Spencer, left for Duke.
Our situation at the Kicker and Punter positions are very interesting. We lose both senior starters and have a previously highly touted player in the wings to fill in the void at Kicker. At Punter, we have a player returning that played some last year. It would have seemed that we would maybe be set at those positions but our coaches were clearly not comfortable with what we were returning there. Originally we considered signing a Kicker for sure and maybe a Punter if there was a scholarship open at the end. Once we received a commitment from a Kicker, it seemed questionable that we'd also sign a Punter in the same year. Our coaches really liked Kyle Belcher and it was going to come down to a tough decision on him. Once Gary bolted, we immediately called Kyle to come down for an official visit and offered him. Now instead of just being a guy we could use at Punter, he was also told he would compete at Kicker as well. Spring ball will be an important time for both Jordan and Thompson since Belcher will be gunning for both of their jobs in fall.
Who GT signed:
Kyle Belcher is a tall kid from Albany, Georgia. He has a great shot at getting on the field early as either a Kicker or a Punter. He averaged over 40 yards per punt and had a career long field goal of 57 yards. Kyle had offers from several other smaller schools but was invited to walk-on at some other colleges like Georgia and Clemson. Personally I feel like he has a better shot at being the Punter in the first game next year than being the Kicker. I'll be very interested to see what Jordan can do in spring but I hope he plays good enough to make it a tough decision for our coaches. Certainly though Kyle is a very good pickup that will create competition at both special teams position. Either the current guys will pick up their play or Belcher will take over. Either way this signing should be a good overall boost for the team.
Recruiting Grade: B
Certainly the ideal situation would have been to keep the kicker and get Belcher to punt. But it didn't work out that way and who knows, we could end up better off this way. At least Tech fans will have a new favorite Nole to root against. I'm not sure adding 2 signees to special teams would have been the best thing to do since we already have players at the position, including one on scholarship already. Even if the ones we had weren't panning out, I'd not be too happy about having 3 total kickers & punters on ship at the same time. I would just suggest getting walk-ons to fill those roles instead of taking a chance on another scholarship kicker. As it turns out we landed a guy that can do both if needed. So in that sense he may have been the better pickup of the two special teams players we looked at since Gary was purely a kicker. So, despite losing a commit here, I think our needs were such that landing Kyle Belcher was a solid pickup and I'm grading the recruiting effort at this position a B.