WWS Coach Praises New Illini Placekicker

Kickers are often overlooked when time comes for handing out scholarships. Major colleges need to fill other positions first, with kicking specialists an afterthought. They want good ones, but they hope to have them walk on and earn a scholarship down the line. Wheaton Warrenville South kicker Nick Immekus will do that for the Fighting Illini this year.

Nick Immekus has a powerful, accurate leg. He is also a good athlete who plays a regular position besides being the kicker and punter for Wheaton Warrenville South. He helped Ron Muhitch's Tigers win the Class 7A Illinois championship. He is now planning to walk on at the University of Illinois.

Muhitch thinks the Illini are lucky to land Immekus.

"He is a very excellent kicker. I think Illinois has got a steal with him because he's gonna walk on, and I think he's a scholarship kid."

Muhitch comments on the rarity of a kicker being a position player.

"He has a very strong leg. His strength as a player is he's strong, and he's started on the offensive line for me the last two years. So he's a very successful football player.

"And yet to be able to kick off and do those things under a lot of extra responsibilities, it's pretty hard for a player to do that and do consistently well in the kicking game. To play offensive line for two years and still be able to do the kicking is amazing.

"There's some good advantages to that. He's a football player. Some kickers are converted soccer players or somebody from some other avenue where they haven't played the game but excel at the art of kicking. Nick is one of those kids that has done both."

The first thing one notices about Immekus is his kickoffs. He booms them high and deep. At a Ray Guy/Pro Kicker Camp, he had the top average kickoff distance of anyone in the Midwest. He averaged 65.75 yards per boot with a high of 73.

Muhitch thinks Immekus will adapt to kicking off from the 30 yard line rather than 40 yard line in college.

"His kickoffs were outstanding. I think he had 70 of 88 in the endzone. He has great power on the kickoff. I think with the distance in college, he's still gonna be able to make that end zone. I think that's something he'll do well at."

The 5'-11", 240 pounder also demonstrated his accuracy and ability to respond under pressure this season.

"On field goals, he was 10 out of 12 this year. He missed a 52 yarder, but he kicked three 47 yarders. Two of the three were pivotal distances not only for setting records but were also big moments in the game.

"In the St. Rita game, he put us ahead at the half. And then in the championship game he ties us up after we had just given up a pick to let them go ahead. It was a quick turn of events, and he hammered that 47 yarder that allowed us to go into overtime.

"Those are the momentum plays you want as a coach and your program. I do believe he is a kicker that loves that moment, and he is a strong candidate to be in those moments. He convinced me many times to go for the kick."

It can take kickers time to adjust to kicking off the ground in college, but he already has a head start according to Muhitch.

"He's prepared himself for the college level. He's kicked off a 1" tee for PAT and field goals for the last two years."

In practice, Immekus kicked a 64 yard field goal with a one inch tee. Off the ground, he once kicked a 59 yarder. With continued development, he is certainly a candidate to earn an Illini scholarship eventually.

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