Iowa State coaches watched Springboro (Ohio) kicker Charlie Kuhbander at Sound Mind Sound Body in Detroit on Friday afternoon, and by the time his plane landed on the east coast later that night, he had received a text.
Matt Campbell and Co. acted quickly, extending an offer to Kuhbander, who Kohl’s Kicking ranks as the 4th-best kicker in 2017. Kuhbander immediately becomes Iowa State’s priority as the only uncommitted kicker holding an offer from the Cyclones.
“He said that he thought I had the talent to do it, that I had the character in the program that they’re trying to build, he liked that I was a leader on the field, that I was the captain of my soccer team, I had good grades,” Kuhbander said of Campbell. “He said that’s just the type of atmosphere they’re trying to build with him coming in.”
Kuhbander, who also holds an offer from Army, is in the middle of the evaluation stage with a number of other programs. He kicked at Maryland on Saturday and is also drawing interest from Cincinnati, Northwestern, Auburn, Vanderbilt, Michigan State and Penn State. Several schools are expected to make decisions on kickers soon.
For Iowa State, which graduates kicker Cole Netten after the coming 2016 season, it has placed its focus squarely on Kuhbander. Kuhbander has camped multiple times with Kohl’s Kicking in the past, working with two former Iowa State kickers, Jamie Kohl and Bret Culbertson, along the way.
“I was definitely pumped because I know Jamie Kohl and Bret Culbertson are two people I’ve worked with and they both went there and they’ve been telling me great things about it,” Kuhbander said of the offer. “So I’m definitely excited to get to go out there and take a look. I was really pumped to hear about it.
“I definitely want to play big time football and I think that’s what they’re offering and that’s what they have to offer. It’s a big deal.”
Kuhbander, who has one of the strongest legs in the 2017 class, was 58-of-61 last season on extra points and 11-of-17 on field goals. Forty-five of his 75 kickoffs resulted in touchbacks, which is an area of Kuhbander’s game that stood out to Iowa State.
“I know that they were really impressed with my kickoffs,” Kuhbander said. “But I think the biggest thing for them, with the wind — how windy it is in Iowa — to be able to hit a clean, consistent ball is going to be a big factor.”
While other schools make decisions, Iowa State has grabbed Kuhbander’s attention.
“I should know about a few more schools coming up in the next few days,” Kuhbander said of his recruitment. “My plan right now is to try to get out to Iowa State as soon as possible and get to see the campus and meet the rest of the staff and get to talk to them. That’s my first step from here. We haven’t decided on an official date yet, but I’m trying to get out there as soon as possible.”
And ideally, Kuhbander hopes a decision can come in the next few weeks.
“I would like to wrap up my recruiting by the end of June before July,” he said. “I know that’s not how it always works for kickers, but that’s what I would like to have happen.”