Mossbrucker Takes Shot at Top Spot

Iowa's place kicking game proved woefully inconsistent in 2007, and the Hawkeye coaches hoped to rectify the problem by signing Trent Mossbrucker to a scholarship. The Indiana prep comes to Iowa City this week with a chance to play as a true freshman. Read about what ex-Hawkeye has been helping the recruit and how he feels about his opportunity in this premium update.

Usually when a teenager experiences car trouble, he calls his parents. Trent Mossbrucker dials up an NFL player.

The Iowa recruit contacted former Hawkeye standout Jason Baker on Tuesday when his car broke down.

"I called him and he picked me up and took me to his house and made lunch," Mossbrucker said. "That was cool."

Baker, who just finished his third season as the Carolina Panthers punter, is tutoring Mossbrucker. They live about 30 minutes apart in Indianapolis.

"I talk to Jason quite a bit," Mossbrucker said.

Mossbrucker plans on arriving in Iowa City on Sunday in pursuit of the starting place kicking job. He will challenge incumbents Daniel Murray and Austin Signor.

"(The Iowa coaches have) said that they're looking for some consistency in the kicking game," Mossbrucker said. "They said that the position is wide open for all of us to compete for it throughout camp and into the fall. So, I'm looking forward to doing that."

Mossbrucker chose the Hawkeye scholarship offer ahead of ones from Indiana and Northern Illinois. The fact that he was extended rides from three schools said a lot about someone playing a position at which many players are asked to walk on.

"I would hope to play right away and would hope I have that opportunity," said Mossbrucker, who is the only one of the three competing for the Iowa job on scholarship. "I think I do. That's been a goal of mine; to play college football and I want to play as early as possible."

In his final three prep seasons at Mooresville (Ind.) High, Mossbrucker (6-0, 190) earned first-team all-state honors. He also was named Indiana's Mr. Football Award Winner for kicker and was a Super Team pick by the Indianapolis Star. ranks Mossbrucker a two-star player on a five-star scale and rates him as the 17th best kicker in his recruiting class.

Mossbrucker converted 27 of 38 field goal attempts in his career, including a career-long from 49 yards. He also started at quarterback and lettered four times in basketball.

"I really don't have any expectations," Mossbrucker said of college ball. "I just want to fit in with the guys and compete for a job. One of my main goals is to have a starting spot this year."

Murray and Signor made 10 of 16 field goal attempts in 2007, including eight of 13 from 30 yards and beyond. They also missed four extra points and did not attempt a three-pointer in the final three games. The coaches lost confidence in them and still were uneasy when the duo performed inconsistently this spring.

"I just feel like I have to be myself; be consistent and kick the same ball every time," Mossbrucker said about what it will take to win the job. "I'm not going in worrying about outside things. I just want to do what I know how to do. Hopefully that will work out for me."

Mossbrucker said the strength of his game is that he kicks the "same ball" every time in terms of how it hits his foot and where it goes.

"I feel like I'm pretty smooth when I kick," he said. "I need to be more consistent. I'd like to see it go through the middle every time that I kick it. I'd also like to get a little more length on his kickoffs."

Signor handled most of the kickoffs last year and it might be a case where he starts the year in that role as Mossbrucker gets acclimated to college football.

"If that would be the case, that would be fine," Mossbrucker said "I'm going in with the mentality that I want both jobs. If we split that up, that's fine. I don't have a problem with that."

In addition to Baker, Mossbrucker can lean on his brother Kyle for kicking advice. Kyle redshirted as a freshman for Purdue in '04 before transferring to the University of Indianapolis, where he is a junior kicker.

Former Hawkeye all-American Nate Kaeding, an all-pro kicker with the San Diego Chargers also spoke to Mossbrucker recently.

"I talked to Nate when we went out (to Iowa) for the spring game," Trent said. "It wasn't about kicking or anything. We were just getting to know each other.

"It's a real family atmosphere at Iowa. Everyone is really down to earth. Everyone seems like a nice person so far."

While some of the every down players curse kickers as they stand on the sidelines watching them swelter in the August heat, Kaeding and Baker are adamant about specialists being athletes.

"I say we're football players," Mossbrucker said. "We put on our pads and our helmets just like everybody else. We're part of the team. We can score points. We're out there practicing every day just like everybody else."

Mossbrucker will enroll at Iowa as an open major, but he knows what he wants to be in the future.

"I might study something on the physical fitness side; maybe a trainer," he said. "My ultimate goal is to become a football coach whether it is in high school or college. At practice, other than kicking, I'm going to be sucking up all of the football that I can."

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