Rob Zarrilli: "felt like home"

Invited walk-on Rob Zarrilli will compete for the kick off duties this fall. He and his father spoke with ITV about his decision to join the Cardinals.

After suffering through a number of kicking problems during the 2002 season, the new Louisville football staff appears determined to resolve the problems.

Incoming freshman punter Brent Moody, who is all ready on campus, will compete with returning punter Wade Tydlacka. While senior kicker Nate Smith appears secure in handling the point after attempts, the kick off duties appears to be wide open.

In an effort to locate a kicker that can consistently place the ball into the end zone, a number of kickers are being invited to join the 105-man practice roster this fall. Among the kickers expected to challenge for the spot are Male High School's Todd Flannery and Rob Zarrilli of Orlando Colonial High School.

A captain of his soccer team, Zarrilli was persuaded into giving football a chance and before the first game arrived he had won the kicking duties for Colonial High School.

Zarrilli, who has only played football for one year, was impressive as a senior. According to his father Rob Sr., he connected on 37 of 38 point after attempts and put 35 of 44 kick offs into the end zone.

"No one ran one back past the 30-yard line and he never had a kick off go out of bounds," said Rob Sr. "He has a cannon for a foot."

Despite being an unknown prior to the season, Zarrilli performed well enough to be named to the Orlando All-City All-Star game. He also received a number of scholarship offers from Division II programs.

However, both he and his father thought he could play on the Division IA level. His father put together a 3-minute tape that consisted of highlights and training routines and began mailing them out to a number of programs.

"Everybody I sent it too came knocking," explained Zarrilli. "He's just got a talent and the tape showcased that."

Marshall, Toledo, South Carolina, Minnesota and Louisville are a few of the schools that began to express an interest in the talented kicker. After narrowing it down to Minnesota and Louisville, father and son then made the trip to Louisville for the annual spring game and left impressed.

"We were given MVP treatment and that's not something you'd expect a kicker to get," said the elder Zarrilli.

"When we went up there we met awesome people," said the future Cardinal Rob Jr. "It was an awesome school and an awesome atmosphere. The people felt like family. It just felt like home right away."

Rob anticipates arriving on campus around July 18th to begin working out with the team in preparation for fall practice, which starts in early August.

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