Fodness to Join Gophers

The Gophers added another name to the 2012 class last week with the addition of Bemidji (Minn.) kicker Kyle Fodness. A former soccer player, Fodness is excited to walk on at Minnesota and wear the Maroon and Gold.

As a standout soccer player, Fodness anticipated pursing that sport in college but interest from Jerry Kill and his staff changed his plans.

"Well originally, I was being pretty heavily recruited to play soccer and I was probably going to end up at either Concordia College-Moorhead or St. Thomas," he said. "Then after the football season ended, a couple of my friends convinced me to put together a highlight video and some kicking film and send it to a couple schools.

"Then my dad said I might as well send a copy to the Gophers, because we had always been huge fans and it couldn't hurt. So then when the Gophers staff contacted me it was just kind of a no-brainer. I really like the school, and the coaching staff and we've always loved the Maroon and Gold."

As a lifelong Gopher fan, Fodness was ecstatic to get a call from his favorite team.

"Well it was great to hear from Coach Sawvel, the special team coordinator, but Coach Kill actually talked with my dad because I was just about to start a tennis match," he said. "So when I heard who he just got off the phone with I was pretty excited."

The feeling was mutual as the Gopher staff was happy to have another player from Minnesota on the team.

"I think they were excited to make another commitment to Minnesota athletes, and to have another Minnesota athlete commit to them," he said. "I think they're just glad that I can come down and work my tail off to help the program."

The Gopher coaches had reason to be excited as Fodness had an excellent senior season as a kicker. Partway through the year, he took over kicking duties after an injury on the team.

"I was 26/26 on PAT's, and 3/4 on field goals," he said. "The three makes on field goals were in the state quarters, semis, and finals. We didn't have accurate stats on the kickoffs. I was kind of bummed that I didn't get more opportunities because I joined the team halfway through the year."

Fodness has also had success kicking deep field goals in practice.

"The longest I've hit was a 52-yarder without wind. But 45 to 50 is where I would be able to hit more consistently. I'd say that would be my range."

With experienced kickers already on the roster, Fodness will redshirt next season.

"I'm expecting to redshirt this year for sure, which I'm definitely alright with because then I can get off to a strong start with academics and gain some experience in the program," he said.

By redshirting and focusing on one sport, Fodness hopes to gain valuable football experience for his future.

"I really want to see what a full year of training can do for my kicking if that's all I focus on athletically. Usually my attention is divided between a few different sports so it will be fun to see what focusing my attention on one sport will do."

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