While some schools balk at offering scholarships to kickers, NC State has consistently made the position a recruiting priority. This season the Pack offered, and landed, two of the region's best in Josh Czajkowski of Springfield, Va and Nathan Franklin of Wilmington, NC. Czajkowski recently made his official visit to State and we caught up with him to see how the trip went.
At 5-10, 185 pounds, Czajkowski may look the part of a kicker but it would be easy to mistake him for a linebacker or defensive back on the sidelines of West Springfield High School. While most kickers are usually reserved and choose to stay in the background until that crucial kick is needed, that simply isn't the style for Czajkowski.
"I'm just that into it," said Czajkowski. "I'm one of those guys that's really into lifting and I'm one of the bigger kickers. Bodysize-wise, I don't look like a kicker. A lot of people would think I was a safety or something. But I'm really just pumped up before I go in the game because I'm so much into it but I go out there and stay calm while I'm kicking."
Czajkowski was able to excel with that approach this year as he put together a stellar senior season. On the year he nailed 7-of-7 field goals with a long of 47 yards. Czajkowski connected on 43-of-44 extra points and put 52 of his kickoffs into the endzone for touchbacks. He also averaged 41 yards per punt. For his efforts, Czajkowski was widely regarded as the best kicker in his region as he came away with All-Patriot District first team and All-Northern Region honors. The senior kicker was also named to the Washington Post All-Metro first team.
Czajkowski made his official visit to NC State during the weekend of November 25th, and it helped to solidify the commitment he made to the Wolfpack over the summer.
"One of the highlights of the trip was the dinner they took us to. It was also nice to see State get a big win over one of the schools that had been recruiting me (Maryland). The thing that stood out was that everybody treated me so well, and it just felt like home.
"Maryland, Michigan, Penn State, Virginia, West Virginia and Pittsburgh were some of the other schools that were recruiting me, but State just seemed more like a fit for me. There was something about it that just seemed like home for me."
Czajkowski will enroll at NC State in January, and the early start should give him a jump on the 2006 season.
"I know Deraney is there, but I think I can at least come in and challenge for some of the kicking duties," he said. "At least that's what I'm coming in trying to do. Coach Amato has told me that he doesn't think Deraney likes having to do all the kicking."