Pack a Player For Nation's Top Kicker
Anyone familiar with NC State football knows that the Wolfpack has struggled on kickoffs. All too often the Pack has been overly generous with field position and it's an area the State coaches are looking to address in the class of 2011.
To accentuate the importance of the position, NC State was one of the first schools to offer a kicker for next year's class and that pledge went out to Servite (Anaheim, CA) High School standout Connor Loftus.
Loftus (6-0, 180 pounds) is rated a five star prospect and the No. 1 kicker in the nation by kicking guru Chris Sailer who wrote, "Connor is a special talent. He has a huge leg and gets outstanding lift on his ball. (He has the) best kickoffs in the nation in the Class of 2011. (Connor) is also a great field goal kicker and clutch performer. He is an outstanding young man with great work ethic. I have no doubt, he is a D1A scholarship player and the No. 1 kicker in the nation."
The rising senior's talent would appear to be exactly what the NC State staff is looking for. Loftus told Pack Pride recently that he considers kickoffs to be his biggest asset on the football field.
"I would say kickoffs are the strongest part of my game," said Loftus. "I think I have a pretty strong leg. So I would say kickoffs and field goals. I love kicking field goals, too. I think most schools want me for kickoffs and field goals. I've been working on punting. My longest field goal was a 46-yarder in a game."
The Wolfpack doesn't regularly recruit the state of California so just how did Loftus end up with an offer from NC State?
"Chris Sailer emailed me last spring that NC State was looking to offer a kicker. I was thinking about going to Duke and UNC already so I figured I would maybe go to all three.
"So I went to NC State and kicked and did pretty well in front of coach Petercuskie. I talked to him a lot and we formed a little bit of a relationship so I think that's how they saw me. Me and coach Petercuskie have kept in contact and that's how I got the offer."
Loftus has since made a return visit to NC State and said he likes what he's seen from the school, especially from the academic side of things. He talked about what he liked best about the Pack.
"I happened to like the food in North Carolina," Loftus said laughing. "That really stood out to me.
"They have a good engineering program and I'm debating over majoring in engineering or business. So that seems interesting.
"The campus overall just seemed nice. I went to their junior day that got canceled but I got to talk to coach O'Brien and coach Petercuskie again and then I got to see the university more in depth and talk to some of the academic guys. It seems like an academic place which appeals to me."
Despite the Wolfpack's need of a kicker, Loftus said the NC State staff didn't press him for a commitment.
"They were telling me to take my time picking a school. They didn't directly ask me to commit. They didn't try to pressure me into anything which I liked.
"It would be tough for me to make a decision so early because I haven't seen a lot of the schools I want to see. I feel like State offered me early and they have more interest in me and have more of a connection with me."
In addition to the Pack, Loftus has also landed interest from Nebraska, Florida, Boise State, LSU and several Ivy League schools among others. With new interest coming almost daily, he has found it tough to narrow down a list of favorites.
"I don't really have a top four or five because it's probably a bigger number than that. NC State's right up in there. Also, schools like Florida, Nebraska, LSU and the Ivy League schools."
Loftus stated that distance won't play a role in his collegiate choice and he hopes to make a decision prior to the start of his senior season.
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