Ukropina To Kick In Evanston

Loyola (CA) high school kicker Conrad Ukropina is picking up interest from all across the country. Northwestern is a school that stands out for the kicker who is planning to kick in Evanston on Monday.

Ukropina (6-1, 180) confirmed with NU assistant coach Jerry Brown that he will visit Northwestern on Monday, and kick in front of the coaches.

During his visit, Ukropina hopes to take a tour of Northwestern's campus after working out in front of the coaches. When he was in ninth grade, Ukropina visited Chicago for the first time, and even saw Northwestern's campus. He's excited to return on Monday.

"I'm super excited," Ukropina said. "Hopefully, it will go well. I've been working really hard."

Recently, Ukropina has seen his numbers improve. His new field goal kicking max is at 55 yards, which he is hitting consistently. In addition, he registered an 83-yard kickoff at a Chris Sailer Kicking Camp.

Ukropina holds one offer—that coming from Air Force—but is hoping things will pick up this summer. He knows most colleges want to see kickers in person. Ukropina is hoping to impress coaches at each camp, and Northwestern is first up.

"With kickers and punters, they want to see you in person to see technique and height of the ball and how the ball gets off your foot.

"Just like I said, I need the publicity of showing off at camps. Hopefully, it comes after I get out there."

Ukropina also uses his strong boot for punting in addition to kicking. Coach Brown informed Ukropina they are looking at him as a punter originally, but anything is open.

"Once I'm there, I'm there," Ukropina said. "Everything is open. Coach Brown said everything is open for competition. I think I can do both."

Air Force remains Ukropina's only offer, but he's picked up interest from NU along with Boston College, California, Duke, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Stanford, UCLA, USC, Virginia, and a list of others, including Ivy League schools.

Even with a list of schools showing interest, Ukropina says Northwestern is one of the schools that really stands out, and is currently in his top-three.

"I think it's awesome," he said. "Academically, it's fantastic. I've been to Chicago before—went when I was in 9th grade—loved Chicago. I got to see Northwestern and loved it. They're on the rise with Pat Fitzgerald. I love the school and love the program. It could definitely be a good fit."

By attending these camps, Ukropina is hoping he'll be able to earn a scholarship. Thus far, he holds just one offer. His hope is to garner many more. However, if that does not happen, he would be open to walking on at a school.

"If it was a good enough place, I would definitely take a walk-on," Ukropina said. "I've definitely put a lot into this, so I'm looking for a scholarship. If I find the right place and it fits, and they're offering me a walk-on and I can fight for a position, I'd be open to that."

Ukropina carries a 4.4 grade point average, so finding a school with top-notch academics is a must.

"I want my school to set me up for football and the rest of my life," Ukropina said. "I'm looking for academically-focused institutions."

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