ND Sending Mail to Punt, Pass, Kick Champ

Standing on the field of LP Stadium, back then called the Nashville Coliseum, home of the Tennessee Titans, seventh grader Kevin Millward was in third place of the NFL's Punt, Pass, Kick competition. With one swift boot of the ball, a straight kick of 50 yards, the Evans, Ga., product won the 2003 national championship. That day, Millward also discovered his ticket to a college scholarship.

In the present, Millward is one of the top punters in the 2008 recruiting class, drawing interest from most of the Southeastern Conference schools, Clemson and Notre Dame. With Irish punter Geoff Price wrapping up his final season this fall, head coach Charlie Weis could offer a punter in this class.

"I didn't meet anyone famous, but where we were sitting right on the field for the game right near the (Pittsburgh) Steelers locker room," Millward explained of the playoff game. "We were right next to Bill Cowher, Jerome Bettis and those big named guys."

The Punt, Pass, Kick champion label will follow Millward to whatever school he goes to. He will have options, and will probably take the one that allows him to play baseball as well.

Last season, Millward had 37 punts, averaged 41.1 yards, with 18 punts inside the 20-yard line, and a long of 65. The big stat is a net average of 39 yards. Over the last two years, Millward has punted the ball 79 times for an average of 40.28 yards. He has a net average of 38.92 yards, and has been named 4A all-state as a sophomore and junior.

"He is the real deal punting," Evans High head coach Marty Jackson said. "He booms the ball with excellent hang time."

And the 6-foot, 215-pound Millward can only work on his punting in his spare time. He is also the team's starting quarterback, completing 77-of-173 passes for over 1,000 yards with nine touchdowns and five interceptions. But colleges aren't interested in that arm, it's obviously the leg.

"That was one of my biggest problems this year," Millward stated. "The kickers are on our game field kicking every day, and I'm out running plays, throwing the ball and running the offense. The only time I get a chance to kick the ball is in team situations, like when we are working on special teams. I have to go out on my own on the weekends and practice."

The practice has paid off, but imagine what he could do as a full-time punter. Millward has proved himself next to some of the nation's best.

At the Auburn kicking camp last summer, Millward took first place. Then at the U.S. Army National Combine in San Antonio, Jan. 6-7, Millward led the punters in hang time at 4.15 seconds.

"I thought it was a real neat thing going up against kids across the country, trying to compare your talent to them," Millward said. "I thought I did alright, but I know some of the other punters down there, one was already (committed) with Maryland, and another was about to (commit) to Wisconsin."

Millward doesn't have any offers yet, but they will be coming soon enough.

"One of the Clemson coaches came down yesterday and watched me a bit at practice," Millward said. Evans High is going through spring ball right now. "Auburn sends me a lot of stuff. Georgia, I'm supposed to send a tape. Louisville, those are pretty much the main ones.

"Clemson said I was on their short list, when it comes to a decision on whether or not they are going to sign a punter this year."

Millward has a 2.8 GPA in the honors program. He has been to a couple Georgia games unofficially. Notre Dame invited him to a game last season, and sent another invitation to its first Junior Day, Jan. 27. Spring football and the drive prevented the trip.

"Watched them play quite a bit this year with Brady Quinn playing quarterback," Millward said, hoping to visit sometime. "He was one of my more favorite players coming into the year. I don't really know much about them yet."

He does know that Notre Dame has been flexible with allowing players to play both football and baseball. Obviously there is Jeff Samardzija and Evan Sharpley. Then there is freshman walk-on punter Eric Maust, who will pitch on scholarship in the spring.

Millward has been getting letters from Georgia regarding baseball, and Auburn and Clemson have already discussed the possibility of both with Millward. Last season, the third baseman batted .395 with six homeruns and over 30 RBIs. He is hoping after a big junior year, that more interest will develop. With his size, Millward expects to eventually move behind the plate and catch.

"My interest will go down, but I wouldn't slash them off the list," Millward said of a school that wouldn't let him do both.

Millward is going to try and add kicking to his repertoire. He will handle those duties for the first time this season. That will give him more to do on his free time. Right now he is struggling with consistency.

"That's one of the things I have to work on," he said. "I can get it (to the end zone), but it may be only one out of three kicks. It's hard to get the practice in when I'm practicing punting the ball. I can kick it five to seven yards deep, but the next time I'll only get it to the five-yard line. That is one of the main things I'll work on this year."

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