The Early Bucks: Sean Nuernberger

Seven Ohio State recruits in the class of 2014 have enrolled early, which sounds like the makings of a week-long series to us. With that in mind, BSB is profiling the seven players who have already arrived on campus ahead of National Signing Day, including this piece on kicker Sean Nuernberger

Sean Nuernberger
6-1, 235
Buckner (Ky.) Oldham County
Unrated K, three stars
Committed on June 11, 2013

Ohio State Bio:

Sean Nuernberger committed to the Buckeyes this summer after spending three days at the Ohio State kicking camp ... a two-time Kentucky first-team all-state kicker as chosen by the Louisville Courier-Journal, Nuernberger connected on 13 of 20 field goal tries, 21 of 23 extra points and he averaged 42.3 yards per punt as a senior at Oldham County H.S. for coach Matt Brown ... five of his field goals were blocked and his other two misses as a senior were from 54 and 56 yards ... connected on a school-record 57-yard field goal vs. Louisville Ballard ... made 7 of 12 field goals with a long of 46 yards and 29 of 32 extra points as a junior ... is the son of Michelle and Kia Nuernberger ... father played basketball for Germany in the 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympic Games after a standout career at Southern Illinois ... he led the Salukis in assists and free throw percentage for three years (1986-89) and was first-team all-Missouri Valley Conference in 1989 after leading the Salukis in scoring (16. 4 ppg) and to a 25-win season ... Sean was born in Germany.

Nuernberger's Story: For the kicker from across the Ohio River, it was a fairly open and shut recruiting case. After competing at a camp in Columbus during the summer, Nuernberger was given an offer and committed on the spot.

Of course, there was more to it than that. The camp was no ordinary kicking camp, with One on One kicking putting the camp together at OSU. Nuernberger's personal coach at the time, Dick Seitz, was involved, so there was a familiarity before the kicker even arrived at OSU.

And when the camp put the players through their paces, including a number of mental exercises to show how each could perform under stress, Nuernberger came out with the coveted offer.

"I felt like I did a good job and then I came out this morning and kicked some more in front of Coach (Kerry) Coombs," he said. "They then called me in and told me they wanted to offer me. I committed on the spot. Ohio State has always been my top school and where I've always wanted to go."

"Coach Coombs has been telling me that they needed a field goal kicker for 2014 and said that whoever did the best at camp had a great chance to earn a scholarship offer," he added. "I knew I needed to do the job to earn the spot and was confident I could get it done. In the end it all worked out and I'm excited about how it came together."

To hear Seitz tell it, though, there wasn't a big celebration because that was exactly what Nuernberger expected to do when he arrived in Columbus.

"To be honest with you, Sean expects that to happen and I expect that from my players," Seitz told BSB. "Like I told him, a lot of great things are going to happen. People are going to wonder why isn't he jumping up and down and celebrating and all that kind of stuff, but he should expect those types of things to happen with all of the work we've put in. He deserves this."

Another kicking instructor with One on One, Mike McCabe, broke down at the time what makes the Kentucky native such a good prospect.

"What these coaches are looking for are consistency, power and a player," said McCabe, who kicked under Meyer at Illinois State in the late 1980s. "There were a lot of great kickers that were at that camp that we saw that we thought could play anywhere, but he stood out. When you play in a windy stadium like Ohio State's, you have to have that power and that slow rotation on that ball. He has that."

In the end, with Nuernberger and Ohio State, it was a match that simply could not be beaten.

"I've been a big fan of them for a while," he said. "It is just the way Ohio State football is. The staff and players put everything forth to win. They went undefeated again last year so they are a school at the top. I want to go into pre-med and Ohio State is great for that. It definitely helped put them up there for me. No other program in the country could match them."

Early Impact: The Buckeyes will obviously have a hole at the placekicking spot with the graduation of the dependable Drew Basil, and one has to think Nuernberger will be in the mix. The job won't just be handed to him, though, as senior walk-on Kyle Clinton has solid credentials as well after doing kickoffs for Ohio University in 2010 and at times for the Buckeyes the past few years in blowouts. Word is Clinton has solid bona fides, so Nuernberger must perform well to take over. Freshman kickers don't always fare well in the transition from high school to college, either, but coming in early and competing in spring will give Nuernberger more time to adjust, a definite benefit of his enrollment.

Expert Take: "To be a good kicker you have to be consistent in what you're doing and you have to be able to do it without thinking right in the spur of the moment. I think that's one of the things Sean showed the coaches because they had some very, very good kickers at the camp. They had at least 20 guys that will play Division I ball and what Sean had over the other guys was the mental part of it. He was very disciplined about doing his job.

"I think once they learn to kick and punt, the rest of it is all mental. I do much more than I am sure most other camps do with the mental part of it, and that's what impressed the coaches at Ohio State more than anything else. They saw that that nothing shook up this kid. He just went out and did his job and he didn't pay attention to anything else or any other players, kickers, etc. He focused on his job and that's it." – Seitz

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