Posted in April, it shows Chrisman and his family sitting at the bottom of the ocean while dozens of sharks glide over and around them. At one point, Chrisman said, he stuck out his hand and touched one.
“We went on vacation to The Bahamas during spring break,” he said. “We usually go scuba diving every vacation, and I guess this year normal fish weren’t entertaining enough. We had to step it up to sharks.
“Nothing is too scary now.”
Chrisman, a three-star punter who committed to Ohio State on May 5, is ranked by Kohl’s Kicking Camps as the nation’s No. 1 punter in the class of 2016. How he got there, though, is rather improbable. Chrisman (6-3, 190) began his high school career as a quarterback, but Tommy John surgery during his freshman year put an end to his throwing days.
He began working on his punting while rehabbing his injury, and he took the field for the Lancers in 2013 having gleaned most of his information from YouTube.
“My whole sophomore season, I was just punting from Ray Guy videos,” he said. “I was watching videos and trying to use his form.”
That didn’t mean he couldn’t boom it, though. Nate Moore, who coached La Salle to a state title in 2014 before leaving to coach Massillon (Ohio) Washington, said that Chrisman was unlike any punter he’d ever encountered.
“He kicks the crap out of the ball,” Moore said. “He’s a great punter. When you’re around a guy like that that has that type of talent and skill set, it just looks different the way he kicks a ball. When he makes contact, you can almost feel it in your chest. It’s very different than your average punter. He has a cannon for a leg.
“I remember the Moeller game his sophomore year, he had like a 65-yard punt during his sophomore year. I realized around then that he was different, and then when he was a junior it became very obvious that he’s an elite, elite punter.”
His improvement came at least in part because of a chance meeting in the summer of 2014. Chrisman was at a field getting ready to punt when he met Dick Seitz, a coach with One On One Kicking who counts current Buckeye kicker Sean Nuernberger as one of his pupils.
“This kid comes down with a bag of balls and starts changing into cleats,” Seitz said. “I asked if he was there to work with me and he said no.”
Seitz watched him kick some punts that sailed 40-50 yards and told Chrisman that he could add another 10-15 yards to his kicks with some hard work. He helped Chrisman go from kicking line drives to delivering punts that opposing teams found difficult to return. As he progressed, he began testing himself against other punters.
“The first time I met Coach he told me I had a D-1 body and that if I put all my effort into this whole thing that I could be D-1,” Chrisman said. “I never really knew where I stacked up against other people. I was invited to a Kohl’s Camp in Chicago and saw how I stacked up against people and got invited down to Florida for their underclassman challenge. It was pretty surprising to see where I stood compared to everyone else.”
At the Chicago camp on Dec. 20, 2014, Chrisman came away with the top score after averaging 52.56 yards and 4.13 seconds of hang time over the course of nine kicks. Eight of the nine went further than 50 yards. He produced the same result at the National Underclassman Challenge in Tampa, Fla., Jan. 2-3. Over the course of two sessions, he finished first in the field by averaging 51.28 yards of distance and 4.28 seconds of hang time.
It was an enjoyable experience for Chrisman, especially because he got to compete with others head-to-head. It was a departure from the normal in-game experience, where a punter’s role is different than that of a wide receiver going up against a cornerback or a lineman facing off against a charging defensive end.
“I love to compete. I played sports throughout my whole life and I always end up doing better when I’ve got that extra adrenalin,” Chrisman said. “I love being in competitive situations because I think it makes me a better punter.”
Although he was getting offers from some big-time schools – including Florida State, UCLA and BYU, Chrisman wasn’t necessarily expecting the Buckeyes to offer because current punter Cameron Johnston still has two years of eligibility left.
The offer came on a visit in late March on a visit to Columbus. After speaking with cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs, who handles special teams duties for the Buckeyes, Chrisman visited Meyer’s office and received a scholarship offer.
“It was definitely surprising,” he said. “This whole thing is surprising. It’s surprising to see them win the national championship and then go to a camp and have them tell you they want you to play for them. It’s a blessing.”