Position-by-Position Analysis: Special Teams

Ben Grogan was outstanding during the 2015 season as he was 16 of 20 on field goal attempts, including game-winning kicks against Texas and Kansas State, but he may face some competition this season.

This is a feature we did post spring back in the days of Go Pokes Magazine. We would list every single player on the roster, including walk-ons, and give you a short synopsis of where they fit in on the team and what the possibilities are for them in making significant contributions in the upcoming season.

We will do these by position groups and again. Remember, it is just our observations and opinions, based on what we have seen and what we have heard from everybody from head coach Mike Gundy through the coordinators, position coaches, and graduate assistants and support personnel.

We will start with the specialists. Oklahoma State has a new graduate assistant that is coordinating special teams and realizing that they only work on certain units and facets of special teams in the spring this is more superficial. Special teams will get much more extensive work in fall camp.

Kicker

19 Ben Grogan, 6-1, 190, Sr., Arlington (Martin), Texas
Grogan missed all of the spring following the same hip surgery on his plant side as he had on his kicking side before last season. It should help. Grogan has been really good with a combined 49-of-66 on field goals over the past three seasons, including 16-of-20 last season including two game winners at Texas and at home against Kansas State. His range is really 50 yards and in, but I believe he is hoping that range increases with the latest hip surgery. The only knock on Grogan is he has experienced short funks during each of his seasons, maybe a game or two where he struggles. It hasn't cost Oklahoma State as of yet but there is more depth at kicker now than there has ever been, so a funk could see someone else stepping in to kick.

45 Matt Ammendola, 5-9, 195, RS-Fr., Lansdale (North Penn), Pa.
Ammendola stepped up in the spring and got better every day. In the spring game he was a star hitting the 50-, 40-, and 32-yard field goals, each going right down the middle. The 50-yard kick would have been good from 65 yards as it was drilled. He also put his kickoff deep in the end zone, nine yards back. Gundy may have found his kickoff specialist and Ben Grogan has competition. Ammendola may set the Cowboys up well at kicker for the next four years.

Punter

29 Zach Sinor, 5-10, 215, RS-So., Castroville (Medina Valley), Texas
Last season, his first as a starter, he had 75 punts for a 40.1-yard average. That's okay, but then you see he put 31 of those punts down inside the 20, that is spectacular. He also only kicked three touchbacks and as opposed to kickoffs, that is a good thing with punts. He has some good competition and that will push him. He is very solid.

59 Matt Hockett, 6-2, 215, RS-So., Norman, Okla.
Extra valuable as he is both a kicker and a punter. Hockett is dependable and is getting better all the time at punter. In the spring and the spring game he matched Sinor punt for punt. He is also in contention for the kickoff specialist job that Gundy is searching for.

Long Snapper

61 Kaleb Smith, 6-2, 260, RS-Jr., Fort Worth (All Saints Episcopal), Texas
He has experience with both snaps and was the starter on short snaps (PAT/FG) until last season when Josh Elias took that over. He needs to get back his consistency and he likely could handle one or both of the snapping duties.

63 Sam Walkingstick, 5-11, 200, RS-Fr., Sallisaw, Okla.
Excellent talent that walked on and worked on his craft all last season. He just needs to prove he can be consistent in the games at this level. He is plenty strong and quick enough on both snapping chores, punts and PAT/FG.


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