Harvey Levine/FOS

Penn State Kicker Tyler Davis Taking Nothing For Granted

After a record-setting junior season that helped him earn a scholarship, the Nittany Lion specialist sees room for improvement in 2017.

Tyler Davis let it be known Tuesday that you can improve on near-perfection.

Penn State’s senior kicker, 30-for-32 on field-goal attempts in a season and a half as the regular (with both the misses having been blocked), said that for one thing, he now has a scholarship. Davis, who walked on in January 2015, was given that news by James Franklin during a meeting in the coach’s office in late December.

“You really deserve this,” Franklin told him. “You’ve earned it, and I think we all know that.”

Davis thanked him.

“No,” Franklin said. “Thank you.”

There has never been any formal announcement by the team, but that hasn’t taken anything away from the moment, or the milestone.

“That was my goal originally, to earn a scholarship playing football,” said Davis, who began his college career as a scholarship soccer player at Bradley. “But I think I have bigger goals now than that.” http://www.scout.com/college/penn-state/story/1769309-catching-up-with-t...

He would like to be part of another Big Ten championship team his final season, like to see the Lions make the College Football Playoff and win a national title. And individually he believes he can be better, even after going 22-for-24 on field goals and 62-for-62 on extra points in 2016, for 128 points.

Davis, who set a school record by making the first 18 field-goal attempts of his career, notably nailed the game-tying 40-yarder with two seconds left to tie the Minnesota game last October, a game the Lions went on to win in overtime. He also went 4-for-4 in the wind and slop at Rutgers late in the season.

He was named an all-conference first-teamer by the league’s coaches, an all-conference second-teamer by the media and presented the Vlade Award by the Columbus Touchdown Club for being the most accurate kicker in the college game.

“I’m trying to build on that last season,” he said. “That was a good season for me. But it’s always wanting more, I guess, is the way I think of it. I want to even have a better season, try to break records that I even broke this year — just always kind of pushing myself.”

Davis, whose longest field goal to date is a 42-yarder, hopes to extend his range to the point that Franklin and offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead are confident in him trying kicks as long as 55 yards. And he hopes to improve his kickoffs, even though Joey Julius most often handled those duties last year.

The short-term goal is getting comfortable with a new snapper and holder. Kyle Vasey inherits the snapper’s job from the departed Tyler Yazujian, and backup quarterback Billy Fessler and punter Blake Gillikin have been alternating at holder, Davis said.

Fessler served in that capacity in three games last season, when Chris Gulla was suspended, but everyone else is new.

“Really it’s kind of like a chain of things,” Davis said. “I need to be comfortable with my holder and the person he needs to be most comfortable with is the snapper. Our relationship is really what matters the most. We have a great snapper. We have great holders. It’s just having a great relationship, so we really trust each other.”

His assessment to date?

“I think we have a ways to go, still,” he said.

They have had, after all, just a few weeks of quality reps.

“Since spring ball started we’ve definitely made a lot of progress,” he said, “but to get where I was last year, we’re going to need to put in work all spring ball, all summer and I think we’ll definitely be ready by the season.”

Last summer he returned home to Illinois for an internship. He has no such plans this year. He might do a job shadow, he said, but for the most part he will be working on his specialty — whether at home or school.

“My focus this season,” he said, “is entirely football.”

And in improving on near-perfection.


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Tyler Davis let it be known Tuesday that you can improve on near-perfection.

Penn State’s senior kicker, 30-for-32 on field-goal attempts in a season and a half as the regular (with both the misses having been blocked), said that for one thing, he now has a scholarship. Davis, who walked on in January 2015, was given that news by James Franklin during a meeting in the coach’s office in late December.

“You really deserve this,” Franklin told him. “You’ve earned it, and I think we all know that.”

Davis thanked him.

“No,” Franklin said. “Thank you.”

There has never been any formal announcement by the team, but that hasn’t taken anything away from the moment, or the milestone.

“That was my goal originally, to earn a scholarship playing football,” said Davis, who began his college career as a scholarship soccer player at Bradley. “But I think I have bigger goals now than that.” http://www.scout.com/college/penn-state/story/1769309-catching-up-with-t...

He would like to be part of another Big Ten championship team his final season, like to see the Lions make the College Football Playoff and win a national title. And individually he believes he can be better, even after going 22-for-24 on field goals and 62-for-62 on extra points in 2016, for 128 points.

Davis, who set a school record by making the first 18 field-goal attempts of his career, notably nailed the game-tying 40-yarder with two seconds left to tie the Minnesota game last October, a game the Lions went on to win in overtime. He also went 4-for-4 in the wind and slop at Rutgers late in the season.

He was named an all-conference first-teamer by the league’s coaches, an all-conference second-teamer by the media and presented the Vlade Award by the Columbus Touchdown Club for being the most accurate kicker in the college game.

“I’m trying to build on that last season,” he said. “That was a good season for me. But it’s always wanting more, I guess, is the way I think of it. I want to even have a better season, try to break records that I even broke this year — just always kind of pushing myself.”

Davis, whose longest field goal to date is a 42-yarder, hopes to extend his range to the point that Franklin and offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead are confident in him trying kicks as long as 55 yards. And he hopes to improve his kickoffs, even though Joey Julius most often handled those duties last year.

The short-term goal is getting comfortable with a new snapper and holder. Kyle Vasey inherits the snapper’s job from the departed Tyler Yazujian, and backup quarterback Billy Fessler and punter Blake Gillikin have been alternating at holder, Davis said.

Fessler served in that capacity in three games last season, when Chris Gulla was suspended, but everyone else is new.

“Really it’s kind of like a chain of things,” Davis said. “I need to be comfortable with my holder and the person he needs to be most comfortable with is the snapper. Our relationship is really what matters the most. We have a great snapper. We have great holders. It’s just having a great relationship, so we really trust each other.”

His assessment to date?

“I think we have a ways to go, still,” he said.

They have had, after all, just a few weeks of quality reps.

“Since spring ball started we’ve definitely made a lot of progress,” he said, “but to get where I was last year, we’re going to need to put in work all spring ball, all summer and I think we’ll definitely be ready by the season.”

Last summer he returned home to Illinois for an internship. He has no such plans this year. He might do a job shadow, he said, but for the most part he will be working on his specialty — whether at home or school.

“My focus this season,” he said, “is entirely football.”

And in improving on near-perfection.

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