Morstead attracting honors and scouts

It all made perfect sense. Not long after SMU dispersed into offensive and defensive units the man wearing a Miami Dolphins cap and shirt headed to the opposite side of Pettus Practice field where the offense was beginning its drills. He was, instead, trying to grab pre-season All-Conference USA punter Thomas Morstead for a kicking session and interview.

It all made perfect sense. Not long after SMU dispersed into offensive and defensive units the man wearing a Miami Dolphins cap and shirt headed to the opposite side of Pettus Practice field where the offense was beginning its drills.

Yet the NFL scout was not trying to get a glimpse of the Mustangs' leading returning passer Justin Willis or leading returning receiver Emmanuel Sanders.

He was, instead, trying to grab pre-season All-Conference USA punter Thomas Morstead for a kicking session and interview.

The senior, who said he has had many informal conversations with NFL scouts, told PonyStampede.com Tuesday that this was his first formal interview. "It was good," he said. "Everything he asked me—my major, my GPA, and all the things I need to take care of—he was impressed with."

It is a wonder the scout did not look for Morstead in the defensive line drills. The punter is an imposing 6-foot-5, 220 pounds after losing 17 pounds this summer.

Morstead, however, is not your average punter.

The senior trains in the first half of the summer for strength and diets in the second half of the summer while practicing kicking on an increased basis. And it is the second half of the summer that causes him to use the most discipline. "I love to lift—I'd never done it in high school," he said. "As soon as I started to lift when I got here I noticed I started kicking the ball further right away. So, I've become addicted to it almost.

"I have to consciously pull myself back."

All of his hard work has paid off as Morstead, who owns the third best net punt average in school history, led Conference USA last season with a 44.6 punt average, including a 72 yarder against North Texas.

Yet the senior, despite expecting to punt in the NFL, hopes to improve on the overlooked part of his game—kicking.

Morstead has handled field goal duties in addition to punting the last two years and hopes to kick off for the team this year. His career long field goal is 52 yet he still sees room for improvement. "Field goals are kind of a hobby for me," he said. "Last year, I made a lot of long field goals, but I missed a lot of short ones.

"If I can get more consistent, I know I've got the leg to be very good at kicking as well."

And that will only keep the scouts coming.


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