Big Shoes To Fill

Many kickers wouldn't want to have to come into a situation where they had to replace a first team All-American and Lou Groza finalist. For new Southern Miss kicker Corey Acosta, however, the challenge is something he both welcomes and embraces. He gives an update to his summer and talks about his expectations for the new season with

In Danny Hrapmann leaving because of graduation and taking on a career in the NFL, the Golden Eagles are losing both a Lou Groza finalist and first team All-American.

Enter Corey Acosta. The highly touted prospect signed with Southern Miss out of Christian Brothers High School in Memphis, and has never stopped working for his opportunity since he arrived on campus.

He's doing everything in his power to show Eagle fans that the reliable kicking they've come to expect will continue and then some.

A trip to the midwest this summer has been just what Acosta has needed to take advantage of his opportunity this season.

"I have been in Kansas City this summer working with James Wilhoit who was a kicker at Tennessee, in fact he is the 2nd all time leading scorer there," he said in an interview with

"We've been training together since my sophomore year of High School and he's a guy I really trust and is a good friend of mine. We went out and kicked together almost every day we were there, and we worked on a lot of technique things and he helped me in getting a wider plant foot and really finishing through the ball.

"It really was just about working on consistency and that was the main thing. I worked on kick-offs and getting the ball down the field. We took video every day, and I took notes each day on what he was telling me."

Acosta has had to adjust to new special team's coaches almost every season since he has been a Golden Eagle, and this season is no different. When Coach Judge took an opportunity to the NFL, it opened the door for new coach Garrett Chachere.

"We are not allowed to work with them this summer, but he got in and we all had a meeting with him and basically he wanted to get to know us and asked some questions about us," he said. "But, we haven't been able to do anything with him yet.

"Once we got back our coaches went on their camp circuit, so this week we'll be able to talk more when I get back to Hattiesburg. I'm really looking forward to working with him this fall, though."

Acosta had a solid spring and said his time working with close friend Danny Hrapmann was a great start to his career.

"Competition always makes you better, and I was fortunate enough to have the best competition in the nation with me," he said. "He's a great kicker, really good guy, and I learned a lot from him about how to handle myself in a game and off the field.

"Also, he was a really good friend, and now that he is in the NFL he has talked me through the process. I asked him, 'man how did you get there?' He's helped me along there because that is where I want to be."

Acosta made sure that Hrapmann earned his spot the past two years.

"Even though he was arguably the best kicker in the nation, I got to kick against him and every day I tried to push him as hard as I could," he said. "I didn't just sit back and let him have the job, and because of that competition I think I was able to walk into the Louisiana Tech game and nail those field goals.

"Kicking in the game was no more pressure than we put on ourselves in practice. That is the way that I approach it."

Acosta says he plans to go back to Hattiesburg and will be running and working out with his teammates. He reports that summer work-outs are going great for his team.

"We are working hard," he said. "If you can get all the guys working together as a team that is half the battle right there. Physically we'll be fine. Now that I'm back I'm able to be a part of the team.

"I don't like being off on my own like some kickers. I want them to know I am right there with them and I'm going to be dependable like I expect them to be for me."

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