Stanford Specialists Camp

In late June, high school football players descended on Stanford's campus, not just for the Quarterback Academy and Monday Night Ball, but also for the important Stanford Specialists Camp that featured a number of unsung kickers, punters, and snappers who may be taking the field in coming years for Stanford or other major college football programs.

In 2007, Stanford instituted a specialists camp that featured some of the top kickers and punters in the nation, including UCLA's Jeff Locke, Virginia's Jimmy Howell, current Stanford freshman Travis Golia, and USC snapper Chris Pousson. A year later, Stanford once again hosted many of the nation's top specialists at the annual Stanford Specialist Camp. While fans and recruiting analysts understandably devote their attention to top camps that feature flashier and bigger name prospects, Stanford hopes that its impressive specialists camp can become a yearly staple on the Stanford recruiting calendar and carve out a niche in the oft-overlooked but ever-important world of kickers, punters, and snappers. The 2008 Stanford Specialists Camp hosted over 70 prospects, including a number who made strong impressions.

Vince D'Amato from Lake Forest (Calif.) El Toro HS took home the award for top senior kicker at the camp. While kicking off the ground, D'Amato put on an impressive show of height and distance on all of his placekicks. Despite inconsistent rotation on some of his kickoffs, he also showed that he could consistently put a college kickoff into the end zone. D'Amato made 15 field goals as a junior last season.

Jacob Dombrowski of Gaylord (Mich.) HS also had an impressive showing as a place kicker while kicking off the ground. Dombrowski won the placekicking competition in Stanford Stadium with multiple 55+ yard field goals. The winning kick, which would have been good from 65 yards, resulted in an audible reaction from the spectators scattered throughout the stands.

Mike Loftus from Anaheim (Calif.) Servite HS proved to be the best combo kicker/punter at the camp, as he impressed while kicking off the ground, punting, and kicking off. His younger brother, Connor Loftus, a member of the 2011 class, also looks like a kicker to keep an eye on in the future.

Sean Poole of Tallahassee (Fla.) Lawton Chiles HS earned the camp honor of top punter. He showed college-level distance and hang time with his punts. More impressive, however, was his consistency, which appeared noticeably better than several of the other Division-I punting prospects at the camp.

Among the snappers, Robert Larivee of Chino Hills (Calif.) Ayala HS put on a show. His snaps appeared to zip back at a pace and consistency that seemed to catch the eye of the coaching staff. He also showed impressive ability in agility and punt coverage drills.


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