McCrane Looking Forward to Spring Game

When Matthew McCrane comes into Austin for Texas's Spring Jamboree this weekend, it will hardly be his first time on campus.

McCrane's father went to Texas, and he grew up going to Austin and attending Texas games. Last year, that process came full circle when the talented Brownwood kicker attended games as a Texas prospect at the invitation of special teams coach Major Applewhite.

And with good reason. Because last year, McCrane emerged as one of the country's top kickers, making 41-of-44 extra points, 7-of-12 field goals, including a long of 52 yards.

"I've been trying to narrow down which schools I'll be looking at," McCrane said. "I talked with Coach Applewhite about what they're looking for in my class, and they said they won't be signing a scholarship kicker in 2013, but a walk-on spot could be a possibility."

But a kicker with McCrane's ability, and with McCrane's grades, figures to get scholarship offers. He's receiving interest from Texas, TCU, Penn State, Stanford, Texas Tech and Ivy League schools Princeton and Penn. So would he pick a walk-on spot over a potential scholarship?

"It really depends on the university," McCrane said. "Is the school a fit for me? Is the coaching staff a fit for me? Is the special teams coach going to work with me individually? Because I feel like I have what it takes to succeed at the college level and move on to the NFL."

It would be silly to argue with McCrane's assessment. After transitioning to kicking off the ground, he's established great consistency from 40-yards in, and has displayed the ability to boot the longer kicks. The most impressive part? He actually didn't start kicking until the beginning of his sophomore year. McCrane started off as a quarterback his freshman year, and thought that he would have a chance to potentially play in college as a Division 1-AA or D-2 player at that position eventually.

But fate was on McCrane's side. The JV kicker was kicked off the team, and the coaching staff asked if anybody else could kick. As a soccer player, McCrane volunteered. He handled kickoffs while Dillon Ellis handled extra points. When Ellis graduated, McCrane took over the full duties.

But McCrane did his part. Not only did he prepare for his high school responsibilities, but he's also been proactive with regard to preparing for college. Not only has he transitioned to kicking off the ground, but ever since hearing of the new kickoff rule change, he's been working on the hang time on his kickoffs.

"In high school, you just want to kick it out of the back of the endzone," McCrane said. "But in college now, with the rule changes, getting hang time is such a big deal. With the penalty if you get a touchback, you need to be able to keep the ball up and give your coverage team a chance."

McCrane said he was not only familiar with the Texas program through his father, but also through the recent bevy of Brownwood players to accept scholarships to play for the Longhorns, including the Vaccaro brothers and Jaxon Shipley. But Texas isn't the only in-state school on McCrane's radar. McCrane went on a visit to Texas Tech, and said that he would be interested in hearing more from the Red Raiders.

"If I picked up an offer from Texas Tech, I would definitely have to consider it," McCrane said. "But playing at Texas, it's something I've dreamed about.

"Everything to me is about how I fit in," McCrane said. "I'm excited to see Texas again this weekend."

Horns Digest Top Stories