When looking at rankings for kickers and punters, few do as well as kicking guru Chris Sailer. Sailer not only holds a number of camps to evaluate prospects, but he also scours film and has his own ranking system of the country's specialists. According to Sailer, five-star players are those likely to get FBS scholarships.
So it should come as no surprise that Ardrey Kell punter Corbin Daly had a five-star ranking before grabbing an offer from the Longhorns. And Daly, who committed just after receiving said offer, was ranked by Sailer as the No. 2 punter in the country for the class of 2014.
"He's a guy who is athletic, and he has the right frame: 6-foot-2 or 6-3 and with an extremely strong leg," Sailer said. "He should be a phenomenal punter. He has all the tools … not just what he has already, but he has the potential to get bigger and stronger with that frame, that leg and his athleticism."
That's not to say that Daly has everything all figured out before his senior season of high school starts.
"The biggest thing with Corbin, as it is for all high school players, is getting used to the speed of the college game," Sailer said. "Getting your footwork and get-off time down takes time. Tempo is something that all these kids are able to work on, to try and get better with their footwork and quicker."
Recruiting a kicker or punter can often be different from recruiting other positions, given that there are few college coaches who are experts on the craft.
"Most schools don't have specific kicking coaches," Sailers said. "So they rely on us, they look at the rankings, and we see these guys over and over again. So when they come into camp, the coaches have already done a ton of research on these guys. That means it's about which personality meshes with which college coach, and camps can really be a final decision maker. Sometimes, colleges will pull in five or six guys, and on those particular days, they get a chance to see them in person, to see how they handle themselves."
That was the case with Daly, who came into Texas camp with a chance to earn an offer. And after booming punt after punt all over the practice fields, while also displaying the ability to directional punt, Daly came away with his offer.
At Texas, Daly comes into a situation where he'll be able to specialize as a punter, with Nick Jordan looking like the kicker of the future and Nick Rose excelling on kickoffs. Sailer said that's an ideal position for a punting prospect.
"It's definitely much easier to specialize on one spot, especially at punter and kicker," Sailer said. "When you have three guys at three positions, that narrows their focus at practice. I think Texas is another place that is employing that, but just because that's the way it happened, and that's the way the pieces of the puzzle go together. For the most part, coaches want their kickoff guy to be their field goal kicker, or you can see a punter who does kickoff. Right now, we have about 9-10 kids nationally who are committed, and eight are combo players who can do other positions, and that's valuable. But Corbin's a guy who is a punter, and he's going to be able to go in there and punt, to just do what he does.
"You have seen kickers … step in and do both and be successful," Sailer said. "But I love coaches like Mack Brown giving out scholarships and specializing. The way I see it, almost ever school has a kicker, a punter and a long-snapper on scholarship. But it helps to get another one, maybe in a turnaround year, who is a fourth [who can redshirt]. You want to get kids at different ages. Schools are doing a lot better at that/"
It's unclear whether Daly will redshirt. The Longhorns do have another scholarship punting option in William Russ, though Russ has yet to see the field. Texas currently has three kickers/punters on scholarship in Jordan, Russ and Anthony Fera, while long-snapper Nate Boyer was on scholarship a year ago.
Fera is set to graduate after this year, meaning Texas could continue its string of having three scholarship kicker/punters in the program. But don't be surprised if Daly emerges as a major talent, Sailer said.
"Corbin is a special talent," Sailer said. "Obviously, he's going to go through growing pains like everybody does. But by the time it's all said and done, he's somebody that has the potential to be an all-conference type kid, an All-American type kid and an NFL type player."