Inside the Class of '06: Hunter Lawrence

The 19th in a daily series of 25 interviews and photo essays on members of the Longhorn Class of '06: signee Hunter Lawrence.

Hunter Lawrence
Boerne High School
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An Inside Texas conversation with Boerne head coach Tommy Bludau on Hunter Lawrence:

IT: What are Hunter’s strengths as a football player?

Bludau: You know the thing about Hunter is that he just an exceptional kicker. No question in my 27 years of coaching he is the best that I have run across. Very confident. He set the state record when he was a junior with 20 field goals. He kicked 12 this past year and we played two less games this year too. He had an exceptional high school career, not only with the extra points and field goals where he was so valuable, but probably 70% of the time he would put (kickoffs) out of the end zone -- not in the end zone but out of the end zone -- and that was a weapon because I think the average starting field position with the offenses that we played was very minimal, maybe the 20 yard line or sometimes below, because a lot of time they would try to run them out of the end zone and we would get them inside the 10 when they tried to do that. They would become frustrated because he kicked the ball so deep, so they would start lining up a couple of yards deep in the end zone to return them and it made our cover team just that much better.

IT: From the perspective of how it helps your defense, how important is it to be able to kick the ball in to or out of the end zone?

Bludau: I don’t think there is any question. Percentages tell you that every 10 yards that an opponent returns that kickoff he has got a better chance of scoring. If you make him start on the 20 his chances are minimal as far as percentages go and the further they start up the field the better they have a chance to score. So it really puts our defense in fine shape and it sets you back in your own part of the field which is a little bit harder to make calls out of.

IT: How important was that ability to the Texas coaches?

Bludau: After seeing the Michigan game the year before when the returns by Michigan in the Rose Bowl put a lot of pressure on the Texas defense, I want to say that I think that Hunter was the first kicker recruited by Mack Brown, and they feel not that he is one of the better ones in Texas, they feel he is one of the better ones in the nation, so that is the reason why they went after him and we are happy that they did that.

IT: From talking to the coaches, is he a guy you expect to see play immediately given the kicking situation at Texas?

Bludau: I would think he has a great chance to play. I would never say you want to guarantee anything in life. I will say this that he is working a lot harder, he is a lot bigger. He came in his freshman year and he was 5-4, 155 pounds. Right now he is 6-foot, 190 pounds. He is in the weight room and he is getting stronger every day. He plays golf also. Every other day he is playing golf, he is religiously in the weight room, he kicks every other day and he is going to have a great career at Texas. He really works at it and he is an exceptional athlete as far as kicking and doing those things that make a team better.

IT: What are the things that you see that he needs to work on to reach his potential at the next level?

Bludau: Like I said, he is the best I have run across in the 27 years. I’ll say that he has a different mentality than most kickers... Hunter has a different attitude. His mental game is very, very good. He is very confident in what he does, which I think that is the way you have to be to be a successful kicker. Probably if anything is working on kicking off the ground more but he has already done that and does that at all the camps he goes to, but that is probably the biggest difference between high school and college is the one-inch tee that you can use in high school.

IT: Was Hunter a leader for you guys, and if so, how did he lead?

Bludau: Oh sure, just by the type of kid that he is. Super work habits, he would be after practice working on kicks. When he went to work on kicks he would work on all the different kicks, the on-side, the pooch kick, the deep kicks, the kick right, kick left and he was diligent in what he did. Kids have a tendency to see other kids work and it doesn’t matter if you are a kicker/punter or a linebacker, they still see an attitude toward work. That is probably what set Hunter apart, not only his natural ability of course, but his intense desire to work and get better at his position.

IT: Did he do anything else for you guys other than kick?

Bludau: No. He backed up punting. In fact he punts the ball decently well, we just had another punter. In fact we had a real good athlete that is going to the University of Texas also, the Moldenhauer kid (Russell Moldenhauer), who is going to play baseball at UT and Russell punted for us and Hunter backed him up punting. He had to punt a couple of times when Russell was down and he did a real good job at that too.

IT: What did Hunter mean to your football program?

Bludau: There is no question that he puts a different mentality into my mind when you are inside the opponent’s 40. He is definitely strong enough for 50 plus yards. He kicked a 64-65 yarder in practice. You were confident that when you got on the opponent's side of the field that you could come away with some points. If you didn’t score a touchdown you felt very comfortable kicking field goals. In the past, I will be honest with you, we have attempted 44 field goals in the last two years. I don’t know if we have attempted 44 field goals in the previous 15 years. But you never have a type kicker that can do the things that he did and like I said it added a weapon to your offensive scheme, to say the least.

IT: Did he have to kick in very many pressure situations for you?

Bludau: We beat New Braunfels in the playoffs the year before and we beat them 18 to 13. It was real close and he had four field goals in that game and he hit one that turned out to be the game winner. I don’t know how much pressure bothers the young man. Certainly the higher you get up, especially at The University of Texas, there are certainly more pressures added to that, but I think he has handled the high school scene real well and with his maturity he will handle the college scene also, and again he will certainly have the work habits to improve himself once he gets there.

IT: Is there a defining moment for you that exemplifies Hunter's ability as a football player?

Bludau: The big thing is when he was a small freshman kid we were in the playoffs -- he didn’t kick for (the varsity) his freshman year, but he was 35 for 36 in extra points on our freshman team and only kicked three field goals on our freshman team that year and we had a kid that played soccer for us and did the kicking and we were in a playoff game against San Antonio Jefferson. I told our special teams coach that Hunter probably may kick off in the second half because we had a lead at half time and we felt that we wanted to get him in the game. We had a 33-yard field goal attempt in the 3rd quarter and I just told the special teams coach to rush Hunter on and not let him think about it, but just rush him in there and let him kick it. He stepped in there as a freshman and knocked a 33-yarder down in his first playoff game. I knew we had a little bit different kid. It was in the Alamodome and the environment itself can intimidate a lot of kids, but he stepped in there and did it, and from that point on he kicked a lot more for us.

IT: How do you foresee him fitting into the environment in Austin?

Bludau: I think he handles things like that pretty well. I don’t know what his role will be. I don’t know if it will be on kickoffs, I don’t know if it will be on field goals or extra points. I think he is quite capable of doing both, but I am not exactly sure what type of kickers they have coming back. They are walk-on type kickers, because they have a lot of walk-on kickers at UT, but certainly I think he can handle both responsibilities if given the chance and I think do pretty good at those also.

IT: Is there anything you'd like to add about Hunter that we didn't already cover?

Bludau: Not a whole bunch, but just the fact that the type of worker that he is, it is nothing during the summer time to see him and his Mom out there, his Mom would be retrieving him balls and Hunter would be kicking, so that tells a little bit about the family wanting him to do well and wanting him to succeed. You don’t see too many Moms out there gathering footballs for their son. I thought that was kind of special and I kind of chuckled the other day when I was talking to somebody about that. Certainly whatever she did and the Dad did, they did a great job of raising him and we were certainly happy to have him here at Boerne High School.

UT's Signing Day bio: A two-time all-state selection … connected on 32-of-44 (.727) of his FGs and 63-of-70 PATs in his final two prep seasons … earned first-team 4A all-state by The Associated Press as a senior … named second-team 4A all-state by the Texas Sports Writers Association … earned first-team all-district 28-4A honors … converted 12-of-19 FGs and 43-of-45 PATs with a long of 49 yards … seven of his FGs were for 40 or more yards with two of the misses having been blocked … helped Boerne to a 9-3 record in 2005 … earned first-team 4A all-state by The Associated Press and the Texas Sports Writers Association as a junior … made 20-of-25 FGs and 44-of-46 PATs with a long of 48 yards as a junior … connected on four field goals during an 18-16 win over New Braunfels in the state playoffs his junior year … also a two-year letterman in golf … member of the National Honor Society … a prep honor roll student who posted a cumulative 98 GPA on a 100-point scale over four years … tabbed second-team academic all-state as a senior … earned academic all-district honors as a sophomore and junior … participated in the STARS program that assists first-grade teachers at local elementary schools … enjoys hunting and fishing and used to take regular snow skiing trips … father, Sid, played linebacker at SMU before transferring and earning his degree at UT … mother, Karen, also graduated from UT … full name is Hunter Davis Lawrence … born on June 28, 1988 in San Antonio … lived in San Antonio until age 6.

"I've always been a Texas fan. When I had the option to go there, there's nowhere else I'd really rather be. There's nowhere better than going to Texas. They have awesome facilities, from the weight room to the locker room to the bubble, it's just amazing. I'm looking forward to being able to get to Texas and use them."


Kickoff photo courtesy of Chuck Foster/Boerne ISD; Field goal photo courtesy of Russell Hawkins

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