7 Points With Long-Snapper Aaron King

Meet Aaron King, a long-snapper from UTEP who performed at this year's Combine in Indianapolis. You didn't know that long-snappers worked out there? Well, it even came as a bit of a surprise to him. Learn more about Aaron and what it takes to be a great long-snapper in this exclusive interview.

ET: You know, I would venture a guess Aaron, that if you polled the typical NFL football fan and asked them if they thought that long-snappers even got invited to the Combine, most of them would say "nah, too specialized of a skill."

AK: Yeah, this is the second year they have invited long-snappers to the Combine. I had a couple of teammates call me about a month before the Combine and say "hey, did you get invited to the Combine yet?" And I was like, "no, long-snappers don't go." I had no idea. So I was at the Texas versus The Nation senior game and I was talking to a scout, and he said "Well, I guess I will see you at the Combine." That was the first time I heard I was going.

ET: If you didn't even know they invited long-snappers, what went through your head when you found out you were going?

AK: I was honored. I mean, it felt great. I was just really excited to get the opportunity to get in front of a lot of eyes. It's a great opportunity. You are in front of very single coach. I was just ecstatic that I had the opportunity to do it. It's a once in a lifetime thing.

ET: At the Combine, did they have you go through position drills? Help people understand what you did in front of coaches there.

AK: We worked in unison with the punters and kickers so it was basically like a normal practice for me. I just wait for the kicker to do his steps, wait for the punter to get ready and then coach gives you a ready call. So I just snapped to the punter and snapped to the holder for field goals. So it was pretty normal as far as that goes.

Aaron King hustles downfield to make a tackle (UTEP Athletics)
ET: Fans would be able to figure out on an obvious blunder where a snap is way too high or way too low that it would be the fault of a long-snapper. But how else do they go about grading and determining who is the top of their trade at the collegiate level? What kind of things do you get evaluated on?

AK: For me, when you get to this level, just about everybody can snap good. So they just look at you and your career and see how consistent you were. And then if you were consistent, they will take you and time your snaps and look at your placement on field goals and make sure that you have a tight spiral.

ET: What kind of time are you talking about when you talk about your snapping time?

AK: I think that I can consistently get an NFL football back there at about .65 seconds, .68 or about that. I am a little faster with a college ball.

ET: Is there a big difference between snapping for a punter versus a kick?

AK: Yea, it is really different. For me, I just snap it as hard as I can at the punter. I just look and snap. But the placekicker, you have to think about getting the laces out so the holder doesn't have to move the ball a lot and it's a little bit more of an accuracy and a touch thing. I don't snap it as hard and my release is a little bit different on a field goal snap than a punt.

ET: Now how do you help determine where those laces are going to land in the hands of the guy that is going to be holding?

AK: For me, when I am warming up I just snap until I feel the right release. When the holder catches the laces, I kind of just memorize that velocity and that release and just try to do the same thing over and over. It's a lot like putting. You just try and do the same motion.

Check back Friday evening for the rest of this interview with Aaron where he'll share more details about playing his position, developing his skills and something really interesting about him as a person that you should know!
A member of the Professional Football Writers of America, Ed Thompson's NFL and college football player interviews and features have been published across the Scout.com network and syndicated through FoxSports.com's NFL team pages.

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