There are not many hotter topics circulating through the state of Alabama over the past few days than the topic of field goal kickers. The Crimson Tide nation is very familiar with the four missed field goals this past weekend that most likely ended their chances for their second national championship in three seasons.
There was a time that kickers were not even scholarship players. However, those days are long gone and now any team that is going to be competitive must bring in an elite kicker.
Earlier this week, I released my first recruiting profile of a current Alabama verbal commit. I am currently going through every SEC commit, one team at a time. However, I decided to skip ahead and do one on another current Alabama commit.
I received several message yesterday asking when I would release the profile of current place kicker Adam Griffith, who made a verbal commitment to Alabama back in January.
It is hard to believe that one of the most important recruits that will arrive on campus next summer will be 5'9" and 165 pounds, but this could be the case in Griffith.
Scout rates Griffith as the No. 1 kicker in the nation, Rivals No. 2 and ESPN No 7.
Chris Sailor of scout.com stated the following about Griffith:
Adam may be the most talented kicker that I have ever seen. He has big time leg and hits an absolutely huge ball. His field goals come off his foot like a rocket. His kickoffs are tops in the nation. Adam hit one wind-aided kickoff 90 plus yards with 4.40 second hang time. No one can match his talent.
Will Andy Griffith be the next great Alabama kicker?
Sailor is an expert on kickers and those are high praises. While I am not willing to say Griffith will soon be the nation’s best place kicker, after watching game film I do see the potential.
Scouting a kicker is one of the simplest process to do but one of the hardest positions to gauge future success. A great field goal kicker has the visible attributes of flexibility, leg speed, balance, coordination and consistency.
However, there are the mental attributes that you just cannot see. How will they respond if they miss a few field goals that they should make? How will they respond to a clutch kick with 90,000 people screaming? These kinds of results are just guesses. We will not know until that player actually faces those experiences.
With kickers you do not have to watch the whole game, just the kickoffs, extra points and field goal attempts. As I viewed the highlight from Griffith and looked for the five attributes I mentioned above, he scored high on each one.
The ball explodes off his foot and his leg speed is second only to Marshall Morgan out of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. When he kicks the ball he transfers his leg strength into a quick, explosive force. He does not kick a perfect ball every time, but when he does, it is the best in the nation.
He has great coordination and hits a clean football each time. Perhaps the most important quality he has is consistency in his motion. This is what makes a kicker reliable is complete repetitive motion. His leg strength matched with his consistent motion could make him an elite kicker for years to come.
The one thing he needs to improve in order to become a complete kicker is his follow through. Sometimes he leads it a little short. However, his short is superior to most peoples' max.
It is obvious he has the tools to come in and win the place kicking position as a freshman.Jimmy McMurrey has written a great article on where that leaves the two remaining kickers. Alabama is not going to want to keep two players scholarships tied up since he can get both of their talents in Griffith alone. Nick Saban might keep one of the two current kickers on scholarship, but no way will he keep both.
From a talent level, Griffith should end up as one of the top-three kickers in the country by his senior season. He seems to have the mental preparation but you just never know. Look at current Georgia Bulldog kicker Blair Walsh. Walsh was one of the top kickers in the nation the last two seasons, hitting 40 of 45 attempts. However, he has lost his confidence and is 13-of-23.
Alabama fans should not get over excited by his ranking. Remember, Cade Foster was ranked the No. 3 kicker in the nation by Scout coming out of high school. With that said, If Griffith works on his follow through, Alabama’s days of kicking mourning will be over.