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Kicking World Blog

2020 Kicking World National Showcase Recap

by Kicking World owner Brent Grablachoff
kicking world showcase

The 2020 Kicking World Invite-Only National Showcase took place on December 5-6, 2020 at Hyde Park HS in Austin, TX. 87 kickers & punters from 30 states...

2020 National Showcase (Day 2) Overall Champions
Robert Gunn III (KO and P) and Nick Hernandez (FG)

The seventh installment of the Kicking World National Showcase was our biggest and most talented event ever to take place in our 13-year camp history. Considering the number of participants and the need for a very thorough logistics process and having to overcome several Coronavirus hurdles, the staff and all involved did a tremendous job of keeping everything running smoothly. We’re very thankful for the host site and all of our coaches, staff, videographers, photographers, live broadcast crew, campers, and their families/friends for supporting us, and putting their trust in us with their student-athletes, and for making the commitment to join Kicking World for the big weekend.

This year 87 participants from 30 states made the journey to Austin, Texas for the annual invite-only National Showcase event! The weekend’s festivities took place at Hyde Park HS, minutes from our state’s Capitol near downtown Austin. These 87 young men were among a select group of only 120 students hand-picked to earn an invitation based on their performances amongst the over 1,200 students we evaluated during the 2020 camp season, putting them in the top ~10% of HS kickers and punters from across the country. Close to 100 of the 120 chosen accepted their invites, but with travel restrictions, injuries, and state playoffs, the final attendance was 87, a very healthy ratio of 73% attending from those invited.

Our annual event is a pivotal opportunity for elite high school specialists to not only make an impact on the camp staff and receive referrals & recommendations based on their performance throughout the weekend but also garner the attention of college football coaches through the YouTube Live Broadcast. Close to 2,000 live viewers tuned in to the event and there were over 3,000 total views within 48 hours after the event. Talk about exposure! Multiple campers sent me messages later that night saying specific college coaches watched their performance and reached out via text or Twitter saying how impressed they were.

Just 2 days after the event a D1 offer (PWO) has already been earned by the Day 2 Overall Field Goal winner, and a second D1 offer (PWO) was landed a day later by another senior who landed in the Top 5 for multiple events this weekend. Another couple of students have received NAIA (scholarship) offers as well. We expect many more offers to soon follow for various participants. I’ve had a couple of dozen promising conversations via phone, text, Twitter DMs, and email with college coaches at all levels who are keen on making a move on a few campers from this event. Stay tuned on our social media pages – @KickingWorld for updates on any new offers!

In this Showcase Recap article, I will highlight the top performers from both days and introduce to you the newest Hot Prospects joining our comprehensive List of the top prep kickers & punters in the nation. College coaches utilize our Hot Prospect List as an efficient and reliable source for their specialist recruiting efforts which makes up our top ~3-5% of students nationwide.

kicking world showcase 20202020 National Showcase Team Photo

DAY 1 CHARTING COMPETITIONS

Kickoff Charting

The Day 1 Kickoff Charting competition saw some of the biggest hang times ever recorded at our camps shared across so many participants in just one day. HS Junior Will Stone (2022 – TX) put up big hang time numbers to combat the dense air and chilly weather where the balls weren’t traveling as far as normal. He crushed a Big Ball of 64 yards / 4.22 seconds and put together an impressive hang time average of 3.98 seconds across his 5 charted kicks. The junior looked sharp all weekend, particularly on kickoffs.

Seven of the Top 10 and Eighteen of the Top 25 participants on Day 1 KO Charting were already on the Hot Prospect List entering the weekend. Three from the Top 25 Day 1 Kickoff Charting were added to the List after their weekend performances.

Top 10 Kickoffs (Day 1):

HS Sophomore David Perez from Washington looked red hot on kickoffs on Day 1. He strung together his 3 best hang times of 4.00, 3.94, and 3.94 seconds. Extremely impressive hangs for any HS kicker, especially for a sophomore. Sophomore Maxx Lawton from Virginia was the only participant on Day 1 (besides the Overall Winner) to hit 3 of his batch of 5 kickoffs over 4.0 seconds (4.06, 4.12, 4.15). Without his one mishit that dropped him to 10th overall, Maxx would have finished near the top 5. Junior Buck Buchanan who had 2 mishits dropping him to 17th overall, had the highest recorded distance (70 yards) for Day 1 Kickoff Charting with an impressive matching hang time of 4.09 seconds. Oscar Ayala, a senior from Oklahoma finished the day with the 2nd highest hang time average with a very impressive 3.94 seconds, with 2 kicks over 4.0 seconds. Senior Enda Kirby from Archbishop Stepinac HS (New York) slipped out of the Top 10, finishing #14 overall due to one mishit that completely skewed his average. He had the 2nd further kick of the day and was consistently hitting hang times in the high 3.9 seconds range.

See how every participant placed on Day 1’s Kickoff Charting results.

will stone texasDay 1 Overall Kickoff Winner (Will Stone – 2022 Texas)

Punt Charting

Day 1’s Overall Punt winner put up big numbers that separated him from the pack. Class of 2021 K/P Joshua Condit of Smithfield HS (Virginia) recorded a Day 1 best average hang time of 4.24 seconds and a Best Ball of 46 yards / 4.48 seconds. The HS Senior had an impressive performance at our October 25 Charlotte, NC event where he was a perfect 9/9 on FGs finishing on the 60+ club for this year’s leaderboard joining only 5 other students who won a FG event with a 60+ yarder this season. If Josh can lock in his overall consistency for punt and field goals like he did on Day 1 punts he will make for a solid college Punt/FG recruit.

Top 10 Punters (Day 1):

  • Joshua Condit (2021 – Virginia) winner
  • Max Gonos (2021 – Michigan)
  • Rikardo Zimmerman (2021 – Alabama)
  • Andrew Cunningham (2021 – Texas)
  • Connor Mantelli (2021 – Colorado)
  • Will Stone (2022 – Texas)
  • Robert Gunn III (2022 – Florida)
  • Marshal Du Kett (2021 – Texas)
  • Jared Tisdale (2021 – Louisiana)
  • Jalen Dickerson (2021 – Colorado)

Max Gonos, the senior from Pinckney Community HS (Michigan) led Day 1 for average distance and finished the event placed #2 Overall. He didn’t break a 4.0 hang time but was hitting the ball a good way throughout the day. Andrew Cunningham a senior from (Wylie HS, TX) didn’t hit any monster punts but instead showed consistency stringing along 5 punts with reputable distance/hang times that put him at #4 Overall on Day 1 (and the same spot on Day 2 too).

See how each participant placed on Day 1 – Punt Charting results.

showcase punting competition
Day 1 Overall Punt Winner (Joshua Condit – 2021 Virginia)

Field Goal Charting

Class of 2022 Junior Kicker/Punter Cameron Pope (Eastmont HS, Washington) completed the Day 1 ‘FG circuit’ perfectly, making all of his kicks from 30L, 30R, 35L, 35R, 40M, 45M, and 50M; thus earning him bonus kicks in 5 yard increments until a winner could be determined. Cameron drilled the 55M too and the remaining 5 participants missed theirs so he was the last man standing and secured the win. He also drilled a 55 yarder on Day 2 but was eliminated at a very respectable 60 yards. At our July 2020 Seattle camp Cameron missed his first FG then went a perfect 7 out of 7 from 35R through 55 yards. He finished runner-up overall in that event. His strong suit is field goals and he’s earned a spot on our Hot Prospect List after his last 2 very solid field goal showings.

We had a 5-Way tie for FG runner-up with these young men who made perfect kicks through 50 yards but missed their 55 yarder. These guys all hail from a different state! Here’s the Day 1 FG ‘final 6’:

See how each participant placed on Day 1 – Field Goal Charting results

kicking competition field goalsDay 1 Overall FG Winner (Cameron Pope – 2022 Washington)

field goal competition kickingworld

Sponsors/Donations – Thank You

Thanks to long-time KW student and current Miami Dolphins Kicker Jason Sanders for donating a signed jersey for one of the awesome grand prizes for the Overall Winners. Thank you Mike & Todd at Wizard Sports for the several Wizard Kicking Stix & new college logo football prize donations and for supporting our camps for over 13 years now. Thanks to our partner Under Armour for supplying all the camp uniforms again. The other 2 awesome grand prizes – DJI Mini Drone and the Apple watch are from Kicking World! Special shout out to SHN Sports for the phenomenal job on the Live Broadcast (Watch the Live replay).

(Day 1) Overall Winners – L to R: Joshua Condit (P) & Cameron Pope (FG)

kicking camp prizesAwards Table Loaded with awesome Prizes for Competition Winners!

DAY 2 ELIMINATION COMPETITIONS

Kickoff Elimination

The last two years’ Day 2 Overall Kickoff Elimination winners are now true freshmen at D1 SEC schools. Jared Zirkel (Georgia) hit a winning kick of 68 yards / 3.76 seconds and a best ball of 74 yards / 4.0 seconds in the 2018 event. Last year, Vito Calvaruso (Arkansas) hit a winning kick & best ball of 80 yards / 4.0 seconds in our 2019 event. During that same 2019 Kickoff Elimination, this year’s winner – Robert Gunn III (2022 – FL) finished #3 overall amongst the #1 (Arkansas), #2 (UTEP), and #4 (North Dakota St) participants who are all current freshmen at those aforementioned D1 College football programs. This year Robert set a new Showcase record for the best-recorded kickoff ball of 83 yards / 4.13 seconds. His winning kick in the Best Ball final round was 77 yards / 4.03 seconds. He also connected on a 78 yard / 4.30 second hang time bomb earlier in the competition. After seeing the monster legs of Jared and Vito over the last couple of years, the staff wasn’t sure if anyone would top it, but sure enough, for the 2nd consecutive year, we have a new National Showcase kickoff best ball record!

In the Best Ball final round, there were only 5 participants remaining: Robert Gunn III, Will Stone (2022 – TX), Maxx Lawton (2023 – TX), Jack Meyer (2021 – WI), and CJ Kolodziey (2021 – MA). Will while hitting the same hang (4.03) as Robert, his distance was 2 yards shorter. Maxx Lawton finished up #3 overall with an amazing sophomore class performance both days; hitting his best kickoff in the final round BB going 65 yards with a whopping 4.28 seconds of hang time! Jack, who finished #4 overall had a final round BB of 73 yards / 3.80 seconds and his best kick of the entire competition was 74 yards / 3.97 seconds. CJ, while his entire competition distance/hang-time average technically fell out of the top 10, he was able to outlast 79 other participants to make it to the final round to join the above 4 participants, finishing #5 overall.

Here’s your Top 10 for Day 2 Kickoff Eliminations:

Day 2 kickoffs as a whole were without a doubt the best we’ve ever seen. Just so many big legs this weekend! At least half of the Top 10 kickoff performers are legitimate D1 college recruits. It was cool to see 9 different states represented in Day 2’s Kickoff Elim Top 10!

See how each participant placed on Day 2 – Kickoff Elimination results

kickoff competition national showcase 2020Day 2 Overall Kickoff Champion (Robert Gunn III – 2022 Florida)

Punt Elimination

Two Hot Prospects really pulled ahead on Day 2 Punts. Robert Gunn III took the Overall win with an excellent punt average of 48 yards / 4.13 seconds and a monstrous Best Ball of 53 yards / 4.69 seconds. Gunn also won this year’s Day 2 Kickoff Eliminations, and last year won Day 1’s FG and Punt Charting. This kid is on fire and deserves to be at the top of any FBS college team’s Class of 2022 recruiting board. Right behind Robert finishing Runner-up Overall and only a freshman is Class of 2024 Punter Martin Connington from Bishop Kelly HS in Idaho.

Martin earned a spot on our List after a super solid punting exhibition at our July 2020 Seattle camp. He followed that up with compelling film homework over the last few months. He proved this weekend why he deserves a spot on the Hot Prospect List. He’s still very young and has a lot of growth/maturing to do, but based on where he is now as only a 14 year old, we anticipate him to be one of the top punters in the country in the next year or two. Just a very exciting performance this weekend with his punting, and to handle the pressure as a freshman like that really wowed everyone in attendance. Martin (and fellow camper Eli Jolly) are the first-ever Showcase participants from the State of Idaho!

While Robert and Martin entered a face-off Best Ball in Round 6 to determine the camp’s Day 2 Overall Winner, four Class of 2021 punters re-punted in the 5th Round in a Best Ball format to declare a Senior year winner:

HS Senior Jalen Dickerson (Colorado) hit the biggest punt of Day 2 with a whopping 60 yards / 4.74 seconds. He really connected on several punts throughout the weekend. If he can fine-tune his punting mechanics, and add more consistency on kickoffs (perhaps not trying to crush everyone to ensure more accuracy) he could easily be someone that plays at the D1 level, based on leg strength alone… lots of potential! Another senior, Andrew Cunningham (Wylie HS, TX) quietly put together the most consistent 2-day spread of punting across this year’s Showcase. He finished #4 Overall each day; not by hitting any monsters to carry his average, but by striking a more harmonious balance of distance/hang time to keep him near the top each day. Based on this weekend and recent performances Andrew earned a spot on our list and is slated as a D3 level punter/field goal specialist that could move up to D2 with a little more distance/hang time ability and stronger kickoffs. Some other Day 2 punters showing solid ability were Ewan Johnson (2021 – TN), Marshal Du Kett (2021 – TX), Buck Buchanan (2022 – TX), Camren Stein (2022 – NJ), and Will Stone (2022 – TX).

Day 2 Elimination Significance

What makes Day 2 Kickoff & Punt Wins so impressive is the nature of how the Elimination competitions work. On Day 1, students get a chance to kick off 5 balls mostly in a row and later punt 5 balls mostly in a row. On Day 2 however, students get 2 attempts to reach a minimum distance/hang time metric, and if they meet it, they might not kick or punt again for 20-30 minutes later in the early rounds. Not until most of the field is eliminated will they get to string a few kickoffs or punts in a row. Participants finishing at/near the Top on Day 2 means they had the wherewithal, focus, and consistency to outlast 80+ students over a nearly 2-hour battle! This is so important to convey to college recruiting coaches & special teams coaches as our camps closely mimic an actual in-game environment where kicks and punts may be quarters apart.

Not allowing participants the chance to ‘get in a rhythm’ and by adding in the extra element of pressure of others around them it really helps to simulate the in-game experience where your team is relying on you. While our KO & P competitions are typically only like this at Showcase events, our field goal competitions take on this format at every KW camp. Another very important point to note is that at every National Showcase we use brand new footballs… students don’t get a chance to work in the ball which keeps the competitions and statistics equitable for all. Do note – on Day 1 of this year’s event due to the light drizzle we did allow the students to use a combination of new and lightly worked in balls, but for the entire duration of Day 2, only new balls were used.

See how each participant placed on Day 2 – Punt Elimination results

punt competition punting campDay 2 Overall Punt Champion (Robert Gunn III – 2022 Florida)

Field Goal Elimination

The grand finale of our National Showcase – the double-elimination field goal competition is always nail-biting, and this year was no exception. Starting at 35 yards the participants take kicks at each hash and do it again at 40 yards before proceeding to 45 yards middle and continuing in 5 yard increments down the middle until one man is left standing. This year at the 55 yard mark there were still 37 kickers alive. We even had 5 students make it to 65, with the longest made kick being 60 yards (Nick & Dax).

Nick Hernandez, a senior and long-time KW camper from San Antonio, TX, for the second time this camp season went perfect through 60 yards on field goals. At our Austin June 2020 camp, he bested nearly 40 students making consecutive kicks from 30L, 30R, 35L, 35R, 40M, 45M, 50M, 55M, 60M (a perfect 9/9). And on Day 2 of this year’s Showcase (where we start from 35 yards, not 30 yards like our regular-season camps) he did it again, but from 35L, 35R, 40L, 40R, 45M, 50M, 55M, 60M (a perfect 8/8), which is really remarkable. His first/only miss on Sunday came from 65 yards which is where the remaining participants recorded their 2nd miss, thus eliminating them. Nick pulled in a D1 PWO offer less than 48 hours after this year’s event where the coach saw the Live Broadcast and was thoroughly impressed after having already been following his solid senior year in-game performance. If Nick can match his field goal prowess on kickoffs (consistency) he should make for a dynamite 4-year starter somewhere.

Runner-Up Overall (4-way tie) goes to Connor Mantelli (2021 CO), Jacob Deinla (2022 CA), Adrian Zamudio (2022 TX), and Dax Iverson (2023 UT) who all made their 55 yarders, and Dax also connected on his 60 yard attempt! All 4 of these guys had an impressive long streak of 7 consecutive kicks during the double-elimination event. Dax, the big-legged sophomore also put together a perfect 7/7 streak on Day 1 where he finished in a 5-way tie for Runner-up overall on charting day.

There were so many solid kickers across the entire Showcase this weekend. What’s really neat is how so many different states were represented in the Top 10!

Here are the final 5 students left standing (all Hot Prospects) in the FG Elimination Competition (also pictured below):

See how each participant placed on Day 2 – Field Goal Elimination results

brent grablachoff kickingworldDay 2 Field Goal Eliminations (last 5 standing – L to R: Dax, Jacob, Adrian, Connor, Nick)

field goal competition kicking showcaseDay 2 Overall FG Champion (Nick Hernandez – 2021 Texas)

New Hot Prospects

Congrats to these 5 young men who earned spots on the Kicking World Hot Prospect List based on their performances at the 2020 National Showcase:

Class of 2021

Class of 2022

Class of 2023

There were an additional 6 students who showed solid ability throughout the weekend but may need to improve their overall consistency or add more distance, hang time, optimize a form/technique component, etc. Those select participants will receive ‘homework’ in form of a video challenge of recording and submitting multiple consecutive kicks/punts for review and have the opportunity to potentially be considered for a spot on the list!


2020 National Showcase Compilation Video


2020 National Showcase LIVE Replay

Top Performers

With nearly 90 participants at this year’s Showcase, there were a few heavy-hitters who deserve to be highlighted. This should not take away from all the other performances and participants as there were incredible efforts all weekend long and we’re proud of everyone. Throughout the weekend the entire staff concurred on the following students as having above and beyond performances and natural ability accentuating their top-tier legitimacy:

Robert Gunn III and Will Stone are ‘ready to go’ for the highest level of FBS, and are truly scholarship ready as current HS juniors. Dax Iverson has the strongest distance field goal leg of anyone at camp and anyone that we’ve seen this year (he tied a long-standing camp record of 65 yards earlier this season). While Dax is still only a sophomore he needs to be getting early looks and should be in line for early scholarship offer(s) by his Junior year, if not before then. He was the only participant, besides the Overall FG Winner on Day 2 to make his 60 yard attempt. He also made a 58 yard field goal in his first Varsity game this past season. I anticipate Robert and Will earning their first scholarship offer(s) very soon, most likely before this spring. Maxx Lawton showed a very consistent kickoff performance all weekend and if he can get his field goals to that same level he should be a dynamite recruit going into his junior season next year.

Nick Hernandez, the Day 2 Overall FG winner pulled in a D1 PWO offer less than 48 hours after this year’s event where the coach saw the Live Broadcast and was thoroughly impressed after having already been following his solid senior year in-game performance. If Nick can match his field goal prowess on kickoffs (consistency) he should make for a dynamite 4-year starter somewhere.

There of course were many more amazing specialists this weekend, and it’s hard to select a chosen few, but we feel the above 5 guys really separated themselves from the pack based on their entire body of work over the long weekend.

Summary

This year’s event was not just the largest ever National Showcase in our 13-year camp history, and the 7th installment of the event, but it was also our most talented. There were just so many good kickers and punters collectively and for the most part it wasn’t just a handful of kids putting up big numbers… close to the top 25% of participants showed they are either ready or could be ready with some tweaks/improvements to make it at the D1 level. Based on this weekend and recalling performances throughout this camp season, I’d say that nearly 70% of the attendees showed they have the tools to play at some sort of level of college football.

We only invited 120 campers, from the over 1,200 we trained this season, and with a final tally of just under 90 Showcase participants, I feel this year’s attendees did a great job representing roughly the top 5-10% of specialists in the country. What I’m most impressed with is how year after year our staff properly and accurately evaluate talent. Those on our Hot Prospect List entering the event proved to really lead the charge. Our top listed Class of 2021 and 2021 specialists – Nick Hernandez (Overall FG), and Robert Gunn III (Overall KO & P) put up some big numbers securing Day 2 Elimination Overall wins. Over the coming few months we expect maximum traction for our seniors and juniors and offers will continue to be revealed as more coaches are made aware of the exceptional talent from this year’s event.

Next season’s camp schedule has already been released and we’ll be embarking on another nationwide camp tour that’ll take us to 28 major cities across 20 states. We look forward to seeing you in 2021 and pray that this global pandemic is behind us soon and we can all get back to some sort of normalcy.

kicking world coachesThanks to our hard-working 2020 National Showcase Coaches/Staff – Alex Walls, Pat Davis, Brandon Cunningham, Blake Levin, Patrick Sandler, Alan Guerrieri, Anthony Brocato, Oswaldo Luna, Landon Reeves, Eli Gehman, Lucas Anderson, Dylan Bryant, support staff, and Coach Brent Grablachoff

Recruiting

If you’re a college football coach I encourage you to thoroughly read through the recap and analyze all of the statistics – Camp Results (events individually linked above) which shows how each camper placed and a summary of class year winners. I urge you to get our Hot Prospects on your radar and on your recruiting board for virtual visits now, and in-person official and unofficial visits once the Coronavirus restricted recruiting period ends. These are hand-groomed specialists that I believe will be successful in college and beyond. Our selection methodology has proven very accurate over the years with multiple students excelling when it counts (in-game) at the Collegiate and NFL level.

Parents, Students, and Coaches can check out our Recruiting page for tips & advice that will help get your name out there and allow you the opportunity to take advantage of the several exposure offerings Kicking World provides its students.

From the entire staff, we thank all who participated this year and we look forward to seeing YOU too at next year’s event!

2020 National Showcase Media

Compilation Video
LIVE Replay
Competition Results
Camp Photos


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