The most decorated player at Southern Mississippi is senior placekicker Darren McCaleb. The four year starter has already broken the school’s all-time scoring record (255), single season (kicking) scoring record (107), and holds the school mark for career percentage at .827%.
In 2005, McCaleb hit 23 of 28 (82.1%) field goal attempts. He was the nation’s fourth ranked kicker with 1.92 attempts per game. As you might imagine, McCaleb has been named to a couple pre-season All-American teams and virtually every pre-season all conference first team.
McCaleb does not kick from distance. However, he is automatic from inside forty yards. He missed field goals from 41, 44, 45, 48, and 50 yards last season. He hit 10 of 14 attempts from 40-49 yards. His long is 47 yards.
He’ll have to makes some adjustments in the season opener though. Punter Britt Barefoot assumes the responsibility as the holder for the Golden Eagles.
Barefoot, a sophomore has several first year duties including, punting, kickoffs, and holding for McCaleb. Barefoot played as a true freshman in 2004 when he kicked off 17 times in four games. He redshirted last season. As a high school senior at West Jones in Mississippi, Barefoot averaged 43.7 yards per punt.
Senior cornerback Jasper Faulk returns to handle the Golden Eagles punt return duties. He averaged 7.5 yards per return on 22 attempts. His long went for 47 yards. He did not score on any of those attempts.
Faulk will also assume the kickoff return duties with junior Brandon Sumrall. Faulk is the only player with kickoff return experience. He had seven returns for 106 yards (15.1) and a long of 51 yards.
For what its worth, opposing teams averaged 21.4 yards per kickoff return against Southern Miss in 2005. They averaged 8.1 yards per punt return against the Golden Eagles.