Punters and kickers are often over looked in the recruiting process but come game day they are usually one of the fans’ biggest talking points in a close game situation.
If a kicker misses a field goal or a punter has a punt blocked, he’s the worst guy on the team and vice versa, if he hits the game winning field goal or pins the ball on the one yard line.
With saying all of that it leads me to punter Jack Spicer (6-4, 210, Estero, FL High) who flew under the radar during his recruitment and was all set to enroll at another instate school until a familiar face called him from Florida.
“I was actually committed to USF as a preferred walk-on at first,” Spicer said. “Coach [Marc] Nudelberg the quality control coach for special teams, he was actually the special team coach at Cincinnati, and he offered me there and I liked him a lot but it was too expense for me to go there. I was going to have to pay for school until I earned the starting job but when Florida called, it was the best thing for me so I committed to Florida.”
While Florida was offering the same thing as USF (a preferred walk-on spot) the Gators had the coach that he has wanted to play for since the first time he met him.
“He’s a younger guy and ever since I started talking to him we have had a good connection,” Spicer said. “He’s really, really smart with special teams. He knows a lot more than the other special teams coaches that I have talked too so far. When we started talking back in November I really liked him and I can’t wait to play for him now. He’s a guy that I wanted to play for.”
Every recruit gets close to a coach and sometimes commits to a school because of a coach but for a special teams player having a coach you like is even more important than other positions.
“He’s very important to have a good relationship with your special teams coach,” Spicer said. “You’re with a very select group of guys every day working with them. We compete with a very select few like me, I’m going to compete with Johnny Townsend this fall. We are going to have a lot of fun together but I’m going to fight him for the starting spot. I plan to push him to be a better punter and I’m sure he will do the same.”
Spicer, who didn’t grow up in the state of Florida, was actually drawn to the Gators brand in a different way than most but he’s hoping to have the same luck in Florida that he did in Ohio.
“I lived in Ohio for 14 years and didn’t move to Florida until the middle of my eight grade year,” Spicer said. “My fourth and fifth grade city football team were named the Gators and went undefeated and won the championship both seasons. I liked the Gators back then and had a lot of jersey’s so maybe that means good luck now. I never expected to get a call from coach Nuddelburg wanting me to go to Florida but I did and now I’m a Gator again.”
This coming weekend Spicer will start his journey of recreating that magic in a Florida Gators journey as he will visit Gainesville for the first time ever.
“I’m actually talking to them about visiting Florida on Friday and Saturday,” Spicer said. “We are going to go up and watch practice and a scrimmage both days and hope to get some tours and things like that.”