Late last night, the Hokies received a commitment from 2014 Athens, Georgia kicker Michael Santamaria.
Santamaria is not ranked or rated by any of the four major conventional recruiting services, but does have profiles on ESPN and Scout. UPDATE: RIVALS HAS APPARENTLY JUST MADE A PAGE FOR HIM AS WELL THAT DID NOT APPEAR IN AN EARLIER SEARCH. He also is rated as a 5-star recruit and ranked No. 13 nationally by Chris Sailer, a kicking and punting expert who only deals with special teams players.
The word committed seems to suggest that he had a committable scholarship offer to the program, but Andy Bitter was not so sure as he posted in his blog earlier today:
"There seems to be some conflicting information about whether it's a scholarship situation or not. The Athens Banner-Herald says he got a scholarship offer. I've heard it's a preferred walk-on deal (similar to the one Brooks Abbott had last year), which would give him the chance to get on full scholarship eventually."
ESPN also has him with an offer, but Rivals and Scout do not. We will keep you up to date on that when we know more. Here is his official page through the NCSA Athlete Recruiting service, where he lists a 4.0 GPA and his relevant stats.
Now we'll analyze Michael as a player from his highlight tapes. For the record, I was actually a kicker who used to go to former NFL special teams guru Doug Blevins' kicking camps with some pretty stellar collegiate and NFL kickers, so I am actually well qualified to asses Michael's video. We were able to find four relevant tapes of Michael, and we begin with the only in-game tape we have of him:
- He seems to get good height on the ball straight from the kick
- We don't really see many hard angles or long kicks in this video
- It's also hard to tell a lot about this video other than that he gets good distance on the ball. We don't know how much unfortunately because of the lack of markers.
- As you can tell, it's VERY windy out in this one, and as such, Michael might be benefitting from a distance standpoint, but suffering from an accuracy standpoint as you can see from some of the kickoffs especially.
- This time, though the distance isn't apparent, we can tell that Michael makes all three field goal attempts, and even puts two in between the second set of uprights that is pushed in.
- Also the wind in this one is much less of a factor and is not blowing strongly in any one direction.
Michael lists his accolades in the beginning of the video. Here are those accolades:
- 2012 Chris Sailer Kicking Top 12/Event Elite
- 2012 CSK Underclassmen Invitational Champion
- 2013 CSK GA Spring Camp Champion
- All-Region Team 2011, 2012
- All-Area Team 2011, 2012
- Preseason All-State 2012
- GACA All-State 2012
Now on to things we noticed in the video:
- Michael has good form in preparing for kicks. He takes the correct number of steps and properly places his last brace step on his opposite foot.
- He can kick from a long distance as this shows, hitting from 50 and 55 pretty regularly, albeit in practice situations.
"Michael is a very talented and pure lefty kicker. He has a strong leg and gets great lift on his ball. He is very smooth and consistent off the ground. Kicks very well under pressure. Field goals are near the very top of his class. Kickoffs are outstanding. A fine young man with a great attitude and work ethic. Should have a great spring and summer. Is going to be a fine D1 prospect."
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