Temple finally signs a kicker

Click on the photo of Austin Jones to read more about his decision.

Click on the photo of Austin Jones to read more about his decision.

What many saw as a hole in the 2014 recruiting class was finally filled today.

Orlando (Fla.) kicker Austin Jones committed to Temple after making a visit to Temple over the weekend.

Jones is the No. 13-ranked kicker in the country. All over the United States last year, you saw true freshmen making big kicks in big games for Power 5 Conferences.

All Jones has to do in my mind is kick the damn ball through the end zone, something Temple had for four years with Brandon McManus (now with the New York Giants).


Nick Visco, who went 7 for 7 on extra points at SMU and nailed three of the five field goals he attempted in 2013, gives the Owls depth in the placekicking area. Neither Visco (who did not get the chance, by the way) nor Cooper boomed the ball through the end zone on kickoffs like McManus did as a manor of course. We haven’t heard the last of Nick Visco yet. He can be an accurate and reliable placekicker. Jones looks like he’s going to win the starting job and should be an accurate kicker, too, but his more important job is to boom the damn thing through the end zone since the Owls presumably will be scoring touchdowns, not field goals, this season.

McManus and Jones had similar success in high school with touchbacks. At North Penn, McManus had 58 touchbacks on 70 kickoffs in his senior season and Jones’ stats were almost identical to McManus in that critical area. Those stats pretty much held up during Brandon’s career at Temple, as he became the school’s all-time leading scorer.

During the last three of four games of the season, the Owls struggled to kick the ball off as far as the 10, giving opponents unacceptable starting field position.

Acceptable to them, unacceptable to Temple.

Hitler now can cross off kicker as one of his concerns about Matt Rhule:


24 thoughts on “Temple finally signs a kicker

  1. What’s Cooper going to do? Kid needs to leave to get his confidence back. Owls cannot again go into a season not having a reliable kicker at least on extra points. Talk about depressing the team and the fans by missing a field goal after scoring a touchdown.

  2. Scholarships are a year-to-year thing. I don’t think someone gets a four-year scholarship. I know Nick is paying his way. Jim might be soon, too.

  3. college football is super competitive.. very few teams can win games without winning the special teams battle…, IMO special teams should be an area of focus this year.., having opposing teams start drives on or inside their own 20 is essential when your defense is weak…, and the offense gets a charge from super punt and kick-off returns.., any FG 40 yards or less should be money in the bank…, related subject is turnovers.., why can’t our coaches teach the art of forcing fumbles? and, ‘interception’ is in the dictionary

  4. Fuhrer, Der junge Mann Jones hat einen guten Fuß. Auf Wiedersehen Herr Cooper.

  5. Seems I read all the same excitement last year when Cooper came here. Actually still on the TFF home page. Kicking in college is a lot different then kicking in high school. Let’s not too much pressure on this kid. The season didn’t even start yet!

  6. to borrow a phrase from the great Yogi Berra, I think half of Coop’s problem was 90 percent mental. Cap Poklemba was the most mentally tough kicker I ever saw at Temple, but he didn’t have the talent of his teammate Jared Davis, who fretted over every missed kick and made his situation worse. Poklemba thrived on pressure and wanted to kick that big field goal.

  7. Auf wiedersehen means good bye. Anyway, getting this kid is good news if he gets the kickoff job done. But with last years horrible pass D, would it really have made any difference if the other team took over on the 20 or the 30 or even the 40? Hell, 2 passes from anywhere and they were often inside the Temple 20. Those kicks were frustrating and didn’t help but it was really that pass D that cost the Owls all those last minute losses. C’mon, get real.

    • I think they may have fixed the DB problem with the acquisitions of the JUCO All-Americans to play the 2 safety spots and Anthony Davis to play one of the corners. That would make kicking it into the end zone important.

  8. This is what a kicker’s rating system said about him:
    Austin has shown a strong leg for a 2014 kicker, he has the tools to compete with anyone in the class, moved into another category at the 2013 Southern Showcase Camp, won the FG competition and hit multiple 60 yard FG when it counted, KO’s are solid, ball was jumping off his foot this spring and summer at the National Scholarship Camp, dependable kicker.

    They ranked him 13th nationally.

  9. Oh, by the way, shouldn’t getting the 13th ranked kicker make Temple’s recruit ranking better?

    • Good question. Recruit rankings are based on stars (Aaron Ruff, for example, was a four-star). Shouldn’t the 13th-ranked kicker be a 5- or 4-star? I have a sinking feeling they don’t include kickers in class ranking or even give them stars because I don’t remember Brandon McManus getting any.

      • Hey Mike, If “they” (ie. National Scouting publications) were grading kickers, how far does this kicker move us up? From 70 to ….?


  10. He’s one 1/25th of the class. Give him a 4-star (conservatively) and move the class up from 60(rivals) to 56, according to my laptop calculator. But we must have moved a scholarship somehow (Cooper’s?, maybe?). If it’s from a guy in this class (say, from qualifying to Prep school, that works against the ranking.

  11. The Hitler video was hysterically funny. Who made it?

    • People have been posting “Hitler Reacts” videos as far back as 5 years ago, and a lot of them are really funny. Check them out on Youtube, they’re really good

  12. Me, John. Got one complaint from a Jewish friend and I freely admit I NEVER thought about the Jewish aspect of this. I put an anti-Daz (florida) Hitler video on a couple of years ago and I never received a complaint from anyone. This is what I got from another friend:

    “FYI…Pastor and Solnick…two of my very close friends said it was FUCKING hilarious.
    close JEWISH friends.”
    Never meant it to be anything but FUNNY. … the same way Charlie Chaplin (and Mel Brooks, a JEWISH man whose work I have always loved) made his parodys of Hitler funny. I hate Hitler, but I’ll stand behind the criticism of Rhule as portrayed in that video and I stand behind that as a vehicle to portray it. Won’t do it again. One time was enough.

  13. OK Mike, I’m sure you understand the intricacies of how things work on the football field better than I do. So would you please explain why having a solid pass D means that kickoffs into (or through) the end zone becomes more important – seems to me that with a stiffer D, kickoffs would be important but not as important. And, did you agree or disagree with my assessment that with last year’s horrible pass D, field position really didn’t mean that much because no matter where the other team started, they would easily move down the field anyway? Thanks in advance for your response.

    • Yes, basically agreeing with you, not disagreeing. I think last year’s kickoffs could have been in the end zone, 1 or come out to the 40 and it wouldn’t have made much of a difference because our pass D couldn’t stop anybody. With a pass D that CAN stop people (I’m talking personnel, not necessarily coaching schemes), you kick the darn thing through the end zone and they start on the 20, 25 rather than the 40 and you might get picks going the other way for six. At least that’s why I think a kicker and a pass defense go hand-in-hand. Frustrating to me that other kick returners were catching the ball at the 10 because that’s as far as Jim Cooper Jr. could kick it.

  14. Here’s another thought, crazy as it may sound. Not that Cooper could do this but, if a kicker was capable of kicking high floaters that came down at the 5 or 10, giving defenders time to get down there and make a tackle, wouldn’t it be better to down the ball between the 5 – 15 instead of the 20 or 25? I realize you’d be allowing the possibility for run back returns, but if a kicker could do that and you had fast special teams guys that were solid tacklers, seems like that could work. Or am I dreaming?

    • don’t think Jim Jr. is capable of that. I was very disappointed in his leg strength shown over the course of a 12-game season and I wonder if we properly vetted him before giving him the scholarship. Two blocked kicks in the All-American game should have been a major red flag.

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