No. 42: Punter Connor Kornbrath
PUNTER CONNOR KORNBRATH
The one thing about a commitment from a punter or kicker is it sheds a little light on how P's and K's are built and recruited. Kids don’t wake up one morning and decide they want to be a kicker. It’s a process. It takes exposure.
Check this post from when senior kicker Trent Mossbrucker arrived at Iowa. To be sure, you need talent. You need the mental acuity, leg strength and 10,000 hours, but there's also a certain level of "buy in."
“It became obvious to us that if you want to get noticed, you had to have someone out there promoting you,” Mike Mossbrucker said. “So he went to the Chris Sailer kicking camps, several times.”
Kornbrath attended a kicking camp run by former ISU kicker Jamie Kohl. Kornbrath impressed, winning the kickoff and punt competitions. These camps are heavily scouted by college coaches. No word on whether Iowa was at that particular kicking camp, but Iowa offered and Kornbrath is on his way to Iowa City with his sights set on the starting job.
2012 Takeoff: Senior John Wienke and sophomore Jonny Mullings had their chance to seal the job during spring practice. They didn't. During a post-spring news conference, Kirk Ferentz said the job remained up for grabs. That means Kornbrath has as good of a chance as either of the veterans.
Iowa hasn't been shy about shoving a true freshman into a spotlight specialist role. Sure, Nate Kaeding was a no-brainer in 2000, but Mossbrucker and current kicker Mike Meyer also started as true freshmen. Has there been a true freshman at punter? None jump to mind, but there's always a first.Could Kornbrath compete for kickoff? It's a possibility, but if he does win the punting job, co-special teams coach Lester Erb will want his concentration there. Yes, Meyer had just four touchbacks last season, but remember, teams will kick from the 35 this season. Touchbacks will increase greatly across the board. Iowa will want in on that, and Meyer will likely get a shot to keep the job. He's got the resume.