CEDAR RAPIDS — He was like thousands of kids in America,
Drew Scott dreamed of throwing touchdown passes on Sundays. Or maybe it was running for 200 yards and a pair of TDs.
One or the other.
He never, ever thought about getting to the National Football League through snapping balls back to a punter or holder. Who would?
Long snapper is not the sexiest position out there, but it’s the one the Cedar Rapids Xavier High School grad excels at and could get paid for doing.
“If this is my ticket to the NFL, I will do everything I can to take advantage of it,” he said.
Scott will take part Saturday in the 93rd East-West Shrine Game at St. Petersburg, Fla. The game begins at 2:07 p.m. and is televised live by NFL Network.
Also participating are Iowa State linebacker Joel Lanning and Northern Iowa wide receiver Daurice Fountain.
“I didn’t realize the extent of how big this game is,” Scott said. “It’s the No. 2 bowl game, the Senior Bowl’s first. It was really cool to learn more and more about the game itself, the importance of it. I don’t know how much you know about the Shriner’s Hospital itself, but what they do for people is really, really cool. Then, obviously, the NFL itself, the game is on the NFL Network, all kinds of scouts will be there. The exposure you’ll get is huge moving forward.”
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Scott grew up believing baseball was the sport he wanted to pursue. He wasn’t even going to play football at Xavier but got talked into continuing and was introduced to long snapping almost by accident.
“We had a pretty good snapper, I think he ended up snapping at Coe,” Scott said. “He showed us how to hold the ball. It just came naturally to me. I don’t really even remember if I did it my sophomore year at all. I think I picked it up as a junior.”
He essentially was a backup lineman for the Saints, but he had an aptitude for snapping and ended up attending a kicking/snapping camp the summer before his senior year put on by former Iowa State kicker Jamie Kohl. That got him an invite to a national camp.
Those showcases helped him gain interest from college programs.
“It was not one of those deals where I thought it was a recruitable position,” Scott said. “Just not one of those things you think about.”
He took a visit to North Carolina State, but that didn’t work out because the school ended up going through a coaching change. He really wanted to go to Iowa State, but then-Coach Paul Rhoads recruited his son for the position.
Kansas State turned out to be a perfect fit. Scott red-shirted in 2013, played in three games as a freshman, one as a sophomore and took over full-time snapping duties as a junior in 2016.
That earned him a scholarship.
“Boy, am I glad I picked K-State,” he said.
Scott is an academic all-American who has his degree in entrepreneurship. He credited teammate Matthew McCrane for helping him get his Shrine Game invite, as the all-Big 12 Conference kicker also is on the West team.
“I think the biggest thing about being a good snapper is consistency, especially for field-goal kicking,” Scott said. “I think you can adjust more with punting, there’s a little bit more room for error. Not much, because special teams as a whole, there is very small room for error. But as far as a field goal or extra point, your kicker has to have trust in you and the holder. That’s the biggest thing.
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“Our kicker, he has been huge in instilling confidence in both of us. That’s what’s really cool. He’s one of the best in the country, man. I truly believe that, as far as consistency goes and everything. He’ll have a career in the NFL.”
And maybe, just maybe, Drew Scott will, too.
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