COLUMBIA, S.C. — There are a bevy of candidates vying to win placekicking duties for the South Carolina football team in 2018.
Most are on campus, but some have yet to arrive. All are very much in the mix.
“We told them from the start it’s an open competition. … We’re going to chart everything for the spring, probably chart through fall camp and name a guy for the first game,” special teams coordinator Coleman Hutzler said.
“They’ve approached it the right way. They understand the struggles that we had a year ago and we need to do better. They’ve had the right mentality through winter workouts and the first five days of spring practice.”
Parker White and Alex Woznick attempted 28 field goals last season. Woznick began the season as the starter and went 1 for 3 in three games. He gave way to White, who converted 14 of 25 attempts.
White hit 10 of 11 field goals from 20-39 yards but struggled beyond that range, going 4 for 14. That included a pair of misses from longer than 50 yards.
“We still felt like [White] was hitting a good ball from 40 and in. … We got in those long-distance situations and he struggled,” Hutzler said. “Once we made the move, we were going to stick with Parker through the way.”
White, Woznick and a host of other walk-ons are in competition this spring, including Brandon Chiazza, Austin Snow and Will Tommie, who made 18 of 29 field goals in the 2015 and 2016 seasons at Tusculum.
White showed off his power on kickoffs, finishing tied for 16th in the country with a touchback percentage of 67.7.
“He was a great weapon for us, in terms of forcing touchbacks, pinning the ball deep and making guys make decisions, if they really want to bring that ball out of the end zone,” Hutzler said.
Joseph Charlton finished 30th in the country with 43.5 yards per punt.
“He’s grown up so much and it’s why you coach, one of the reasons why we do what we do,” Hutzler said. “It’s awesome to see how far he’s come over the last two years and really taken the role, and he’s got to be a leader for us now, within the group.
“The guys get excited when he hangs one up there for 5 seconds and 50 yards. We had 4 turnovers on punts alone.”
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