By John Goralski
Kyle Smick was just fooling around with some friends when his first kick split the uprights from 40 yards. He never expected to be a high school kicker. He never expected to become one of the central figures on Southington’s charge toward a Class LL state championship.
He broke records. He kicked field goals from long range with the precision of a sniper. He stroked extra points as if he was shooting free throws in his back yard. The biggest question during kickoffs was how far Smick would clear the end zone, and the biggest thrill for fans during halftime was when Smick would step onto the field to warm up his leg from 50 yards out.
So it’s no surprise that Smick announced that he will be kicking at the next level in the upcoming fall. Blue Knight football coach Mike Drury said that this won’t be the last time that Southington fans get to cheer their prized kicker.
“I really expect to see him kicking on TV down the road. He really is that good,” said the coach. “He’s a kid that has a lot of potential and a lot of upside, and he really has the ability to kick at the division one level.”
Nobody would disagree. After all, Smick kicked his way to the top of Southington’s all-time record book with just two years on the gridiron. As a junior and a senior, Smick set the all-time mark in field goals (10) and extra point conversions (119). Over the course of two seasons, Smick missed only two point after attempts to finish with a .983 average. As a senior, he led the state in touchbacks. He even developed into a solid punter in his second season, averaging 33.14 yards per attempt.
“He was one of the biggest assets on last year’s team,” said Drury. “Think about it. Every time we kicked off, the other team had to go 80-plus yards. It’s tough to do that at the high school level.”
Now, Smick will carry his talents into the collegiate level. Next fall, he’ll kick for Dean College in Massachusetts. With two more years under his belt, Smick should be ready to challenge for a starting spot in the elite division one ranks.
“My first goal is to be a starter at Dean. Then, I want to be picked up for an even better school next, start for them, and pick up my degree,” he said in a press conference on Thursday, April 10. “This is really going to give me a chance to hone my craft. I’ll be able to get my form down, lift weights, and I’m sure that I’ll be even stronger to be able to hit even longer field goals.”
Smick has already shown that he has the capability to play with top level kickers at elite kicking camps. At a Chris Sailer kicking camp, Smick edged a young kicker from Louisiana in a head-to-head competition, and he later learned that his opponent had earned a chance to compete at a top D-I school.
“A couple of weeks ago, I saw a post at their blog saying that he’s going to Alabama,” Smick said. “Wait a minute. I beat that kid. It’s really exciting.”
Smick had received interest from a number of local schools from Western CT State University to Southern CT State University and Western New England University, but the Southington senior ultimately decided to spend two years at the Massachusetts junior college to give him a better chance at a top program.
Dean College will allow him the opportunity to get a kick start on his studies, but it also gives him the benefit of five years in the collegiate ranks. With two season at Dean, he’ll only lose one year of eligibility at a future NCAA program.
“It seems like a great place for me. I’ll have a chance to continue to get my grades up while I continue to work on football,” he said. “Ultimately, I want a degree in biology, but I’m going to start with environmental science to be headed in the right direction.”
Drury called it a great decision.
“He’s ready to go up there to play,” he said. “I really do think that he has big things in his future.”
By John Goralski