By Ben Present > Senior > Journalism > University of Maryland
Josh Jasper isn’t thinking about the NFL right now. But it’s probably thinking about him. This senior place kicker for Louisiana State University and captain of the college football powerhouse, is one of the top kickers in the nation. Currently, his efforts are focused on leading the Tigers to their second national championship in four seasons.
Jasper is LSU’s all-time leader in field goal accuracy; he is 19-for-22 in field goal attempts and has scored a perfect 39-for-39 in point after touchdown attempts. He also can punt the ball 40 yards downfield.
This summer, Jasper kept busy doing mandatory workouts for the team, running four-to-five miles a day on his own, and even doing some yoga to prepare for his last year in Baton Rouge.
“Over the past three years, I’ve taken on more of a leadership role,” he said. “For the first two years, I just did kickoffs.” Now Jasper will also continue to punt and attempt extra points in 2010. For him, these efforts will simply help to round out a specials teams unit that he said is often overlooked when assessing a team’s performance after a win.
“Special teams has a lot to due with what happens throughout the game,” he said. “If special teams doesn’t perform well, you have a very good chance of losing the game. I take that very seriously.”
After the season, Jasper will shift his focus to the NFL, but he knows the road for placekickers and punters is rough. To be an employed NFL kicker, you need to be in the top 32 in the world, making just one for each team. As a result, teams rarely select kickers and punters in the draft. “That just makes you want to work harder,” Jasper said.
Image courtesy of lsutaf.org.