Aguayo continues dominance as country’s best kicker after breaking record, winning national championship in 1st season

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Roberto Aguayo had only played 13 games in his college football career, but he’d already won the Lou Groza Award for the nation’s top kicker. He had only missed one of his 22 field goals. He had made 93 straight extra points.But as Aguayo trotted onto the Rose Bowl field with 13 seconds left in the national championship game, he needed a 94th. With Florida State leading Auburn by two, one more extra point not only stood between the Seminoles and a national title, but also Aguayo and the NCAA single-season points record.He took a practice swing, looked at the uprights and aimed. He took three steps back, two to the side, nodded to his holder and booted it through.On top of last year’s dominance, the sophomore is 12-for-12 on field goals and 22-of-22 on PATs this year. He most recently won Atlantic Coast Conference specialist of the week for the No. 1 team in the country, and with a combination of confidence, pinpoint accuracy and consistency, remains the best kicker in all of college football.“I’ve never seen it,” said Marcus Banks, Aguayo’s high school coach at South Lake (Florida) High School. “I’ve never heard of a kicker being so consistent and accurate. The balls look alike. Everything is straight down the middle. Everything is so perfect.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“Right now he thinks he’s the best kicker in the NFL. I call it a little bit of arrogance, but not like arrogance in a bad way.”Aguayo has shared the Florida State sideline with high-profile names like Heisman trophy winner Jameis Winston and reigning NFL offensive rookie of the month Kelvin Benjamin.He knows they get all the credit. He says he doesn’t really do that much, but the man who says he’s “kind of like a sniper or a stealth guy” knows his job matters, too.“They’re the front guys, the guys that everyone sees like Jameis, but we’re the guys that are undercover, sniping people you know, kind of like that,” Aguayo said of his role as a kicker. “People might not notice it, but at the end of the day, I notice it and I know that I did what I have to do.”But a year before Aguayo hit that extra point in front of 94,208 people he was strictly a bystander.Stuck behind former Buffalo Bills’ kicker Dustin Hopkins, Aguayo redshirted his first year at FSU and watched as E.J. Manuel led the Seminoles to only two losses and a blowout win over Northern Illinois in the Orange Bowl.“I had started all four years in my high school career, so it was kind of weird at first, practicing every day then going out Saturday and not playing,” Aguayo said. “I grasped a lot of things that year, just learning, just observing what Dustin did and how the process was here in college.”When Aguayo was given his time by FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher, though, he seized it. Through his first eight college games, Aguayo had made all 12 field goals and each of his 53 extra-point attempts. At that point, the media blew up, he said, and discussion started to arise that a first-year player could take the Groza Award.Banks said he knew his four-year kicker had been ready for this moment.In high school, when South Lake was in punting position, Banks would send out his kicker. From his own 40-yard line, Aguayo would line up for a 70-yard field goal. Banks knew it wasn’t splitting the uprights, but if the ball reached the end zone, it was considered a touchback regardless. So he’d send Aguayo out instead of his punter to ensure the ball made it there.“His mental toughness was off the charts at the age of 14,” Banks said. “I knew kicking in front of 80, 90,000 people wouldn’t bother him at all. He had that it factor at the age of 14 and the big stage didn’t bother him.”Aguayo’s consistency and accuracy persisted and by the end of the 2013 regular season, he was in contention to receive an invitation to the college football awards ceremony in West Palm Beach, Florida, as one of the nation’s top-three kickers after just 13 collegiate games.“Wow, you know you really can win the Groza, blah, blah, blah” is what Aguayo said he repeatedly heard.He didn’t care though, and when Aguayo’s long snapper and holder joked that he was a finalist, he responded, “Nah, nah.”But FSU associate sports information director Kerwin Lonzo broke the news to Aguayo hours before the finalists were announced nationally. A few days later, Aguayo headed to West Palm Beach where he eventually won the award.“Of course his fundamentals and talent are tremendous, but when you combine that with a very intelligent young man, a guy that works very hard,” Fisher said. “… I mean, he’s a tremendous, tremendous football player, there’s no doubt.”Now that Aguayo’s reputation as the nation’s best kicker has become commonplace, it’s become a habit and a routine, he said.Each time Aguayo steps on the field, it’s the same practice kick, glance at the uprights and aim. Then comes the same three steps back, two to the side and nod to his holder.“And it’s off,” Aguayo said.“I’m just glad that people appreciate a good kicker.” Comments Published on October 10, 2014 at 1:04 am Contact Matt: [email protected] | @matt_schneidmanlast_img

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