Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

Husker Football: Kicker U Needs Its Savior

When you look back into the annals of Husker football history, a long list of legendary players pops up. Every position has its share of recognizable names. Kickers are no different.

In fact, Big Red booters have been so sure-footed lately, some refer to Nebraska as “Kicker U”.

Perhaps the first in line when it comes to the most clutch Husker kickers would be Paul Rogers. He kicked for Bob Devaney in the early seventies before being the first Nebraska kicker drafted in program history. The Pittsburgh Steelers would select him in the eighth round of the NFL draft.

Rogers earned a national championship ring while becoming one of the first players for the Huskers to solely play the kicker position after transitioning from wingback.

“Coach Devaney told me I saved his job with that kick against Wyoming.” – Rogers in a 2006 interview with the Lincoln Journal Star

While Rogers was the first kicker drafted from Nebraska, he wouldn’t be the last.

1999 saw Kris Brown get drafted, also by the Steelers. Brown had a storied career at Nebraska as he collected 388 career points, good enough for seventh in NCAA history at the time.

He also earned two national championship rings in addition to multiple academic awards.

Josh Brown (no relation) was selected in the seventh round of the 2003 draft by the Seattle Seahawks. While at Nebraska, Brown earned first team All-Big 12 honors and put himself in the NCAA record book when he tied what was then the bowl record of most PAT attempts and conversions with nine.

He spent the better part of 12 seasons in the NFL across four different teams as a valuable asset.

Thanks to an 81.9 percent field goal and 99.4 percent PAT career conversion rate, Brown will go down as one of the better kickers in NFL history.

The most recent Husker football kicker draftee is arguably the best. A first team All-American, two-time Lou Groza Award semifinalist, two-time multi-position All-Conference honoree and holder of many Husker records, Alex Henery is a bona fide Nebraska kicking legend.

You may remember the former Omaha Burke Bulldog from this spectacular moment in Husker history:

Henery holds Nebraska records for career scoring (397 points), most consecutive field goals (18), most field goals made in a season (24) and most field goals made in a career (68).

He was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the fourth round of the 2011 draft. Henery would go on to make 22 consecutive field goals in Philly at one point in his young career, a franchise record.

After two seasons of Big Red fans watching current Canadian Football League kicker Brett Maher handling kicking duties, they looked to both Pat Smith and Mauro Bondi to do so in 2013.

Smith and Bondi joined to hit 13 of 14 attempts. Compare that to Maher in 2011 when he made 19 of 23 field goals and 2012 when 20 of 27 sailed home.

Turn the page to the newest Husker kicker: Drew Brown. Yes, another Brown.

Drew is the brother of the aforementioned Kris Brown. This legacy prospect was ranked as the No. 18 kicker in the country according to the 247Sports Composite Index.

“Crazy — like a dream come true,” said Brown to Sam McKewon of the Omaha World-Herald of his eventual new home. “Nebraska’s been a second home to me. For as long as I can remember, Nebraska’s been my No. 1 school.”

“He’s pretty darn good. He’s so much more advanced, as far as technique is concerned, compared to where I was at his age,” said the elder Brown brother in the same World-Herald article.

Brown will be looked upon to bring both confidence and skill to a kicking position that’s been the envy of every SEC team.

After reviewing the 2014 Spring Game, one has to wonder about the skill aspect. Bondi, the other scholarship kicker on roster and go-to kickoff man, went just one for three kicking PATs. Walk-on Spencer Lindsay had a PAT blocked.

Bondi “had a chance to separate himself as the placekicker and didn’t do it,” according to Pelini after the game.

The younger Brown must enter Lincoln ready to be the guy that’ll take Husker football’s kicking success back to where it needs to be. “Kicker U” needs its right-footed savior to live up to the hype.

No pressure, kid.

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