Vols in ‘good hands’ with kicking crew

Vols in ‘good hands’ with kicking crew
Vols in 'good hands' with kicking crew | Big Orange Report, UT, Vols, Tennessee Football, Britton Colquitt, Daniel Lincoln, Chad Cunningham, Morgan Cox
Meet the Vols 2008 Kickers • Daniel Lincoln — Sophomore (6-0, 207, one letter) from Ocala, Fla. — This piston-legged place-kicker burst onto the scene and turned a question mark into an obvious asset for the Big Orange in 2007. Handed the placement chores almost by default, all Lincoln did was drill 21 of 28 three-point attempts for the season. He was an impressive five of six from the 30- to 39-yard distance and hit seven of 10 from 40- to 49-yards. He also converted on 49 of 50 point after touchdown kicks as he served notice that Tennessee’s placement duties would probably be in good hands for the next three seasons. He was named to the Football Writers All-American team and was tabbed first-team All-SEC by Rivals.com. His 21 triples tied him for third all-time for field goals made in a single season in the UT record books. His 112 points scored is the new high water mark in Vol history for a kicker. He ranked 12th nationally with an average of 1.62 field goals per contest. His longest field goal of the 2007 campaign was a crucial, pressure-packed 48-yarder against South Carolina. Most Vol watchers project that his range should be at least 55 yards over the next three seasons. He was a semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award, given annually to the premier college kicker in the nation. • Chad Cunningham — Sophomore (6-3, 210, one letter) from Dawsonville, Ga. — The pressure will be on this son of former Tennessee offensive guard Rory Cunningham when the Vols travel to Los Angeles to face UCLA. Cunningham, who has a grand total of three career punts under his belt, will be handling those duties until senior Britton Colquitt completes a five-game suspension. Cunningham did average over 40 yards per punt in limited duty last year. He worked very hard on his techniques and mechanics during spring drills and is, of course, the heir apparent to replace Colquitt as the No. 1 punter in 2009. He is the first football player from Dawson County High School to ever sign a scholarship to play in Division I. • Britton Colquitt — Senior (6-3, 205, three letters) from Knoxville (Bearden High School) — If the youngest and one of the best kicking Colquitts is able to get his life in order, his return in October will certainly be a positive development for the football team. Last season he averaged almost 42 yards per punt and had 23 big ones land inside the opponents’ 20-yard line. Fifteen of his 62 punts resulted in fair catches and he did not have a single kick blocked. Obviously, he has the talent to play on Sundays if he is been able to get his life in order and move beyond the problems that have haunted him for much of his career at Tennessee. Deep Snapper • Morgan Cox — Junior (6-4, 230, one letter) from Collierville — A dependable deep snapper who handled the job for the entire schedule last fall, Cox returns for his junior year as a reliable veteran. He had two tackles on special teams in 2007. Cox is one of those players who no one ever knows unless he makes a mistake in the kicking game. Position Summary Unless Lincoln suffers from the dreaded sophomore jinx, Tennessee can boast of one of the very best placement kickers in college football this year. He earned his spurs under fire as a redshirt freshman and should be one of the top kickers in the nation for the next three autumns. Cox is a steady deep snapper who has spent untold hours perfecting his one and only job. Cunningham will be tested in September. If he can handle the role of stand-in until Colquitt returns, then from October until the end of the season, the Big Orange may be able to boast one of the best sets of kickers in the conference. SEC comparison South Carolina’s Ryan Succop handles both the placement and punting duties for the Gamecocks. He is very good at both jobs. Leigh Tiffin at Alabama has great range and is a veteran kicker who will not wilt under pressure. Most every other team in the league has youngsters who are very capable of hitting long field goals. Tennessee’s Lincoln and Colquitt should be the best kicking combination in the SEC come October. Cunningham might surprise also; he has plenty of leg and knows he must prepare to “git er done” in September.

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