SHS kicker hits the mark at Big Ten football camps

SHS kicker hits the mark at Big Ten football camps
Posted on 08/18/2017

During summer break, Scottsburg High School senior Casey Smith was given a rare opportunity:  he was invited to attend not one, but two, Big Ten Conference, National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I football camps.

“You couldn’t just show up. You had to be invited to it,” said Smith, who is a kicker for the SHS varsity football team. “I was invited to the camp in the mail. I got a welcome card. Their coach wrote on the card and said he saw the video of me on my recruiting page.”

The special team coach was from the University of Wisconsin.

On a summer Sunday afternoon, Smith began kicking on the Badgers’ field in Madison, Wis. At the football camp, he and a few other kickers from Illinois, Texas, Wisconsin, Florida, Alabama, Iowa and Minnesota put on a practice jersey, divided into groups based on grade level and position, did a few stretches and warm-up activities, and began showing their abilities to the coaching staff. For Smith, he was asked to do about eight kicks from different angles and yardage. The coaches recorded the distance and hang time of his kicks; he was later given a promotional video of his time at the camp.

“I thought it was cool,” Smith said. “The last two hours, we had competitions. The people watching us could potentially offer scholarships to us in the future.”

Casey Smith at IU

After the camp in at the University of Wisconsin, Smith was approved to go another camp at a Big Ten Conference school, Indiana University. The coaches at Bloomington looked at Smith’s videos and thought he could benefit from working with the coaching staff. One of the coaches even invited him back after the camp concluded for a one-on-one session.

“He said he saw something in me. He said he could help me,” Smith said.

At the high school level, kickers use tees and do not kick off the ground, like at the collegiate level, Smith said. At the IU camp, Smith learned how to kick off the ground and how to go through the recruiting process.

“I learned everyone up there are a lot further along. I only started four years ago,” Smith said. “I did fairly well — even better than some of the kids up there.”

Four years ago, Smith was a soccer player, a sport he has been playing since he was 3-years-old. He decided to come to a football scrimmage his freshman year and see what it was all about. He worked with SHS coach Steve Deaton on developing his kick on the football field. 

“I didn’t even know how to do it,” Smith said about learning how to kick the ball on a football field.  “It was something I was oddly good at.”

From those early days, Smith’s love for the sport only grew to where in the last two years he has dedicated more time and effort to the position. After the IU camp in June, Smith has been practicing several times each week on kicking the ball off the ground. He took the instruction he learned at Madison, Wis., and at Bloomington, to improve his ability and game.

“Football is something I am trying to pursue after high school,” Smith said. “I have a good chance of that, I think.”

Smith’s chances of being a kicker at the collegiate level might be obtainable after watching a video of him kick a 52-yard field goal at SHS. Smith holds the school field goal record with a 42-yard kick. His coach, Kyle Mullins, has been helping him prepare for the collegiate level, too.

“Coach Mullins has been putting my name out there to help me out,” Smith said.

“Casey Smith is a special individual. While managing to earn varsity letters in four sports, he maintains a 3.7 GPA, and is a very good representative of ‘The Warrior Way.’ That requires incredible dedication and time management,” Mullins said. “Casey holds the record for the longest record in Scottsburg football history, and I think we'll see him break that record again in 2017. There should be no question that we see Casey kicking at the next level, and I'm excited for him to go through the recruiting process and have that opportunity.”

Smith and his teammates will face the Clarksville Generals at 7 p.m. at Warrior Field in Scott County. The game kicks off the first, full varsity football schedule SHS has had in the Mid-Southern Conference since 1983. The football team will be eligible for the IHSAA tournament. 

Scott 2 is Smith’s path to a brighter future in college.

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