Arizona State Sun Devils might ‘ride hot hand’ with 2 field goal kickers

Aug 23, 2022, 5:27 PM
Arizona State Sun Devils kicker Jace Feely (#45) and punter Eddie Czaplicki (#17) during fall camp ...
Arizona State Sun Devils kicker Jace Feely (#45) and punter Eddie Czaplicki (#17) during fall camp in August 2022. (Instagram screenshot/@jace_feely)
(Instagram screenshot/@jace_feely)

TEMPE — The Arizona State Sun Devils might end up running a two-field goal kicker system to start the 2022 college football season.

Yes, you read that correctly.

The kicking competition between redshirt freshman Jace Feely — the son of former Arizona Cardinals kicker Jay Feely — and true freshman Carter Brown will come down to accuracy, as both have the leg to hit from distance.

“I think both guys have the range that we’re looking for in terms of being 50-plus (yard) field goal kickers, so that’s really not an issue,” assistant head coach and special teams coordinator Shawn Slocum said after practice on Tuesday.

“We may just have to go with the hot hand and we’ll let that play itself out. There’s no book written on how you have to do that. We have two good players here and we’ll just keep moving forward with both of them.”

Feely was primarily a golfer and also played soccer growing up, but didn’t play football until his freshman year of high school at Gilbert Christian when his dad told him to try out for the freshman team’s kicker spot.

“The golf swing and the kicking swing are almost one in the same. … Just kind of driving out through it,” Feely said after practice on Tuesday. “You take a driver and you take a kick and you take a look at the exact same swing plane, it’s almost the picture-perfect exact same.”

Slocum said how excited he’s been with sophomore punter Eddie Czaplicki, who averaged 43.4 yards per punt last year on 45 attempts. Eighteen of those were downed inside the 20-yard line while 15 were fair caught. He also had 13 punts go for over 50 yards, with his longest of the 2021 season going 62 yards.

Czaplicki will serve as the team’s punter, holder and kickoff kicker, which he did all four years in high school.

“I feel really comfortable with all three right now, especially with punting,” he said after practice on Tuesday. “I feel the best I ever have. … I was really, really attentive to my form.

“I was on the jugs probably close to a half-hour every single day perfecting my drop and things I was trying to work on and also just the strength. I put on about eight to 10 pounds of muscle, got a lot more explosive.”

And when it comes to who will be the long snapper for Czaplicki, there are a few candidates. Redshirt freshman John Ferlmann has impressed during fall camp while redshirt junior offensive lineman and Swiss army knife Joey Ramos — who is primarily a center and tackle — looks to be a possible backup. There’s also redshirt sophomore Gage King, who is dealing with “some physical issues through the first part of camp.”

“John Ferlmann has done a really good job at snapper, feel good about that,” Slocum said. “Also have an offensive lineman in Joey Ramos who can snap really well, so probably pretty solid there.”

The special teams coordinator also mentioned a multitude of possible kick and punt returners, which included wide receivers Javen Jacobs, Charles Hall and Elijhah Badger, running back Daniyel Ngata and defensive back D.J. Taylor, who head coach Herm Edwards said Monday “is our No. 1 guy” on kick return.

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Arizona State Sun Devils might ‘ride hot hand’ with 2 field goal kickers