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July 24, 2013

Freshmen Impact Player #4: Joe Occhipinti

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The Freshmen Impact Player Countdown Series continues as we shift our focus to special teams, namely a kicker, yes, I said a kicker.

Hear me out people - the field goal kicking game has been somewhat of a sour subject around these parts over the last couple of years. Now, that's no disrespect to Garrett Schwettman, who stepped in and did a tremendous job as a walk-on last year within 30-yards and even extended his range as the season rolled on.

While Schwettman was 8-for-8 from the 20-29 yard range, he was only 2-for-5 from 30-yards and beyond and former head coach Willie Taggart rolled a lot of dice on fourth down last year due to the lack of a long-range field goal kicker.

Simply put, this football program needs a kicker that can boom a football from 30-plus yards out with the consistency, confidence, and smoothness that will allow Bobby Petrino and his coaching staff to look over, never bat an eye and wave the field goal unit onto the turf to put points on the board.

Enter incoming freshmen and Hillsboro (Tn.) product, Joe Occhipinti, who's range, consistency, and big leg ability landed him a scholarship offer as a kicker. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound specialist is also well-rounded, having served as the Burros punter as well.

With Occhipinti in the mix, expect the Hilltoppers' field goal kicking game to finally extend beyond the depths of the short gimmies and have a viable option from the 30-to-50 yard range, or even further in desperate situations.

I think any coaching staff in the country will tell you, it's great to have multiple scoring options.

Watch Occhipinti lay the boom

Western Kentucky NEWS


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