June 23, 2011

Ranking the Big Ten: The kicking game

As Nebraska moves into the Big Ten Conference, HuskerOnline.com will get you ready with ranking analysis pieces breaking down each position in the league. Today we look at the kicker and punter positions in the Big Ten heading into 2011.

Other Big Ten rankings: QB l RB l WR l TE l OL l DT l DE l LB l S l CB l

1. Dan Conroy, Michigan State, 5-10, 190, Jr.
Michigan State's Dan Conroy was last year's All Big Ten kicker, connecting on 14-of-15 field goals. He has made 94 percent of his field goals over his career and 98 percent of his PATs. Conroy connected on 14 consecutive kicks to start last season, which was the best start by a kicker in MSU history. Look for Conroy to be one of the contenders this year for the Lou Groza award.
2. Derek Dimke, Illinois, 6-0, 180, Sr.
Illinois kicker Derek Dimke was a second-team All Big Ten selection as a junior by the coaches and first-team All-Big Ten by Phil Steele. He was a Lou Groza Award semifinalist connecting on 24-of-29 field goals and 43-of-43 extra points. His 115 points from a year ago ranks second all-time on the Illinois season scoring list and his 24 made field goals also tied a school record. Dimkie led the Big Ten in average field goals made per game last year at 1.85, which also ranked sixth overall in the country.
3. Brad Nortman, Wisconsin, 6-3, 215, Sr.
Wisconsin's Brad Nortman will be going into his fourth season as the Badgers starting punter. Over the course of his career Nortman has averaged 42.1 yards per punt on 153 attempts, with 50 of those punts landing inside the 20 yard line. Last season Nortman also had a 76 yard punt in a game against Austin Peay.
4. Cody Webster, Purdue, 6-2, 200, So.
Purdue punter Cody Webster was a first-team All Big Ten freshman selection by Rivals.com. In 2010 Webster averaged 43.3 yards on 47 punts, including a season long of 79 yards against Northwestern. In Purdue's final game of the season against Indiana, Webster averaged 56 yards per punt on six attempts to have his best day of the year.
5. Will Hagerup, Michigan, 6-4, 210, So.
Michigan's Will Hagerup is another solid young punter in the Big Ten. As a freshman, Hagerup started 10 games and averaged 43.6 yards per punt on 33 attempts. 11 of his 33 punts went inside the opponent's 20 yard line and he had 10 punts over 50 yards.


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