I was a Division 3 punter and kicker and played football at the University of St Thomas. I also was a 6 year NFL Free Agent Punter. I found this great article about the "Reality of Small College Recruiting." It is worth the read and consideration for schools to play for.
Here's my story as to why a Smaller Div 2 or 3 school isn't that bad.
I had a great career at Armstrong High School. But I as plagued with a knee injury in the middle of the season which most likely eliminated my chances of playing Div 1 football. The kicking points I had, combined with the points scored by the back up kicker, would have made me one of the top metro kickers.
I was recruited by St Thomas to play. They were a great football program in Minnesota. But just like the article states I had no idea who they were until another football friend told me about them. I looked into them and they were well known for their business program which I was interested in. I was recruited by a few other programs, but ultimately chose St Thomas. I was able to play Football and pursue a business degree. St Thomas was one of the best experiences of my life, both athletically, socially and academically. As the article states "...smaller colleges are better for the student, keeping them engaged and excited about learning. Those smaller classrooms are able to give you personal touch and one-on-one experience with your teachers and fellow classmates, then the lecture halls with 300+ students," which I loved.
On a sports related side, in my final year of football, I had the best punting year of my life. I was one of the top punters in the conference, and for most of the year, one of the top 15 or so punters nationwide. I had a cannon for a leg. Based off my last year, I was recommended by coaches and friends to pursue the NFL. I started training for it. I attend the Louie Aguiar/Michael Husted Free Agent Pro Scout Combine and it was a great experience. In my first year there, I was one of two Division 3 kicker/punters there. I attended that Combine over the next 4 years, and each year, more and more Division 3 athletes started to attend.
To make a long story short. If you are a great kicker, punter and long snapper, and you have the abilities and dreams to pursue professional football and the NFL in the end. It doesn't 100% matter what level of football you played for. It doesn't 100% matter what your body shape and size is. If you can make a field goal from 45-50 yards out, or punt a 45+ yard punt with 4.5 second hang time, you can do it and will have a chance. Maybe a big Division 1 program is sexy to NFL scouts because you played on a higher pressure stage, but in the end, it's all about your abilities and you can do it.
Don't be afraid to consider a Division 2 or 3 program. You'll get a great education, and more times than not, you have that to fall back on if you don't make it to a pro level.
Professional Kicking Coach and Owner
Special Teams Football Academy
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