COLLEGE SENIOR SPECIALIST'S COMBINE
- A SPECIALIST'S PATH TO PRO FOOTBALL -
If you are a College Senior Kicking Specialist and have aspirations for kicking, punting or snapping in the NFL, your path should start with Coach Zauner's College Senior Specialist's Combine being held February 20-21 Phoenix, Arizona.
This 2-day event is designed for the Top College Senior Kickers, Punters, Snappers or utility players that also snap who 'WILL NOT' be invited to the NFL Combine February 24 thru March 2 in Indianapolis.
It is against NFL rules to have any NFL coach or scout at an event like this, so following this College Senior Specialists NFL Combine, video of the best potential NFL prospects will be posted to my website (unless a participant makes a request to not have their video posted).
In 2008 I spent five days at the NFL Combine and talked to a representative from every NFL team. I plan to do the same this year.
These kicking specialists will also be featured on a special College Senior Specialists Combine section on my website along with the other 2010 NFL draft prospects.
WHY A COLLEGE SENIOR SPECIALIST'S COMBINE?
I am hosting a College Senior Specialist's Combine because it is my experience that the best kicking specialist talent is not seen at their College Pro Days or showcased at the NFL Combine.
An example of this is when I attended the NFL Combine in 2008.
Once at the event, I was immediately struck by the lack of quality kicking specialist’s talent that had been invited. And when the NFL Combine was over, I left thinking about all the quality kicking specialist talent available throughout the country that should have been invited but were not.
In fact that Spring I was working and training two kicking specialists who I believed had much more talent than anyone I had seen at the NFL Combine; Punter Brett Kern (U. of Toledo) and Kicker Garrett Hartley (U. of Oklahoma).
And the 2008 NFL season proved this to be true.
During that season, the Denver Broncos called and asked me to find them a young punter and kicker. I recommended both specialists and the Broncos signed both Kern and Hartley to Free Agent Contracts.
Kern made the team and Hartley was released before training camp due to 80 man roster rule. Hartley later signed with the New Orleans Saints and played 8 games in which he was a perfect 13 for 13 in the 2008 season.
Today, both are still on NFL rosters.
And they weren’t the only kicking specialists who were not invited to the NFL Combine but were signed to the NFL that year. In fact six kicking specialists who were not invited to the NFL Combine were either drafted or signed as Free Agents and made NFL rosters.
And it’s important to note that only two kicking specialists invited to the 2008 NFL Combine made an NFL roster that year! And neither made it through the season or is playing today.
I don’t know why so much kicking specialist talent is overlooked and therefore not invited to the NFL Combine, but perhaps it is because there is a general lack of knowledge of what qualities, technique and personality it takes to be an NFL Kicking Specialist.
It seems often times a players ability is determined on ‘kicking distance’ or a 'stop watch' reading rather than on a kicking specialists skills and technique.
Regardless the reason, many excellent kicking specialists never get invited to the NFL Combine and therefore never get drafted or signed to the NFL.
I have attended the NFL Combine for the past 18 years and I am very familiar with the quality of talent showcased there. It is my opinion that the ‘top’ College Senior kicking talent has not been invited to the NFL Combine. There is no 'consistency' in the talent represented from year to year. Therefore NFL teams have not seen the best kicking specialists available.
The other issue that is troubling is many college seniors kicking specialists expect to be seen on their ‘Pro Day' by NFL Special Teams Coaches and Scouts. But the fact is, that does not always happen.
The big universities with the most NFL potential football players will have a big Pro Day, but far too often, many college seniors kicking specialists will have no NFL Special Teams Coaches or Scouts at their workout either because the scout needed to get to the next College ‘Pro Day” -and didn't have time to look at the kicking specialists - or no scout showed up at all.
My College Senior Kicking Specialist's Combine is designed to ensure the best college kicking specialist talent at all divisions of college football, are not overlooked by NFL teams just because they weren’t invited to the NFL Combine or were not seen at their College Pro Days.
It is my goal to make sure the best kicking specialist talent IS seen by NFL Special Teams and Directors of Pro or College Personnel, so these specialists also have a chance to be drafted or signed as a NFL free agent.
My background and experience have shown I can make this happen for College Seniors.
1) Participants will be able to showcase their Ability to Coach Zauner and results seen by NFL teams.
2) Participants will be competing against other Top College Senior Specialists and have an opportunity to evaluate their standing amongst other draft eligible players.
3) Participants will have an excellent opportunity to evaluate their ability and potential to be an NFL kicking specialists.
During my career as an 11 years as a college coach and 13 years as an NFL Special Teams Coordinator I have coached or trained 19 Pro Bowl kickers, punters and snappers and have worked with over 75 NFL kicking specialists.
RESULTS OF MY 2009 FREE AGENT COMBINE
In April of 2009 I held my first Free Agent Specialist's Combine in Phoenix, Arizona. It was considered a success by both the teams and the specialists who attended.
In attendance were 32 professional football teams representing 26 National Football League (NFL) teams; 4 United Football League (UFL) teams; and 2 Canadian Football League (CFL) teams.
The event showcased 41 kicking specialists including 16 kickers; 15 punters; and 10 snappers / utility players. Of these, 17 signed contracts with NFL, UFL or CFL Teams.
COACH ZAUNER'S ABILITY TO EVALUATE TALENT
Brian Billick, former Head Coach of the Baltimore Ravens said, “I’ve known and coached with Gary for 28 years! As a College and NFL Head Coach I have seen him not only find kicking personnel but also coach and develop many kicking specialists to be more consistent! He is the best when it comes to finding, evaluating, analyzing and coaching kicking specialists. Gary Zauner is the best in the business!”
Frank Gilliam, former, Minnesota Vikings Vice President Player Personnel said, “Gary was responsible for targeting, evaluating and signing many of our kicking personnel. His knowledge and evaluations of kicking personnel were in-valuable to myself and my scouting staff especially when it came to free agency and the draft. I’ve been in the NFL with the Vikings for 36 years and nobody knows kicking personnel and how to coach them better than Gary!”
Bill Polian, President Indianapolis Colts said, “With regards to Coach Zauner’s Free Agent Specialists and College Senior Combines being a ‘clearing house’ for NFL teams’ Coach Zauner has demonstrated he has a reputation for evaluating and finding kicking specialist talent of NFL caliber. His Combines certainly have the potential to discover or rediscover quality kicking specialist talent that might otherwise go unnoticed by Professional Football Teams”
2009 FREE AGENT COMBINE TESTIMONIALS
Jim Fassel, Former Head Coach N.Y. Giants & Current Head Coach Las Vegas UFL Team said, “Recently my UFL staff attended Coach Zauner’s Free Agent Specialists Combine in Phoenix, Arizona. Me and my staff have participated in many free agent Combines throughout the years searching for football talent and all agreed this was the best run Combine any of us have attended. The field of talent was handpicked and of the highest caliber. This is 'the' Kicking Combine to attend if you’re a professional football team or aspiring kicking specialist.”
Joe Marciano, Houston Texans Special Teams Coordinator said, "Coach Zauner has coached in the NFL as a Special Teams Coordinator for 13 years. Coach Zauner knows the standards that NFL Special Teams Coaches want and need of their kicking specialist's. His Combine was run extremely efficiently for the coaches, Pro Personnel and players. I believe if you're an NFL Special Teams Coach, Director of Personnel or kicking specialist, Coach Zauner's Combine is 'the' event to attend.”
Russ Purnell, Special Teams Coordinator Jacksonville Jaguars said, “Gary put together a highly organized, efficient and competitive NFL Free Agent Specialists camp that featured very realistic skills tests and top level participants...it was as good a camp as I have been to”.
Ray Rychleski, Special Teams Coordinator Indianapolis Colts said, “As a coach I can really appreciate how well and precise the entire event was run. Many of the other special teams coaches and personnel people in the stands who have gone to other combines remarked that this was the best run free agent camp they had gone to and will be back again next year. Coming from the college coaching ranks I would think any college or free agent kicking specialists that wants to get exposure to the NFL should make Coach Zauner’s combine a must to attend."
TESTIMONIAL FROM HALL OF FAME NOMINEE
Gary Anderson, a 23 Year NFL Kicker - 1998 Pro Bowl & Perfect Season said, “I had the privilege of working with Coach Gary Zauner for 5 Years while playing for the Minnesota Vikings. Gary is easily the most knowledgeable kicking coach in the country. His approach of blending all the Technical aspects of kicking with a practical common sense approach, is one of Gary’s finest qualities. He can improve any kicker in a very short period of time and put you on a precise road to success. He is simply the Very Best”