Coach Zauner's 2012 Free Agent Specialist's Combine
'A Specialist's Path To PRO Football'
Shayne Graham Makes Houston Texans Roster
Robert Malone Signs With S.D. Chargers & Makes N.Y Jets Roster
Matt Overton Makes Indianapolis Colts Roster
Swayze Waters Signs With NY Jets & Makes Toronto Argonauts Roster
|Coach Zauner's 'Field Of Dreams' Draws Top Free Agent Specialists |
Attended By Several NFL Special Teams Coaches & Directors Of Pro Personnel
While Coach Zauner's Third Annual College Senior Kicking Specialist's Combine produced NFL starting roster spots for Beau Brinkley (Titans), Johnny Hekker (Rams) and John Potter (Bills), the Free Agent Specialist's Kicking Combine has continued having success by yielding four more roster spots in PRO football.
Coach Zauner's Fourth Annual Free Agent Specialist's Kicking Combine also paid dividends and got exposure for NFL Veteran Specialists Shayne Graham (Texans) and Robert Malone (Jets). While new comers Matt Overton (Colts) and Swayze Waters (Argonauts) also benefited from Coach Zauner's Programs: College Senior and Free Agent Specialist's Kicking Combines, PRO Development Camps and One on One Kicking, Punting and Snapping Lessons.
|Veterans: Shayne Graham & Jeff Reed Attend Combine For Exposure|
The Proof Is In The Results of Players
Throughout the past four years of the Free Agent Specialist's Kicking Combine, I have always fielded a talent pool of where I felt confident each specialists was capable of making an NFL roster. It is for this reason that I give all the praise for success to the individuals that compete in this event. NFL coaches and scouts don't fly across the country for just any Combine, they continue to come each year because they know that a group of the elite free agent kickers, punters, and snappers in the country will be competing with each other to earn their way into the NFL, or in some cases back into the NFL.
Shayne Graham - 11 Year Veteran NFL Kicker
At the beginning of the 2011 NFL season, Shayne Graham found himself looking for a job after being waived by the Cowboys and Redskins during training camps. Shayne had contacted me earlier in the spring prior to our initial meeting, expressing interest in doing a One on One Kicking Lesson. As he was still looking for an NFL team to call his 'home' again, I reached out to Shayne offering my services. Ultimately, Shayne felt it was best to have another set of eyes to take another look at his field goals, while working to refine and improve his kickoff technique.
|Shayne Graham Works On Field Goal & Kickoff Technique|
During Kicking Lessons Phoenix, Arizona - 2011
When I first started to watch Shayne kick, it was obvious to me why he had sustained an 11 year career in the NFL. When working with NFL veterans, you always have to bear in mind that they are professionals for a reason, and as the old saying goes, 'If it isn't broke, don't fix it'.
During our time spent together during his kicking lessons, I had Shayne try a few minor changes in his kicking technique and we were seeing better results in his kickoffs by the time he left. I felt that Shayne would definitely be kicking in the NFL again.
|Shayne Graham Shows NFL Coaches He Wants A Starting Job!|
In February of 2012, Shane and fellow veteran Jeff Reed stated that if they were not on a current roster, the best opportunity for them to make their way back into the NFL was to find a venue so that they could showcase themselves in front of several NFL coaches and scouts. Coach Zauner's 2012 Free Agent Specialist's Kicking Combine is exactly the venue they had in mind.
The NFL is a business of what you can do at the current moment, and as previous experience can be a great benefactor, Shayne knew that coaches would want to see where he currently stands as a kicker. Shayne had a great day of kicking off sending 3 of his 4 kickoffs out of the end zone while also going perfect in field goals making it to the bonus round.
|Shayne Graham Makes Final Roster With Houston Texans|
After the Houston Texans selected kicker Randy Bullock in the 5th round of the 2012 NFL Draft, who is another kicker with an extensive background untilizing my services offered as a kicking coach, they felt that finding a veteran to compete with him was the best way to find their starter. Unfortunately, Randy suffered a torn groin during preseason and was put on the IR list. Luckily, the Texans felt that Shayne was more than capable of getting the job done and he was named the teams starter. I would like to wish Shayne great success this season and look forward to continuing our relationship.
Robert Malone - 2 Year Veteran Punter
Another NFL veteran that competed in the 2012 Free Agent Specialist's Kicking Combine was former Fresno State standout Robert Malone. After spending the majority of the 2010 season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Robert was looking for an opportunity to make an NFL roster again. His agent, Jill Baxter who's other clients have seen success with Coach Zauner Programs, recommended that Robert attend the combine to get experience and exposure alike.
|Robert Malone (Fresno State) Catches The Eye Of Several NFL Teams|
Prior to the combine, I had never previously worked with Robert, however I was familiar with his reputation and ability, which made him an obvious choice to perform in front of NFL coaches. I had however worked extensively with his cousin Tom Malone, and believed if they were anything alike, Robert would be more than a capable NFL punter.
|Robert Malone Holds For Former Fresno State Teammate Clint Stitser|
Robert Malone (Fresno State), was also taking all of the right steps by competing in this Kicking Combine and other events such as the NFL Regional Combines in order to get more exposure. Below, listen to Robert's testimonial about Coach Zauner's 2012 Free Agent Specialist's Combine.
|Malone Signs With Chargers After 2012 Combine. Gets Cut And Makes Jets Final Roster|
After the Combine, Robert was brought in for a workout by the New York Jets, but he did not sign with them immediately. Instead, Robert was signed by the San Diego Chargers for the preseason and was then cut after the last game. Robert felt that his performances were enough to earn a starting job even though he found himself still searching for an NFL team. When everyone thought the Jets were done making their final roster cuts, they decided to make one more move. In a surprise move, the Jets then cut incumbent starter T.J. Conley in favor of signing Robert to be the starting punter.
I would like to stress again that Coach Zauner's Free Agent Specialist's Combine is not just meant to help young men on 'A Specialist's Path to PRO Football', but designed to help anyone that is currently on that path whether they are a NFL veteran of a decade or a rookie looking to break into the league. It is a platform that was created to expand the opportunities of any kicking specialist with talent and give them a chance to show case their skills in front of NFL coaches and scouts.
Matt Overton - UFL Florida Tuskers and Omaha Nighthawks.
In the previous four years, Matt Overton has used Coach Zauner's One on One Snapping Lessons, PRO Development Camps & Free Agent Specialist's Kicking Combine to refine his snapping technique and receive NFL and UFL exposure.
In 2009, I had the pleasure of meeting long snapper Matt Overton of Western Washington University. Now, before I speak about Matt, I would first like to mention that his desire to play professional football has put him in the position he is in today. Matt would constantly send me updates of his snapping techniques and videos while also calling to get my opinion and approval.
As Matt and I were talking one afternoon he even apologized about being so direct and enthusiastic about becoming a better snapper. I immediately told him to never apologize for trying to maximize his abilities and that and I wanted him to continue to send me film while I would try my very best to offer him an opportunity to live his dream.
|Matt Overton One on One Long Snapping Lesson - 2009|
Matt contacted me in 2009 because he was interested in receiving some One on One Snapping Lessons. He had previous experience of being signed as an undrafted free agent by the Seattle Seahawks and played a season in the AFL2. During his snapping lesson, he showed that he could be a very good snapper, but still needed more technique work and more consistency. Matt followed up his lessons with attending my inaugural Free Agent Specialist's Kicking Combine. Matt competed well at the event and was then signed by the Florida Tuskers for the inaugraul UFL season.
|All Three Attended Coach Zauner's 2010 Free Agent Combine|
Omaha Nighthawks Specialists: Jeff Wolfert / Matt Overton / Justin Brantley
After Matt's season with the Tuskers, he returned again to the Free Agent Specialist's Kicking Combine to showcase his skills. Following the Kicking Combine, Matt was again signed by the Seahawks, but was subsequently released. Matt then signed with the UFL Omaha Nighthawks, but his desire to play in the NFL still burned inside. He then returned to Phoenix again to attend my 2011 January PRO Development Camp for Punters and Snappers. Each time that I had the pleasure of working with Matt, his passion of being a great long snapper showed as he always returned more consistent and in better shape.
|Matt Overton At 2012 Free Agent Kicking Combine Showing Blocking Skills|
|Matt Overton At 2012 Free Agent Kicking Combine Demonstrating Coverage Skills|
This past spring, Matt was back yet again competing in the Free Agent Kicking Combine looking to find his home in the NFL, and hopefully it was his last trip. Matt showed again his work ethic and enthusiasm as his intensity to compete was at an all time high.
Impressed with his all around ability, the Indianapolis Colts brought Matt in for a tryout after the Combine and subsequently signed him to a free agent contract as he beat out incumbent starter Justin Snow during the training camp's final roster cuts.
Matt is a prime example of a young man who's passion and determination has earned him the right to call himself an NFL long snapper. This personal drive will help Matt overcome any obstacle that life has to throw at him and he will always succeed. Good luck to Matt and may he continue to live his dream!
|Matt Overton Makes 2012 Colts Final Roster|
Swayze Waters - Free Agent Raiders, Steelers and Jets
Each of these young men have their own unique 'Specialist's Path to PRO Football' and Swayze Waters (University of Alabama Birmingham) is no different. Swayze came to me after being cut by the Detroit Lions in the 2009 season. Trying to stay involved in football, he traveled to Phoenix for the Free Agent Combine Evaluations. Swayze is a dual punter and kicker and I felt that he had the potential to make a career as a specialist in PRO football.
|Swayze Waters Working on Technique During a One on One Punting and Kicking Lesson|
It was about this time that I had mentioned to Swayze about the possibility of playing in the Canadian Football League (CFL). As he entertained the idea, I stressed to him the importance of dual kickers and punters in the CFL and that teams would be more than happy to have someone of his ability on their roster. Because he had not been able to remain on a roster long enough to gather any statistics, I felt that he needed to add to his football resume and the CFL could be the perfect place to start.
At the 2012 Free Agent Specialist's Kicking Combine, Swayze was again turning heads of teams, notably Toronto Argonauts special teams coach, Mike O'Shea. However, because CFL teams were still under the impression Swayze was set on playing in the NFL, Mike did not pursue him immediately.
During the 2012 NFL Draft, Swayze was then signed by the New York Jets who felt that he could compete to win the starting kicking job during the off season. No more than a week later, Swayze was informed that the Jets had signed kicker Josh Brown and would no longer require his services. Swayze called me in shock, as he picked the Jets over three other teams because he felt they would offer him the best chance to compete.
Swayze holds his religion very close to him, and it helps drive him day in and day out. Ultimately, he accepted his situation and feels that each of us has a plan. Sometimes when bad things happen, they happen for a reason.
|Swayze Waters Caught The Eye of The CFL (Canadian Football League) Coaches|
Due To His Ability To Punt, Kick Field Goals and Kickoff
With most NFL rostered filled in May it was very quiet on the NFL front, Swayze felt that indeed trying to play in the CFL held the best chance for him to play PRO football, and create another path to play in the NFL. Swayze was then brought in by the Edmonton Eskimos to compete for a spot on their roster. He immediately impressed the coaching staff, however bad luck came again because of the CFL import/non-import rule. Swayze was then released due to simple roster numbers.
Luckily, Coach O'Shea caught wind of Swayze's availability and promptly flew him to Toronto for a tryout. O'Shea had remembered Swayze from his performance at the Free Agent Kicking Combine and after an injury to their long time CFL kicking specialist Noel Prefontaine, he was ecstatic for the opportunity to have Swayze on the Argonauts team.
|Swayze Waters Playing in 2012 For Toronto Argonauts|
Swayze's path has led him to the CFL, but his pursuit of an NFL career has not yet been completed. I know that Swayze will continue to succeed and I hope that one day he will achieve his dream of playing in the NFL. His path will be similar to those who have made the transition from the CFL to the NFL such as Mike Vanderjagt (Colts), Shawn Suisham (Steelers) and Jon Ryan (Seahawks). I wish him the best of luck, and look forward to seeing where his future takes him.
'A Specialist's Path to PRO Football' is a path that is in the eye of the beholder. Whether it is playing in the NFL, CFL, UFL or AFL, each kicking specialist deserves their chance to follow that path. There are obstacles in life that these young men and many others have overcome and have yet still to meet. It's those with the passion, drive, work ethic and ability to fight back when everyone else says 'NO' that sets them apart.
I thrive on the role of a kicking coaching because of success stories like these and the satisfaction of helping specialists find their own path and conquering it! I'm glad to see that Coach Zauner, LLC Programs are working, but as I say, 'Coaches Coach and Players Play'.
Click below to listen to testimonials from Malone, Overton and Waters on Coach Zauner, LLC Programs:
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