Top Returning SEC Kickers For 2017

    In a conference littered with All-American contenders, the race to decide the best kicker in the SEC will be extremely competitive throughout the 2017 season.

    March 16, 2017

    In a conference littered with All-American contenders, the race to decide the best kicker in the SEC will be extremely competitive throughout the 2017 season.


    The SEC is known for a lot of things, namely a preponderance of talent attributable to Signing Day success. But beyond the next-level linemen and big-play backs and receivers, the SEC is also home to the best collection of kickers in 2017. The conference will feature three of the top legs in the country, Ole Miss’ Gary Wunderlich, Florida’s Eddy Pineiro and Auburn’s Daniel Carlson, who’ll compete for league and national honors. Outside of the decorated trio, though, Kentucky’s Austin MacGinnis, Georgia’s Rodrigo Blankenship and Vandy’s Tommy Openshaw are also capable of becoming heroes with the sudden swing of their right legs.

    Top Returning SEC Kickers

    3. Gary Wunderlich, Ole Miss

    Wunderlich will begin his final season in Oxford as one of the most reliable and versatile kickers in college football. A year ago, he led the country in field goal accuracy, nailing 22-of-23 field goal tries. The lone miss? A 55-yarder versus Georgia in Week 4. The Second Team All-SEC selection also chipped in alongside regular punter Will Gleeson, averaging 43.7 yards an attempt. Wunderlich will be especially important in 2017, as the Rebels moved forward without last year’s quarterback, top rusher and two best receivers.

    2. Eddy Pineiro, Florida

    For good reason, Florida is over the moon about the upside potential of Pineiro, a one-time soccer star with minimal football experience before becoming a Gator. However, the Miami native has taken to the new sport without many hiccups. In his Gainesville debut, he connected on 21-of-25 field goal attempts, 11 of which were 40 yards or longer. Oh, and he was 3-of-3 beyond 50, including a pair of 54-yarders. Pineiro was also a boon to the D, leading the nation with a kickoff average of 64.8 yards an attempt.

    1. Daniel Carlson, Auburn

    Carlson is arguably the most accomplished returning placekicker in college football, though Wunderlich and Pineiro are not far behind in the debate. Carlson, aptly nicknamed “Legatron”, was a Groza Award finalist a season ago. He was staggeringly consistent and productive in 2016, nailing 28-of-32 field goal tries, including 11-of-14 beyond 40 yards. Carlson is both powerful and clutch late in games, though Tiger coach Gus Malzahn hopes to use his star kicker less on three-pointers and more on extra points in 2017.

    MORE: Top Returning Kickers In College Football

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