Welcome to Specialists Week at Testudo Times. This is the final week of our summer position preview series, which has already covered the quarterbacks, running backs, receivers, offensive linemen, defensive ends, defensive tackles, linebackers and defensive backs. Today, we’ll look at Maryland football’s kickers.
Joseph Petrino, No. 27
Weight: 175 lbs.
Hometown: Richmond Hill, Georgia
High school: Richmond Hill
Kicker is one of the most underrated positions in football.
Aside from Adam Vinatieri and a handful of others, kickers are more often scapegoats than heroes. But the truth is that a good kicker can completely change a game. Be it shortening the field for his offense by virtually guaranteeing three points inside the opposing 35-yard line or forcing the other team to start at their own 25, at best, with strong kickoffs, their value is almost immeasurable.
Maryland hasn’t had a real weapon at kicker since Brad Craddock graduated after the 2015 season. Last year, Henry Darmstadter and Adam Greene split time place kicking while Danny Sutton handled kickoffs; Shinsky was in the mix as well. But in an ideal world, one guy handles all the kicking responsibilities.
Enter: Joseph Petrino, the kicking boy wonder.
In simple terms, Petrino is unbelievable. He can kick a 60-yard field goal with his right foot, move 10 yards closer, and nail a 50-yarder with his left. It’s unlikely that he’ll ever have to use both feet in a game, but the point is he can, and that’s really cool. Maybe a creative onside kick is in his future.
His big leg should help a Maryland offense who struggled to put points on the board last year and give the defense a longer field to defend.
A handful of others are around to provide insurance and competition.
Mike Shinsky, No. 41
Weight: 179 lbs.
Hometown: Towson, Maryland
High school: McDonogh
Bentley Faulkner, No. 97
Weight: 160 lbs.
Hometown: Greensboro, North Carolina
High school: Grimsley HS
Paul Inzerillo, No. 38
Weight: 181 lbs.
Hometown: Staten Island, New York
High school: Monsignor Farrell HS
Matt Barber (K/P), No. 32
Weight: 193 lbs.
Hometown: Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania
High school: Mechanicsburg Area HS
If all goes as planned, none of these guys will see the field this year as Petrino solidifies himself as the kicker of the present and future. But in a pinch, there are some veterans and some new blood.
Shinsky and Barber are the seasoned vets of the group. Shinsky’s big moment came in the 2016 regular-season finale against Rutgers as he nailed a 41-yarder for the Terps’ longest make of the season. Barber hasn’t stepped on the field as a Terp.
Inzerillo holds his high school record with a 53-yard field goal. He walked on before last season and was one of Pete Lembo’s final gifts to Maryland before he left for Rice.
Faulkner was a preferred walk-on this summer. His evaluation on Kohl’s, a site dedicated to kicking of all kinds, reads more like that of a punter, but he can kick as well.