Profiles in Terpage wraps up its march through the special teams today (I know, I'm sad too) with a look at the projected starting place kicker. How did you feel about Craddock during his Freshman season? Yeah, I don't really blame you. How did you feel about Craddock after his Sophomore season? I'll let that sink in for a moment and let you contemplate how much improvement the young Aussie had.
Brad Craddock, Junior, Place Kicker, #15
Collegiate Stats: 73.25 FG%, Touchbacks on 13.5% of kickoffs
High School Stats (Senior Year): N/A (never played!)
247sports composite Ratings: N/A, but 4 1/2 stars from Chris Sailer kicking.
High School: Tabor Christian College
Hometown: Adelaide, Australia
High School Highlights:
How'd He Get to College Park?
I'm glad you asked! Because Brad's arrival in College Park is an interesting one. Having grown up in Australia, Craddock never even played American football until he arrived in College Park. He grew up playing soccer, tennis, track, and Aussie rules football in Adelaide. It was that last one, Aussie rules, that helped him develop the leg strength to be a kicker in American football. An injury in high school prevented him from being able to play Aussie rules for a while, but he was able to work on his leg strength, which got him noticed by one of Edsall's old punters from U-Conn, who then told Edsall he should take a look at Craddock. After watching the film, Edsall saw a strong leg that needed refinement; and he took the gamble.
Profiling the entire team
There's also this great video, produced by the school.
When Craddock reached College Park, it was expected that he would sit a year behind senior incumbent Nick Ferrara. However, shortly before the season started, Ferrara suffered an injury that ended up proving to be season ending. Craddock won the starting job going into the first game, making his lone XP attempt and missing his lone FG attempt in a 7-6 Terps victory. The rest of the season was a roller coaster, hitting only 62.5% of his field goals and going 23/25 on XPs. The kick that will stick out in fans' minds is the missed game winning FG against NCSU that ultimately dinged off the left upright. That could would ultimately lead to Craddock's benching in favor of walk-on Magistro.
However, it's amazing what one year of training, hard work, and dedication can do. In his Sophomore season, Craddock would improve to 84% on FGs, hit 37 of 38 XPs, and get touchbacks on 17.4% of his kickoffs. His career long of 50 yards (which could've hit from 60) came against WVU. The reward for his hard work? A Lou Groza semi-finalist. The fact that he's not on the watch list for the award this season is a crime that you should be irate about.
Oh, and while I'm supposed to just write about his career at MD in this space, I've got a couple other tidbits to throw out here for you all you intrepid readers. First, Craddock complained about having to wear a helmet. He found it distracting. "We don't have them in Aussie rules, and we hit people all the time" [paraphrasing here]. He wants to tackle people more on kickoffs, but has had to be dissuaded to do so by the coaching staff. Second - he's allergic to shellfish. And that means crabs. And yet, he loves crabbing. I'll let Dan Steinberg explain.
There are too many good ones. I'm going with Brad 'Crabkick". I'd love to hear yours.
Being a Lou-Groza award semi-finalist
Winning the Lou Groza award, being consistent from inside 45 yards.
Craddock is the favorite to start this season. Last season he worked with Matt Stover to improve his kicking. Stover praised Craddock for his work ethic and talent. If Craddock has carried that work ethic from 2013 over into 2014, we should see another step in the right direction. His focus has been on extending his range and being automatic from within 45 yards. Keep an eye on that as the season starts.
Our next players include a transfer from a major conference program, the only player on the roster from a local high school power and a player who shares his last name with the main character of a Jim Carrey franchise.
Another new face gets on to the leader board (Terps_roc) as we get a 5 way tie for first place. Hmmm, I think it's time to make these clues a bit harder.