Atlanta Training Session Recap: April 12, 2015
PATIENCE LEADS TO AN OPPORTUNITY FOR ONE ON ONE KICKING TRAINEE RAY EARLY
By: One On One Kicking Head Writer, Zach Harig
“Patience is a virtue,” is the saying followed by many but former Furman kicker and punter, Ray Early, has to be the biggest believer of that saying. Following a standout career at Furman – in which he kicked for four years and punted for two – it became time for Early to take his career to the next level, or so he thought.
After a senior season in which he made 20-of-23 field goal attempts, Early’s NFL stock was rising following his graduation. Despite being from a smaller school, Early was greeted by nearly every NFL team for his pro day, with a chance to prove his worth to a NFL franchise. However, there was someone else there to greet Early on his pro day – Mother Nature. Scouts flocked to Greenville, South Carolina to mainly watch offensive lineman, Dakota Dozier, a top prospect going into the draft. This attention for a small school specialist such as Early was exactly what was needed to show off his potential.
“I feel like I didn’t have the best pro day,” Early stated, “There were a lot of teams there but it was cold, rainy, and windy. I just punted about ten balls and the result wasn’t good,” Early added.
Following the letdown at the pro day, Early and those around him still saw the NFL potential and the chance of getting him signed into the league. As the draft came to a close, Early waited for the phone to ring for a NFL tryout – and it did, just not with the tryout that Early expected.
“The Kansas City Chiefs really liked me so they were talking to me,” said Early, “But they called me after the draft and said Cairo Santos was still available, so they took him first and I was out of that.”
Aside from the Chiefs, Early also landed a kicking workout with the Detroit Lions prior to the draft. However, their interest in Early went out the window following their seventh-round selection, kicker Nate Freese of Boston College.
Early still remembers the feeling following the draft and the passing of undrafted free-agent signings, “That feeling sucked. I thought for sure that I had the capability to kick in the NFL,” he continued, “But I had to keep my head up and keep getting better while hoping for a better opportunity.”
This past November, a mutual friend introduced Early to Adam Shreiner, a kicking instructor with One On One Kicking. After getting to know Shreiner, Early was referred to One On One founder, Mike McCabe and his pro-training sessions.
There, Early worked with several top college specialists along with NFL hopefuls.
“NFL training was really good, there were five or six other guys training and it was great to be around guys who can kick and punt like that. Coach McCabe gave us really good direction and I definitely learned a lot,” Early added.
The One On One Kicking NFL training program is a two to three month session that has had some recognizable names, including Kansas City Chiefs kicker, Cairo Santos and former seventh-round draft pick, Nate Freese. Aside from them, the One On One Pro Training Development series also trained great former college specialists such as former Tennessee punter Matt Darr, NFL combine invitee and Baylor punter, Spencer Roth, UAB kicker, Ty Long and Michigan State punter, Mike Sadler.
Early focused on getting better on his own following the disappointment, but the learning from Coach McCabe was a true benefit, “Coach McCabe pays a lot of attention to detail and is really big on the drillwork and drop-phase of the punt. I’ve gotten a lot better since working with him and I’ve learned a lot.”
While the NFL is on standby for Early, his professional career isn’t over by any means. In fact, Early landed a tryout with the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League and certainly feels prepared for the opportunity. “I’ve been focusing more on punting,” Early stated on his readiness and all-around ability for the tryout, “I feel like my kicking has been there and there are no problems with kickoffs. I feel like I’m in a good spot right now and I’m still doing a lot of drill work.”
For Early, one thing has stuck out in his mind as for what made him better since his NFL dreams were crushed – for now, “My time with Coach McCabe got me a lot of experience,” he stated, looking back, “Bobby Cowan (another One On One Pro Development trainee) has been to Rams and Raiders’ camps and I worked with a lot of bigger school specialists, which was awesome.”
Patience is the name of the game after dreams are crushed. Just because something doesn’t happen right away, doesn’t mean it can’t happen at a later point, as is the case for Ray Early. One On One Kicking and Mike McCabe have helped prepare Early for his journey as he strives to continue his professional career.
Mike Bernier to Join Nick Bruno at Eastern Illinois
A lot of times when recruits commit to smaller schools, they want more and they wish they would have gotten a bigger offer or a better home. However, that isn’t the case with Eastern Illinois commit, Mike Bernier of Madison, Alabama and Bob Jones high school.
“Mike is really excited about going to Eastern Illinois,” One On One Kicking founder, Mike McCabe stated on Bernier’s commitment, “A lot of kids ask for more but he’s not that guy, he likes what he has and he knows God has a plan for him.”
Bernier has been training with One On One Kicking for nearly a year since meeting Mike McCabe at a camp held at The University of Alabama-Birmingham. Since then, Bernier has been learning from McCabe, both on and off of the field. “He (McCabe) definitely pushes the books,” Bernier said on his kicking coach, “There are a lot of kids with huge legs but they don’t have the grades.”
Despite being the best specialist coach in the country, Mike McCabe takes his trainees under his wing away from the field as well. “He sends me texts all of the time checking up on me,” Bernier stated on McCabe, “He’s just a really genuine guy. I was a late bloomer but we worked hard to get me a scholarship.”
Bernier, a late commit to Eastern Illinois, will join fellow One On One Kicking trainee and All-American, Nick Bruno. Bruno was named FCS Freshman All-American after his outstanding performance as a true freshman with the Panthers – handling field goal, punting, and kickoff duties.
“I think it’s a great combination at Eastern Illinois,” Coach Mike McCabe stated, “It gives Nick Bruno time to focus on field goals and kickoffs rather than all three duties and it really takes pressure off of him.”
Bernier, the incoming freshman punter, will relieve Bruno of punting duties, allowing him to focus on field goals and kickoffs. The One On One Kicking trainees will both benefit from each other’s presence, “They both come from the same company and both know how to help each other,” McCabe stated on the Eastern Illinois duo.
Bruno and Bernier have gotten close since meeting at a One On One Kicking summer camp, “We were good buddies down here at camp and were partners the entire time,” Bernier stated on his soon-to-be teammate.
Without Coach McCabe and One On One Kicking, Mike Bernier says he might not be heading to Eastern Illinois. “McCabe told me to push through,” Bernier stated, “People might say I’m not big enough to go play somewhere, but you have to work harder to earn the scholarship.”
Despite being a relatively new One On One Kicking trainee, Mike Bernier dedicated himself to landing a scholarship. With the help of One On One founder, Mike McCabe, Bernier was able to obtain an offer from Eastern Illinois and will be playing right away as a freshman in 2015. “He has great work ethic, perfects his craft, and does his drill work at a consistent basis,” said Coach McCabe, “And he’s just a great kid.”
Watch out for Eastern Illinois and their One On One Kicking trained specialists – All-American, Nick Bruno and newcomer, Mike Bernier.
One On One Kicking Trainee Signs AFL Contract after training with Coach McCabe down in Pensacola, Florida. The Philadelphia Soul signed Tommy Frevert to a contract on April 1, 2015. Tommy has been working very hard with Coach McCabe over the past few months. Now it’s time for Tommy to takes his skills to the next level. Way to go Tommy!!!
Former UAB Commit Matt Bonadies, “God Had A Plan”
Written by, One On One Kicking Head Write, Zach Harig
The College Football world was taken by storm on December 2, 2014 when the University of Alabama-Birmingham announced it was shutting down their football program. At the time, the country gave their full attention to the current players at UAB who gave their hearts to the Blazer football program. However, there were several recruits who committed to UAB and were left searching for other homes. One of those Blazer commits was One On One Kicking trainee, Matt Bonadies. Bonadies had committed to head coach Bill Clark and UAB in July after receiving an offer and falling in love with the program. Once the program had shut down, one of the top kickers in the Class of 2015 had thoughts that he may not get a chance to play big-time college football.
Bonadies recalls finding out the program was being shut down and having thoughts it was too late to receive another offer. “At the very beginning I thought it’s so late in the process, I’ve missed five months of recruiting after committing. But I built up my confidence after training with Coach McCabe and Dawson Zimmerman and looked forward to a future scholarship because I knew I could achieve it.”
And achieve, he did. Just a few days following the UAB shutdown, Bonadies received calls from UMass, Southern Miss, Georgia State and Eastern Kentucky. Following these calls, three preferred walk-on offers came from Western Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky and Kennesaw State. However, one call would change everything for Bonadies and his family.
Bonadies planned several official visits to find another home prior to signing day.
However, Middle Tennessee State would change those plans, “Middle Tennessee State called me and the first time they asked if they offered me a scholarship if I would visit their school before the other schools. That really stood out to me,” Bonadies stated, “None of the other schools said anything about a full scholarship offer.”
The offer from MTSU turned the tables for Bonadies, “I felt extremely excited because that’s when my spirits turned around. I had the potential of going there and starting right away.”
Despite being one of the top kickers in the Class of 2015, One On One Kicking founder, Mike McCabe has worked with Bonadies to improve his punting ability.
“Matt reminds me a lot of Pat McAfee of the Indianapolis Colts because Pat was a kicker turned punter as well,” McCabe stated on Bonadies, “He has great work ethic. Matt really studies his drill sheet and works extremely hard. We really expect Matt to have a great college career and do big things,” McCabe added.
For Bonadies, he will go to Middle Tennessee State assigned the duties of kickoff and punting. However, the thankful Bonadies says without One On One Kicking this may not have been possible.
“Honestly, Coach McCabe was the first person that called me after UAB shutdown and he said it’s on and that we’re going to work harder and get something better,” Bonadies said on One On One Kicking’s involvement in the situation, “McCabe told me this was meant to happen. I continued the year-round training and refined myself in the punting aspect of things with One On One.”
Bonadies now has the opportunity to go into Middle Tennessee State and play right away, which he says is truly a blessing. “God had a plan, when one door closed, another opened,” Bonadies stated, “I am stoked. I’m going into a school and starting right away which is a true blessing and I plan on really contributing to the team.”
Three New One On One Kicking Commitments
This past weekend, we had three One On One Kicking Trainees commit to play at the next level. We want to congratulate the following trainees on their commitments….
Joe DiFillippo commits to Furman
Brent Gordan commits to Old Dominion
Mike Bernier commits to Eastern Illinois
We want to congratulate all of our One On One Kicking Trainees for working hard and having the opportunity to play at the next level.
Class of 2015 Commits
Nick Vogel – Southern Miss
Austin Seibert – Oklahoma
John Bowers – Rutgers*
Nick Rubinowicz – Maryland
Blake Best – Kentucky
Matt Bonadies – Middle Tennessee State
Wes Farnsworth – Nevada
Alex Craft – Air Force
Rodrigo Blankeship – Georgia*
Jameson Vest – Air Force
Mason McLean – Jacksonville State
Austin Parker – Duke
Trevor Owens – Middle Tennessee State
Jordan Laube – Bryant*
Josh Leon – Bentley
Zach Kolodny – CW Post
Ivy Wall – Southeastern Louisiana
Justin Rohrwasser – Rhode Island
James Bedell – Uconn*
Nick Pritchard – Maryland*
Vince Gallo – Stonehill*
Jake Tilghman – Florida*
Sam Hayworth – Eastern Kentucky
Mike Caggiano – UMass
Alex Lucansky – Stony Brook
Joe Rauseo – Wayne State College
Jake Monteiro – Rutgers*
JD Mote – Army
Javaunie Francis – Bethune Cookman University
Brad Hodgson – Jacksonville University
Chandler Carrera – Glenville
Kenton Presley – Bluefield College
Caleb Dyer – Harding University
Jason Gangwisch – Florida Tech
Grayson Pontius – East Miss CC
Tyler Flathau – Mississippi Gulf Coast CC
Leo Vagias – Rhode Island
Joshua Boham – Kennesaw State*
Isaac Mercado – Valparaiso University
Liam Hedge – Hampden-Sydney College
Gavin Haggerty – Rutgers*
Luke Galvin – New Mexico Military
James Flannery – Ohio Dominican University
Will Tommie – Tusculum College
Joe DiFillippo – Furman*
Brent Gordan – Old Dominion
Mike Bernier – Eastern Illinois
Gavin Haggerty – Rutgers*
Alex Reider – Rochester
Winston Smith – Air Force
CLASS OF 2016 ALABAMA KICKERS PURSUE BIG DREAMS
Competitors on the field aren’t always friends off of the field. However, for One On One Kicking trainees, AJ Reed and Sage Ledbetter, the two have gotten extremely close since meeting at a One On One camp nearly four years ago. Since then, both Reed and Ledbetter have been training with One On One Kicking founder, Mike McCabe along with coach, Brian Egan at the Birmingham Elite division.
Just months ago, Reed and Ledbetter attended the Kohl’s Underclassman Challenge, where both received top-ten national rankings in the Class of 2016 from Kohl’s Kicking – the national ranking source for specialists.
From an individual perspective, Sage Ledbetter, a left-footed kicker from Auburn High School in Alabama, was ranked tenth in the class by Kohl’s and says it’s a great honor but it’s more of motivation. “It’s a great honor but it just makes me want to work to become number one,” he stated.
Aside from wanting the number one ranking, Ledbetter says he knows what it takes to be number one in the class. “Being number one takes a lot of commitment and determination, you have to focus on technique,” Ledbetter continued, “If you’re number one you need to strike your A-ball 24/7 and your misses need to go in.”
Following the Kohl’s Kicking camp and national ranking, the Auburn, Alabama product was able to visit Auburn University on their junior day and said it was a great visit, “It was great, I really enjoyed the Auburn facilities, coaching staff and it was a great atmosphere.”
Aside from Ledbetter – Prattville, Alabama product, AJ Reed, was ranked sixth in the Class of 2016 by Kohl’s Kicking. Reed, who visited LSU following the ranking for their junior day, says he is very excited about his national ranking as well.
“I see it as a great opportunity,” Reed stated, “Just this December, I went to Kohl’s and he didn’t really know me. I had a good showing and ended up sixth in the nation. I wasn’t near this a few months ago. If you keep listening to your coaches, it can happen and it has changed me.”
For both Reed and Ledbetter, the national rankings are a big step but without One On One Kicking, they both agree the rankings may not have been obtainable.
Brian Egan, the director of Birmingham Elite, was a kicker himself at Mississippi State in the SEC. Reed and Ledbetter, who are both potential SEC recruits, have a coach in Egan who has played at the level that they want to be at.
“Coach Egan is a cool guy, I really like training with him,” Reed stated on working with Egan, one of his mentors. “He’s always giving me constructive criticism and he’ll tell you when you do good but he’s focused on what you need to improve on. He’s a great coach, he’ll be at school to work with you if you need him and he puts in a lot of work for us, I wouldn’t be here without him.”
Coach Egan, Ledbetter, and Reed are all extremely close. Since Reed and Ledbetter began to train with One On One Kicking after their freshman years, the two have become best friends. Despite going to separate high schools, they find time to train together and constantly communicate.
“AJ (Reed) and I are best friends, we’ve grown tight,” Ledbetter stated on his friendship with one of his biggest competitors in the Class of 2016, “We always talk and kick every Sunday together.”
The friendship between Ledbetter and Reed with the training of Coach Brian Egan is what One On One Kicking is all about. While on the field, Ledbetter and Reed are able to share advice and work to better one another. Ledbetter and Reed are two of the biggest legs in the Class of 2016 and are two names to watch out for, especially as they continue to train with the best of the best in One On One Kicking.
The Bud Asher Event was a HUGE SUCCESS!!! Below you will see some GoPro shots from the day. More pictures will be uploaded throughout the next couple of weeks. Want to extend a big thank you once again for all those that attended the event back in February. We cannot wait to do it again next year. Thank you again to all those who attended, helped, donated, and too all that may this event such a huge success for the kids and their families!
Over 240 kids from thirteen different states came to represent at the second annual Bud Asher Kickback to Central Florida clinic over the weekend in Daytona Beach. The Bud Asher event, once again free to all participants was held at Mainland High School in Daytona Beach, Florida with some of the biggest names in the kicking and punting industry in both college and the NFL. One On One Kicking coach, Dan Lundy was very close with the late Bud Asher, who was more than just a football coach – he was an inspiration.
“The nickname I’ve tagged him (Bud Asher) with is ‘The Forest Gump’ of football,” said Mainland high school special teams coordinator and One On One director of kicking, Dan Lundy, “He was a 40-year football coach and he aspired to do bigger things. He was a head football coach at Bethune-Cookman right here in Daytona and he was a head football coach at nine area high schools – both public and private – from 1955-2001. From there he went on and owned the Jacksonville Sharks of the old AFL and was a scout for the Raiders in the last thirteen years of his life because he was so involved and networked so well.”
However, Asher was more than just a football coach. In the Mainland and Florida communities, Asher was a true inspiration. Aside from football, Asher served as the mayor of Daytona for two terms and was a circuit court judge all at the same time as being involved in football. After learning from Bud Asher for several years, Coach Lundy decided after Asher’s death in July of 2013, he was going to do something to remember him.
“I would sit down with Bud and his wife every Tuesday night and we’d just talk about life, which obviously led him into football because that was a large part of who he was and I always told him that when he left this world, I was going to do something to remember him. At the time, I didn’t know what that something was but as years went on, I decided to do this for the first time and it was a great experience so I wanted to do it again,” said Lundy.
Coach Lundy and One On One Kicking not only did the event again – they outdid themselves by nearly doubling the event attendance. The attendance of nearly 130 players a year ago rose to nearly 260 this year due in part to the long distance travel of several parents and families.
Parents chose to bring their young athletes from all over, including Lewis Poore of Anderson, South Carolina. Poore and his fifteen year old son, Chance flew down and got a hotel for the event. “When we heard the NFL and college guys were going to be here, we wanted to come down,” Poore stated, “A lot of the guys at One On One encouraged us to come down because they said you get to meet a lot of people – we met Pat O’Donnell and Ryan Quigley yesterday and they spent some time with us, we were on cloud nine.”
The Bud Asher event – free to all participants provides young athletes with the training and mentorship of some of the best in the business, including NFL specialists along with some of the top college kickers and punters in the country, “It’s incredible that it’s free,” said Poore, “I would fly to California if it’s free because these guys from One On One are giving him the personal touch to perfect what he’s doing.”
Miami Dolphins kicker Caleb Sturgis and Kansas City Chiefs kicker, Cairo Santos have been training with Coach Dan Lundy and One On One for several years and now that they’re each in the NFL, they have no problem giving back.
“When I was these kids’ age in high school and aspiring to go play in college somewhere, Coach Lundy and One On One Kicking always had an older guy or a pro guy come to camps and clinics to teach us,” said Santos, who is the first Brazilian born player in NFL history, “I appreciated those guys when I was that age and I want to give back to those guys who helped me out to get me to where I am today. I love coming here, I don’t see it as a hassle or taking time from my offseason, it’s a pleasure to come back here and help a kids’ dream.”
“It’s so nice to be able to give back,” Dolphins kicker Caleb Strugis stated, “Being able to help high schoolers who may not be able to go to every event or a weekly event is nice, we can give them something to help get them to the next level and it’s nice to give back in that way.”
Coach Dan Lundy has been building One On One Kicking’s ‘Daytona Elite’ division over the years and the community support truly showed over the weekend. Lundy was so honored that he was nearly brought to tears talking about the support.
“We sat down at lunch as a staff today and I was literally tearing up because I know that for these NFL players, this is their down time. This is their time to spend with family, go on vacation and do those things that you work so hard to do,” Lundy stated on the NFL guys flying themselves to the event. “I thank these guys from the bottom of my heart because they made a kids’ day today and this is something that they will never forget in their life.”
This year’s Bud Asher event included 37 NFL and college specialists to help teach every facet of being a specialist – kicking, punting, long snapping and even Atlanta Falcons defensive back Ricardo Allen was present to teach young athletes footwork and help out in a drill for skills players.
“I’m coming back to show my face and give back to this Mainland community,” stated Allen, a former Mainland Buc in high school who then went on to Purdue and is now making a name for himself in the NFL, “Coach Asher was one of the guys that actually gave me my chance of playing when he put me on special teams as a young buck. With this event being named after him, you have to show pride because he’s one of the most prideful people I’ve ever met.”
Kids from 1st through 12th grades were present in Daytona Beach with all different skill levels. Even elementary school athletes showed great promise and learned a lot from the coaches at One On One – Chris Ginther, a local father from Port Orange stated how much his nine-year old son Noah enjoys seeing the pros and working with them, “Noah really enjoys it and it’s really just a great experience. I was here last year and it has nearly doubled, Noah loves seeing and working with the professional and college guys.”
Overall, it was a great time for not only the young athletes that came out to train, but the collegiate and profession specialists. Coach Dan Lundy has done a great job promoting Bud Asher’s name through this great event and several families came together for an outstanding turnout. Lundy says this is an event that will continue for several years and with the great coaching and community support, he hopes to grow it even larger next year.
The #1-rated Training Facility for Specialists in the Country, One On One Kicking, is Partnering with the Palm Beach County Sports Commission and will Host the Lou Groza Football Kicking Clinic.
PALM BEACH, FL., – One On One Kicking will be the official sponsor of the Lou Groza Kicking Clinic, which will be held on Monday, December 8 at Cardinal Newman High School from 2:45 – 4:00pm. Coaches Mike McCabe, Dan Lundy, and Anthony Bugeja have trained 12 out of the last 13 Lou Groza High School Kicker of the Year award winners.
The clinic is open to aspiring kickers of all ages and will be instructed by the One On One staff. Participants will be competing against the three National Finalists for the 2014 Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award including Robert Aguayo of Florida State, Brad Craddock of Maryland, and Josh Lambert of West Virginia.
A list of Lou Groza High School Place-Kicker of the Year Award Winners who were trained by One On One Kicking includes:
- Paul Shumacker
- Kings Academy, 2013
- Cameron Golob
- Palm Beach Central, 2012
- Bobby Puyol
- William T. Dwyer, 2011
- David Bicknell
- Boca Raton Community, 2010
- Cody Parkey
- Jupiter Community, 2009
- Patrick O’Donnell
- Palm Beach Central, 2008
- Sal DiMauro
- Boca Raton, 2006
- Matt Bosher
- Jupiter, 2004 & 2005
- Tony Ciaravino
- Boca Raton, 2003
- Brian Monroe
- Palm Beach Gardens, 2001 & 2002
A current list of NFL professionals that One On One Kicking trains or have trained include:
- Johnny Hekker
- Louis Rams Punter
- All-Pro / NFL Record 44.2 Net Punting Avg.
- Ryan Allen
- New England Patriots Punter
- Ray Guy Award Winner 2011 & 2012
- Ryan Quigley
- New York Jets Punter
- Caleb Sturgis
- Miami Dolphins Kicker
- 2013 5th Round Pick
- Cairo Santos
- Kansas City Chiefs Kicker
- Lou Groza Award Winner 2012
- Cody Parkey
- Philadelphia Eagles Kicker
- Marquette King
- Oakland Raiders Punter
- Matt Bosher
- Atlanta Falcons Punter
- 2011 6th Round Pick
- Pat O’Donnell
- Chicago Bears Punter
- 2014 6th Round Pick
- Pat McAfee
- Indianapolis Colts Punter
- Garrett Hartley
- Former Super Bowl Kicker
- Blair Walsh
- Minnesota Vikings Kicker
- Nate Freese
- 2014 7th Round Pick