Texas State Kicking Greatness Continues
Written by: Rivals.com Writer Zach Harig
An overlooked aspect of football is the punting game. One team not overlooking the punting and field position aspect of college football is Texas State. Three years ago, the Bobcats brought in dual-threat specialist Will Johnson from Bryan, Texas. Johnson, now one of the top kickers and punters in college football, has been training with One On One Kicking for several years. “Our coach met some of the One On One coaches at a coaching clinic and it sounded like a good deal. They got me when I was going into my sophomore year of college when we went to Prattville to train, last year we went to Pensacola and now this year in Mobile.”
“Will has improved his consistency and his power,” One On One Kicking Coach Luke Gaddis stated on the past three years with Will Johnson, “In the college training sessions we get to see his pop, maturity and consistency. He’s better at handling pressure situations now, whether it’s training with us or game situations that our coaches put him in. Will’s progress has been impressive to watch, I’ve been around Chris Boswell, Nate Freese, and NFL guys like that, and Johnson is right up there with him. Will has a huge leg with amazing potential,” Gaddis said.
Johnson has been through certain things in his life that set him apart from several other kickers and punters. “I lost my dad last year,” Johnson said, “After he passed away, I didn’t know if I even wanted to kick anymore because he wasn’t at my games. This year, I’ve been hitting the ball well and now I want to make it to the next level for him.”
Johnson has begun to find himself with the Bobcats. During his junior season last year, Johnson punted 41 balls for an average of 44 yards. Johnson also specialized in pinning his opponent deep in Texas State territory, ranking eighth in college football with over 46% of his punts being inside of the twenty-yard line. Johnson also registered a 65-yard punt against Louisiana last season and holds the school-record for longest field goal with a 54-yarder against New Mexico State in his sophomore season.
“Will has an awesome work ethic, he’s always paying attention to detail,” said Will’s One On One Kicking coach, Luke Gaddis, “He’s always looking to get better despite his big ball. You would think a guy like him would sit back and think, ‘Sweet I got this,’ but not him. Whether it’s a 20-yard field goal or a 50-yard field goal, Will is always looking to be consistent.”
One thing that Johnson enjoys about One On One Kicking is how he gets to work with the younger high school guys. “With One On One, they helped me be able to coach myself and learn how to coach others, they get a lot out of you and you get to work with the younger kids.” Johnson will need to learn how to coach because he now has someone looking up to him. Incoming freshman punter, James Sherman out of Montgomery, Alabama will most likely redshirt this fall while learning under Johnson and then be thrown into the fire in 2015.
“James may look up to me and what not, but I look up to him as well,” Johnson said on his younger teammate, “He’s been with One On One since he was in eighth grade and he’s really helped me a lot. He’s young but he really knows what he’s doing, he always helps me with drill work. I expected James to end up at a bigger school, so it was a great get by Texas State.”
James is an unbelievable dual-threat kicking and punting prospect that has been with One on One for several years now. “I was in eighth grade so I was a little boy,” Sherman said, “The first day I learned so much from Coach McCabe and from there we’ve developed a great relationship.”
Now that Johnson is a senior and Sherman is an incoming freshman, they’ll have one year together with the Bobcats. “I met Will two years ago in Prattville, we were doing a competition with college against high school guys,” James said on the first meeting with his soon-to-be teammate, “He said he went to Texas State and I was really confused because I didn’t know that was even a school. Will seemed like a good guy then and ever since our relationship has been pretty sweet.”
As for One On One, James Sherman says he has learned a large amount from Coach Gaddis and Coach McCabe at One On One. “They’ve helped me a lot,” Sherman said, “I’ve learned so much about kicking, more than I could ever really imagine knowing. I’ve met a lot of guys through college and pro training and watch them move up through the ranks. When they say One On One is the best of the best, they mean it with all of the NFL guys that come out here to train.”
Now for Sherman, he gets to learn from one on the best punters in college football while enjoying time off the field with him as well, “I’m excited about it,” Sherman said on spending time with Will. “I’ve been able to spend the past few weeks with Will, he has a huge leg and such a great attitude about it, I’m excited to be along on the journey with him. He just works so hard.”
As Johnson said, Sherman has taught him so much, “It’s interesting,” Sherman said on teaching a kicker who is three years older, “He tells me that I teach him a lot sometimes and I’m flabbergasted, I don’t understand how that’s possible. For me, he taught me so much about the university that I wouldn’t know with him, I would be failing on a lot of things if he didn’t teach or tell me. It just takes a lot of pain out of the high school to college switch.”
Working with two outstanding Texas State kickers is something fun for One on One’s Director of Kicking, Dan Lundy, who trains both kickers. “It’s definitely an experience,” Lundy said, “You’re talking about one of the best kickers in the Class of 2014 in James Sherman and one of the best legs coming out of college in Will Johnson. You get to see that Will Johnson is in going into his senior year, he has a lot to prove and he’s trying to get to the next level. Then you have someone like James who’s going to be a freshman who most likely will redshirt under Will. Once the time Will graduates, James will get some experience and be ready to start as a redshirt freshman.”
Texas State has bolstered their special teams for the next few years. They already have one of the top punters in the country in Will Johnson, now they’re looking to continue that for the next five years by bringing in James Sherman.