Linfield senior Josh Kay is one of 31 place-kickers nationwide to be lauded by the Fred Mitchell Award committee for their performance on and off the football field during the month of September.
Kay, who was a finalist for the Fred Mitchell Award last season, leads the Wildcats in scoring with 33 points in four games. He has successfully converted five field goals (on nine attempts) and is a spotless 18-of-18 on extra-point attempts. He is also averaging 64 yards on 27 kickoffs. Eleven of his kickoffs have sailed into the end zone for touchbacks.
His last-minute 39-yard field goal against then-10th-ranked Cal Lutheran propelled Linfield to a 33-30 win, sealing the Wildcats’ first victory in Thousand Oaks, Calif., in program history.
He currently leads the Northwest Conference in field goals made and attempted, field goal and PAT percentage, and kick scoring.
“Josh has had a great first month to the season,” said special teams and recruiting coordinator Brandon Hazenberg. “He’s had to break in a new holder and snapper, but he’s dealt with that seamlessly.
“Josh is really a stellar kid in terms of his mindset and that’s not always the case among place-kickers. He’s not afraid of taking the big kick,” said Hazenberg. “His kickoffs have been exceptional, and because of that, our average defensive starting field position has been excellent.”
“September had quite a few college football games decided by late scores by place-kickers, long snappers, holders and blockers on special teams,” said Fred Mitchell, the award’s namesake. “It has been a very exciting start to the college football season. We are pleased to recognize place-kickers that were nominated by their schools for extraordinary performance during the month.”
“The place-kickers we recognize are having tremendous success on the gridiron so far this season,” added Chris Kearney, the award’s Selection Committee Chairman. “Their civic and volunteer activities are having a profound and positive impact in their communities. We are delighted to honor this group.”
Kay’s community service involvement includes serving as a volunteer coach during the summer at a football camp hosted by his alma mater, South Salem High School. He also acts a mentor and role model to young athletes in the youth development program at Courthouse Athletic Club, teaching specialized performance training.
About the Fred Mitchell Award
The annual Fred Mitchell Outstanding Place-Kicker Award is provided to the nation’s top collegiate place-kicker among more than 750 FCS, Division II, III, NAIA and NJCAA football teams. The Award is named for Fred Mitchell, the record-setting place-kicker, Wittenberg University Athletic Hall of Famer, author, philanthropist and Chicago Tribune sports columnist. The recipient of the Fred Mitchell Award will be chosen based on excellence on the football field and in the community. The Award’s Watch List is released each August, top performers are recognized monthly during the college football season, and the winner (who is not required to be on the Watch List) is announced in mid-December. The school of the award winner receives scholarship funds and the Fred Mitchell Award trophy will be presented on February 18, 2013 at the National Football Foundation Chicago Metro Chapter Awards Ceremony at Halas Hall.
A blue-ribbon Selection Committee (listed at www.fredmitchellaward.com) evaluates place-kickers that are nominated by their schools. Members of the Pro and/or College Football Hall of Fame on the Selection Committee include Tom Beck, Kevin Butler, Paul Hornung, Marv Levy, Steve McMichael, Don Pierson and Gale Sayers. Former football players and others that are active in their communities are also on the Selection Committee including Carl Allegretti, Sean Gothier, Teddy Greenstein, Michael Husted, Dan Jiggetts, Rick Kolaczewski, Connie Kowal, Greg Loberg, Tom Lynch, Carol Monroe, Jeff Michalczyk, Mark Murphy, Rob Perry, Jeff Schebler, Caroline Schrenker, Jay Sebben, Bob Thomas, Wolfe Tone, Todd Wilkins, Gary Zauner and Rob Zvonar. There are 10 former college or NFL place-kickers on the Selection Committee, including Schebler (the inaugural Fred Mitchell Award recipient in 2009 and the highest-scoring place-kicker in NCAA history at any level) and Lynch (two-time recipient of the Award and the kicker on the 2011 NAIA National Champion Saint Xavier University Cougars).