Sept. 3, 2010
NACOGDOCHES, Texas -
Following the end of the 2009 season the Lumberjack special teams appeared to be solid for years to come in the kicking game. Freshman kicker Evan Engwall earned all-conference recognition following a rookie season that saw him dominate the Southland Conference Player of the Week award. Along with Engwall, punter Drew Nelson was coming off a strong sophomore season that saw him earn second-team all-conference honors.
Engwall's departure, plus the graduation of the team's top four kick/punt returners has left SFA with some definite question marks. The stability comes from Nelson and senior Dustin Kempf. Nelson has been consistent during his two years on campus. A two-time all-conference selection, Nelson averaged nearly 42 yards per punt last season.
"Drew has done a tremendous job as our punter," said special team coordinator Todd Schonhar. "He did a phenomenal job of flipping the field on opponents last season, as well as pinning team's deep in their own territory. We are very confident with Drew back there."
The other veteran is the deep snapper Dustin Kempf. A 6-5, 240-pound product from La Porte, Texas, Kempf has been the team's deep snapper since the day he set foot on campus.
The Lumberjacks have three kickers fighting to win the starting job, which include Nelson, UTEP transfer Logan Barrett and Thomas Henshaw. Barrett appeared to be the guy before a leg injury during the offseason slowed his progress. Barrett's injury opened the door for Nelson and Henshaw, but the coaching staff would love have Nelson focus only on punting.
"We spend time everyday kicking, and right now we are charting three guys," said Schonhar. "Drew has looked really good in camp, but we would prefer for him to concentrate on punting. We added Logan during the offseason and he is a very talented kicker, but he has been hurt and hasn't been able to get the reps we would like. It's just going to take some time for him to get back to 100 percent."
Henshaw (League City, Texas) is a former five-star recruit according to some publications during his prep career. He battled injuries through the 2009 season but has the ability to lock down the starting position.
Duane Brooks, Contrevious Parks, Vincent Pervis and Aaron Rhea provided SFA with four big-play threats in the return game, but unfortunately all four of those athletes were seniors last season. In 2010 SFA will be looking to sophomores Gralyn Crawford and Anthony Foster, and freshman Mike Brooks to handle returns. Crawford and Foster have proven their big-play ability as wide outs, and provide the 'Jacks with legitimate threats. Brooks, the younger brother of all-time leading receiver Duane Brooks, and also brings a big-play threat to the field.