Editors Note: This is the first of a three-part series previewing Iowa State spring football. The second and third pieces will be published Monday and Tuesday. The first spring practice begins Tuesday, March 20.
Grant Mahoney and Zach Guyer were Iowa State’s placekickers the past four years and have exhausted their eligibility. This year the Cyclones start from scratch. Mitch Amundson is a former second-team all-state prep from Sioux City, Iowa. Chris Moore is from Plano, Texas and will battle Amundson during spring football. Incoming freshman Cole Netten from Ankeny, Iowa will join the team in the fall and is expected to feature prominently after earning first-team all-state honors.
“The kicking competition is wide open,” head coach Paul Rhoads said. “With Cole Netten as an incoming freshmen, everybody is going to have their opportunity to show me why they deserve that starting spot at kicker.”
Spring Depth: Placekicker
95 Chris Moore, 6-0, 192, Fr.#
90 Mitch Amundson, 6-0, 190, So.
Van Der Kamp has averaged 43.8 yards on 128 punts through his first two seasons. He is currently Iowa State’s all-time career punting average leader. Van Der Kamp averaged 42.7 yards per punt in 2011. Put 21 of his 68 punts inside the 20-yard-line. Fifteen of his punts were longer than 50 yards. He was a second-team all-conference honoree as a freshman.
“Kirby Van Der Kamp is a veteran. This is only his second spring practice but he is a veteran in this league and is recognized for what he has accomplished in two short seasons,” head coach Paul Rhoads said. “I want to see him fine tune some of the things about his game.”
A lot of punts occur around midfield and we got to get more efficient at pinning opponents not only inside the 20, but inside the 15 and the 10. That is a part of Kirby’s game that we have to see improve as we go through spring practice.”
Spring Depth: Punter
13 **Kirby Van Der Kamp, 6-4, 203, Jr.
In Big 12 Conference games last season, Iowa State’s Aaron Horne and Jarvis West, finished first and second, respectively, in kickoff returns. Horne, the Big 12 Conference’s Offensive Newcomer of the Year, led the league at 26.9 yards per return. West had an average of 25.4 yards per return. As a team, the Cyclones finished third in the Big 12 with an average of 23.9 yards on 65 returns across all games.
Josh Lenz was the Cyclones’ primary punt returner last season before being injured in the Oklahoma State game with Horne filling in late in the season. They combined for an average of 7.6 yards per return. Both are back this season. Albert Gary will get a chance at the return duties during spring ball.
“I think that an area that was much improved in 2011 was our return game, in both kickoff and punt returns," Rhoads said. “Aaron Horne, at the conclusion of the season, really emerged as a threat at punt returner. We are glad to have him coming back. A healthy Josh Lenz strengthens that and Jarvis West, especially in the bowl game in New York City, really showed that at any time we got guys back there that can break returns into touchdowns.”
Spring Depth: Returners
1 *Jarvis West, 5-7, 165 So.#
3 *Aaron Horne, 5-9, 178, Sr.
19 ***Josh Lenz, 6-0, 194, Sr.
18 *Albert Gary, 5-10, 196, Jr.#
Brett Bueker is back as holder. With the departure of snapper Dakota Zimmerman, Bueker and Spencer Thornton will battle to find a successor.
“We are going to have a lot of competition at long snapper,” Rhoads said. “We lose Dakota Zimmerman after four years being Mr. Steady. Brett Bueker and Spencer Thornton will challenge for that position.”
Spring Depth: Holder
8 *Brett Bueker, 6-4, 223, Sr.#
Spring Depth: Deep Snapper
49 Spencer Thornton, 6-1, 238, So.#
8 *Brett Bueker, 6-4, 223, Sr.#