AMES, Iowa – Iowa State senior Kirby Van Der Kamp can’t hide anymore. His stats won’t let him.
The West Des Moines, Iowa, native enters his senior season with the Cyclones as one of the most heralded punters in the nation thanks to three seasons of booming punts and clever placements.
A two-time All-Big 12 pick and 2012 Ray Guy Award semifinalist, Van Der Kamp has snared a bundle of preseason awards, including preseason All-America honors from both Athlon’s and Phil Steele.
The preseason honors are nice, but Van Der Kamp knows the regular season is where it counts.
“It’s a great honor to receive those accolades,” Van Der Kamp said. “It shows all the hard work I’ve put in. I always look at it as something that I have to prove. I can receive those awards preseason, but it really doesn’t mean anything until the end of the year.”
Van Der Kamp is already established as one of the greatest punters in school history. He has a career 42.8 yards per punt average, which ranks second on ISU’s career chart behind Marc Harris, who averaged 43.1 ypp from 1993-96. However, there’s more to a quality punter than just a high average.
Great punters possess a precision touch with their feet where the placement of a punt is more important than its length. Nobody was better at this than Van Der Kamp last season, leaving 29 of his 77 punts inside the opponents’ 20-yard line.
In fact, through his first three games a year ago, Van Der Kamp placed an amazing 14-of-his-19 punts inside 20 yards with no return. It’s a skill Van Der Kamp has spent years crafting.
“It’s a lot of repetition and just doing it over and over again,” Van Der Kamp said. “It’s a lot of just letting your body do its thing. A kicker or a punter’s worst enemy is thinking. The more you think, the worse you do. It’s about getting those reps in and letting the muscle memory take over in a game.”
Van Der Kamp has plenty of lofty goals in store for the 2013 season. Goals for his team, however, will come first. He will cherish every time he takes the field at Jack Trice Stadium in his final year.
“It’s definitely a bittersweet feeling,” Van Der Kamp said of his final tour of duty as a Cyclone. “I’m excited to be a senior and step-up to be a leader on this team. I’ve had a great time here and couldn’t ask for anything better. I know that last game is going to be pretty hard for me.”
Iowa State Career Punting Average
1. Marc Harris (1993-96) 43.1
2. Kirby Van Der Kamp (2010-) 42.8
3. Tony Yelk (2001-05) 42.3
4. Rick Blabolil (1975-77) 41.7
5. Rick Frank (1985-86) 41.4