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Kicking prospects flow from county
OCVarsity begins the countdown to National Signing Day on Feb. 6 with its first weekly Football Recruiting Notebook. Dan Albano also has his updated listed of the county's top committed and top uncommitted players for the Class of 2013.
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If you believe high school football kickers seem to be getting better each season, you're not alone.
Private kicking coach Brad Bohn of West Coast Kicking Academy agrees.
"I think as far as the position goes, kickers have developed more than any other position in high school football," said Bohn, a 1996 graduate of Laguna Beach High and former standout kicker at Utah State.
"At this point, if you don't have a good kicker on your team, you're kind of behind the eight-ball."
Orange County again featured several strong kickers this past season, including record-setting senior Griff Amies of Corona del Mar.
Amies tied the state record for most field goals in a season with 22 and is among the standouts who train privately with Bohn, who is also an assistant coach at Corona del Mar.
Bohn's current stable of seniors includes Tesoro's Zach Schottenfeld, El Toro's Roger Howard, Yorba Linda's Matt Barr, JSerra's Greg Bucilla along with juniors Blake Gonzalez of San Clemente and Reid Budrovich of St. John Bosco of Bellflower.
As the list of West Coast Kicking alumni shows, this is far from a one-year wonder.
West Coast has placed 24 students in the college ranks the past eight seasons. Bohn's Class of 2009 included El Toro's Vince D'Amato (now at Cal), Aliso Niguel's Mike Bowlin (Washington State), Laguna Hills' Richie Hogan (Central Michigan) and Brea Olinda's Michael Frisina (Saddleback College and Boise State).
Bohn attributes the kickers' progression to improved technique, consistent training and being bigger and stronger.
D'Amato is a 6-foot-1, 200-pound junior who recently earned All-Pac-12 honors.
Amies is an example of what consistent training can accomplish.
"I started kicking when I was about 8 years old, and I started going to Brad's camp when I was 12," he said. "He's taught me so much about kicking. It's been great."
The competition for college spots remains fierce.
"About a third of the Division 1-A teams look for a kicker every year," Bohn said. "But just about every team will bring in at least one guy as a preferred walk-on or somebody to bring in competition.
"It's still difficult to get a scholarship, although they're out there."
Amies (5-foot-10, 165 pounds) is interested in Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, Oregon and San Diego State.
San Clemente kicker/punter Bret Miller has committed to Arizona. ...
All-County linebacker Ed Tandy (6-1, 205) of Tustin has scheduled trips to Cal on Jan. 18 and Colorado on Jan. 25. . ...
Los Alamitos offensive lineman Alex Redmond (6-5, 295) decommitted from Oregon and committed to UCLA. The senior was slowed this season by a dislocated elbow, but he has recovered and is wrestling. ...
Arizona State commit Garrett Marino (6-2, 260) of Mission Viejo believes his breakout senior season sparked his recruitment by the Sun Devils. He said he received "zero" attention before the season. "I had to play (well) to show everyone," he said. ...
Utah commit Conner Manning (6-2, 180) of El Toro will make his official recruiting trip on Jan. 18. The quarterback also plans to enroll in summer school. "They've told me they want me ready right away," he said. ...
Register offensive player of the year Thomas Duarte of Mater Dei (6-3, 225) hopes to visit UCLA on Jan. 18. The senior also is considering Oregon, USC, Washington and Notre Dame. ...
All-County lineman Sean Harlow (6-4, 270) of San Clemente is committed to Washington, but he has also made official visits to Wisconsin, Boise State and Oregon State.
The teams for the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl on Jan. 4 at the Home Depot Center in Carson will practice at Santa Ana Stadium and Fullerton College starting Monday.
The West will feature Duarte and county offensive linemen Harlow, Orange Lutheran's John Lopez (UCLA), Mission Viejo's Erik Bunte (Cal) and Santa Margarita's Dane Crane (Washington). San Clemente coach Jaime Ortiz is coaching the East linebackers. ...
Tesoro All-County running back Nate Tago (5-10, 210) will visit FCS power Montana State on Jan. 11 and Portland State on Jan. 26. Mater Dei All-County linebacker J.C. Genova (6-0, 200) is scheduled to visit both schools later. ...
Woodbridge offensive lineman David Patterson has set trips to Fresno State, New Mexico State and Montana State for consecutive weekends starting Jan. 11. ...
All-County running back Terence Martinez of Tustin (5-9, 195) has been offered preferred walk-on spots by UCLA and San Diego State.
Please send your football recruiting news to Dan Albano at firstname.lastname@example.org.