One year ago, six different Nebraska kickers combined to make just 12 of their 20 field goal attempts. Only 17 FBS programs (out of 130) had a worse conversion rate on field goal tries.
What a difference a year makes.
Connor Culp, a graduate transfer kicker from LSU that arrived this past offseason, was not only named to the 2020 All-Big Ten First Team by both league media and coaches, he was also named the Big Ten’s Bakken-Andersen Kicker of the Year.
Culp went 13-of-15 on field goal tries in his first year in Lincoln (a top-20 conversion rate nationally), and at one point had made nine straight kicks before a miss against Minnesota. Only Iowa’s Keith Duncan made more kicks than the Phoenix, Arizona, native.
He also handled kickoffs for Nebraska this season.
“It’s big,” said coach Scott Frost recently when asked about Culp’s impact. “We haven’t been very good at that spot the first couple years here. He certainly gives us a guy that we can count on. I get less nervous when I send the field-goal unit out there. We start thinking about kicking a field goal from farther out because of his range, so it gives us a lot more confidence and glad he that he’s a part of what we’re doing.”
His main teacher on special teams, senior analyst Jonathan Rutledge, took to Twitter after the news to congratulate Culp.
I told you when you came to Lincoln you would be First Team All @bigten. Saying how proud I am of you is an understatement. Congrats to the entire FG team (protection, snap and hold). Let's go finish it off with a bang! #GBR #FIST https://t.co/TXPAnQ6laA
— Jonathan Rutledge (@CoachJRut) December 17, 2020
Though he’s classified as a senior, Culp elected to not be recognized during Senior Day activities before Nebraska’s Dec. 12 game against Minnesota. With the NCAA freezing eligibility this season, seniors will be permitted to return for the 2021 season should they choose. Culp is expected to be back.
Derek is a newbie on the Hail Varsity staff covering Husker athletics. In college, he was best known as ‘that guy from Twitter.’ He has covered a Sugar Bowl, a tennis national championship and almost everything in between (except an NCAA men’s basketball tournament game… *tears*). In his spare time, he can be found arguing with literally anyone about sports.