THE NEXT WAVE: Roswell kicking prospect impresses national scouts

It’s no secret: kickers and punters are almost always overlooked along the recruiting trail. Spend a little time watching football closely, however, and the value of both positions becomes apparent. Three points are always better than none and the all-important battle of field position can be won or lost on the legs of those at either spot.

It is exciting to note then, that metro Atlanta is home to an up-and-coming game changer, a special teams star in the making, as Roswell Hornets sophomore Ty Long has already begun distinguishing himself with his kicking prowess.

Most recently, Long spent a weekend in early January at Rice University competing in the finals of Michael Husted’s National Kicking Combine, a special event geared toward bringing together the nation’s top kicking and punting prospects along with some of the country’s top scouts. The combine itself is broken into three segments—regional, semifinal and final portions—and participants from all around the country must advance past each stage before making the finals.

For Long, then, the finals invite alone was no doubt meaningful. It was his performance there, however, that grabbed the attention of onlookers, as the 15-year-old placed third in the combine’s Place Kicking category and first in its Punting category for his age.

“He’s got a nice tall body with long legs, which is usually pretty typical for a punter, and having long legs definitely provides some good leverage on the ball,” explained Husted, who himself spent nine years kicking in the NFL. “He’s also got good confidence and his technique is really impressive for only being a sophomore. The harder he works the better he will get.”

Despite his relative youth, though, Long is no amateur to either the kicking or punting ranks, as he has performed both duties in live games for the last eight years. And, if Husted’s analysis is any indication, he will continue his special-teams role for many years to come.

“He definitely impressed all the way through the regional and semifinals and, as only a sophomore, if he continues to develop and keep pace with what he has displayed so far he can definitely become a Division I prospect.”

Still, over the next couple of years, choosing the right school may not be his toughest challenge. As alluded to above, Long excels at both punting and kicking the football but, according to Husted, will eventually need to choose one role.

“He has the opportunity, if he wants, to be a combo guy coming out of high school, which a lot of colleges really like. But, at some point, he will need to choose which one he wants to specialize in.”

No matter what way he goes, however, one thing is for sure: Somewhere on the gridiron, Ty Long has an exciting future ahead of him.

Janovitz can be reached at


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