Dillon Kidd was political in his approach when asked about the opportunity he suddenly has at Iowa.
Kidd, a punter out of El Camino Community College in Torrance, Calif., accepted a scholarship offer from Iowa on Thursday after an extremely short courtship. Kidd was ready to enroll at Florida International this week. FIU’s special teams coach bolted to become defensive line coach at Connecticut.
So, Kidd looked at his options. He contacted Chris Sailer, a renowned kicking coach. Sailer told him Iowa special teams coordinator Chris White contacted Sailer and was looking for a punter.
“After about 50 phone calls with coach White the last three days, I think we both felt comfortable,” said Kidd, whose dad, John, punted at Northwestern before playing a 15-year career in the NFL. Kidd accepted a scholarship offer. He’ll visit Iowa City for the first time next week and enroll for spring semester, which begins Jan. 21.
Kidd spent two years as a backup punter at Florida State before he transferred to El Camino. After two colleges and one potential college in three years, he’s happy to have a spot in the Big Ten.
“I’m just going to work hard, kick well and have no regrets,” said Kidd, who had scholarship offers from Florida International, Louisiana Tech and San Jose State.
Of course, you know Iowa has a punter. Connor Kornbrath just finished his second season as starter. Kornbrath averaged 40.0 yards on 65 punts, with a long of 55, 27 downed inside the opponent’s 20 and 11 punts of 50-plus.
Kidd wouldn’t talk much about a competition. He’s still getting his feet under him after a wild ride that took him from a California juco to a Conference USA school in Miami and finally to the Big Ten and Iowa City.
But obviously there’s a competition.
“I really can’t comment on what the opportunity will be,” said Kidd, who averaged 38.2 yards on 50 punts for El Camino last season. “[Head coach] Kirk Ferentz and coach White had confidence in me that I was a fit for the program.”
Kidd, who downed 18 punts inside the opponent’s 20 last season, is Iowa’s 19th commitment for the 2014 recruiting class and maybe the final. On paper, Iowa is now at 88 scholarships, three over the NCAA limit of 85. The Big Ten allows schools to oversign by three players if the school has a plan in place to be at 85 before fall camps begin.
Kidd will join Texas kicker Mick Ellis as specialists in this class. Ellis is a kicker out of Lovejoy High School in Lucas, Texas. So, Iowa next year will have two punters (Kornbrath and Kidd) and one kicker (Ellis) on scholarship as it stands now. Marshall Koehn, a junior from Solon, remains a walk-on and will inherit placekicking duties from Mike Meyer.
Jay Scheel, QB 6-2, 170 Union High School (La Porte City) ****
Lucas LeGrand, OL, 6-5, 260 Dubuque Senior High School ***
Omar Truitt, CB, 5-11, 185, St. John’s College High School (Washington D.C.) ***
C.J. Hilliard, RB, 5-9, 192, St. Xavier High School (Cincinnati, Ohio) ***
Jyaz Jones, S, 6-0, 172, South Oak Cliff High School (Dallas, Texas) **
Jameer Outsey, OLB, 6-3, 220, Franklin High School (Somerset, N.J.) ***
Keegan Render, OL, 6-3, 310, Indianola High School ***
Matt Nelson, DE, 6-7, 249, Xavier High School (Cedar Rapids) ***
Mick Ellis, K, 5-9, 185, Lovejoy High School (Lucas, Texas) **
Terrance Harris, DE, 6-2, 240, Paramus Catholic High School (Paramus, N.J.) **
Ben Niemann, OLB, 6-3, 185, Sycamore (Ill.) High School **
Aaron Mends, LB, 6-1, 204, Winnetonka (Kansas City, Mo.) High School ***
Josh Jackson, CB, 6-1, 175, Dallas Lake ( Corinth, Texas) High School **
Marcel Joly, CB, 5-11, 180, Forestville (Md.) High School ***
Jalen Embry, CB, 5-11, 176, King (Detroit, Mich.) High School ***
Markel Smith, RB, 5-10, 210, St. John Vianney (St. Louis, Mo.) High School ***
Parker Hesse, LB, 6-3, 205, Waukon High School (Waukon) **
Tyler Wiegers, QB, 6-4, 213, Detroit Country Day (Detroit, Mich.) ****
Dillon Kidd, P, 6-1, 210, El Camino Community College (Torrance, Calif.) — Not yet rated
* — Rivals.com star rating