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App State Might Miss Last Year's Longsnapper
Russell Wilson went through his four years at Appalachian State fairly anonymously.
It was just how he liked it.
Wilson was a little known linebacker, at least to the public, when he began his freshman year at Appalachian State. While guys such as Monte Smith, Pierre Banks, Brad West and others made sure the linebacking corps were solid, Wilson had a skill that none of those listed above had.
Hiking the ball.
When it came to longsnapping, Wilson was the most consistent player the Mountaineers had in his four years at ASU. Never did Wilson have a bad snap, at least according to coach Jerry Moore.
Had Wilson not gotten the ball to holder Hunter Stewart, then kicker Julian Rauch doesn’t make the 24-yard field goal needed to beat Michigan 34-32.
No pressure Russell. There’s only 109,000 in attendance and, um, gee the chance to pull off the biggest upset victory in college football history.
Yet Wilson was remarkably accurate, both when it came to punts and field goals.
“He never had a bad snap in four years,” Moore said at the ASU media day Saturday. “You don’t worry about a bad snap until he has one. Then everybody gets after the snapper. It’s like the holder. Until he muffs one, you don’t ever give him much credit.”
Think it’s easy? Think again. To be successful, a longsnapper not only has to get the ball back to his designated target, but he has to do it quickly. A slow snap on a field goal could lead to either bad timing for the kicker, or a blocked field goal.
A bad snap to the punter could lead to worse. Snap it over his head close to the goal line and it could lead to a touchdown. At best, it’s as bad as a turnover, which is really not a best situation at all.
Even if it gets there, it can’t be a lob like a screen pass. It doesn’t necessarily have to get back there like a John Elway bullet, but it can’t look like a pass from an 8-year old learning the game.
Then do it with a 280-pound defensive tackle to block and a 4.4 sprinter returning the ball to tackle.
So now Moore, who plays a major role in coaching the special teams, must find somebody who can perform the skill. It’s not like coaches can recruit a longsnapper, mostly because it’s not like prep football players perform just that skill.
Appalachian State has had plenty of talented players win them three national championships. They’ve made big plays on offense and defense, and a handful of them are playing professionally.
It’s unlikely that Wilson will be mentioned in the same breath with Armanti Edwards, Corey Lynch, Kevin Richardson, Jason Hunter, Marcus Murrell or Richie Williams.
But his contribution, consistency on special teams, should never be minimized.
Longsnapper to be missed by App State
By Steve Behr, The Watauga Democrat (NC)