With less than 100 days remaining before the Texas Longhorns kick off against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, incoming freshman kicker Chris Naggar finds himself in a unique situation -- Naggar could be the guy counted on to nail a clutch field goal in the fourth quarter September 4th, or he could be in the stands of Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium simply as an engineering student.
The Arlington high school product received a scholarship offer from Southern Baptist and preferred walk on status from Sam Houston State and Toledo. However, the 6A all-state kicker and punter team member turned down these offers to attend his "dream school" of Texas, where the only thing that's guaranteed is a tryout. Naggar would fulfill a lifelong dream if he can make the field on opening day.
The kicker position is wide open after the departure of Nick Rose, who signed a undrafted free agent deal with the Atlanta Falcons after graduation. Naggar's greatest competition may be sophomore Jon Coppens, who was ranked No. 16 nationally out of high school. However, Charlie Strong said just under two months ago "If you find a kicker, send him to me."
And former punter Mitchell Becker then badly missed the only field goal attempt of the Orange and White game.
Though Naggar does not hold a scholarship offer from UT, there's no denying he is a serious prospect. Chris has shown evidence of his hard work on his Twitter, where he posts anything from 60+ yard field goals, to insane trick shots. His highlight video shows the fantastic distance he has.
I wanted to talk to Chris before he gets to campus. Below is a Q&A I had with the high school senior one week out from his graduation. Strong hasn't found a kicker yet, but Naggar is doing everything he can to make himself known.
BON: First off, I just wanted to ask if you've been in touch with Charlie Strong yet. If so, has he laid out a plan for you to tryout/be on the team next year?
Naggar: I haven't spoken to Coach Strong yet. I have been in contact with Coach Traylor [special teams/tight ends coach], but they have not decided on a plan for me.
Why did you pick Texas opposed to another school where you would have a guaranteed spot or even a scholarship?
Well, I knew Texas needed a kicker and had recently been accepted into the engineering program. Texas has always been my dream school. It was an easy choice.
What would you say your greatest strength is as a kicker?
I would say consistency from distance is my strength. I pride myself on being able to hit the big kick.
How do kickers on the big stage deal with nerves?
I kick better with an audience. I don't know how others deal with it, but I have always loved the pressure.
What's your max distance right now, compared to, say, the beginning of your senior season?
My max before senior season was probably 60. Now I am at 65.
How many times have you been to Austin? Are you excited for a new world of breakfast tacos?
I have been visiting the school countless times since I was little! And yes that is another exciting thing to look forward to!
Is it weird to see hype building up about you? Your name has been on a lot of blogs and message boards by now.
Yes it is crazy! Around mid- April I was basically unknown to UT and now all of this hype. It is really teaching me to be humble, patient, and understanding.
I seriously saw a picture of you today that was edited with Nick Rose's hair.
Really? Can you send it to me? Just for laughs.
I then showed him this picture:
Speaking of Nick Rose, you've been working out with him over the summer. What have you learned from him?
Yeah me and Nick have kicked together! He helped me with striking the ball cleaner and making my kickoffs smoother.
Are there other past Longhorn kickers you are inspired by?
Justin Tucker is my favorite kicker of all time. I loved that he did kicking and punting for UT and when he kicked the game winner against A&M was the moment I knew I wanted to play for UT without a doubt. He is the main reason I wanted to excel in punting, field goals, and kicking off.
I saw that you posted a picture saying you would play for Texas one day. It also said you'd make not just A's, but straight A+s. I’m guessing that one was a little harder.
Well, I didn't make straight A+s, but I had a 3.89 GPA.
In 6th grade I wrote that I would be playing football for UT #HookEm pic.twitter.com/VoPElgvIt8— Chris Naggar (@chrisNAGGAR3) May 24, 2016
That's pretty much all I had, is there anything else you want people to know or want to talk about?
I just want everyone to know I am working very hard and no matter what, when I get to Austin, I will be ready for Notre Dame.