It must be walk-on turned starter week this week at Hammer & rails, as we have a third player that has gone from paying his own way to playing a major role on Saturdays. We've already seen Landon Feichter and Kurt Freytag, but it is time for a specialist.
Sam McCartney - So. (RS)
West Lafayette, Indiana (West Lafayette HS)
6'4", 215 pounds
2013 Projection: Possible starter at kicker
Kickers have a love-hate relationship with the fans. If they struggle every attempt is painful. If they succeed you start to wonder things like, "Can Carson Wiggs hit a 70-yard field goal?" Sam McCartney's first season ont he field was incredibly up and down as coach Hope went back and forth between him and Paul Griggs.
Both he and Griggs split roughly equal time at kicker. McCartney was 5 of 7 on field goals and 28 of 31 on extra points, but did not have an attempt outside 36 yards. Griggs had hte bigger leg, but was only 4 of 7 and 16 of 18 on extra points.
Still, that was good enough for McCartney to be Purdue's No. 3 player in actual scoring with 43 points, just behind Antavian Edison and Akeem Shavers.
McCartney certainly knows the program well too. he was a three-year kicker at West Lafayette HS where he also won the 2009 Class 3A state title. He is getting his education done at Krannert and his dad is the VP of Information technology for Purdue, making his tuition even less as someone paying his own way. He enters 2013 locked in a tight battle with Griggs that is far from over since both are sophomores eligibility-wise.
May the best man win. I remember seeing McCartney a few times in HS games I covered and he was quite impressive. As long as he stays accurate he will be a major contributor.