Being a college kicker is a hard job. Former Purdue kickers Chris Summers and Travis Dorsch can relate. Dorsch is Purdue’s all-time leader in field goals and was one of the best kickers in the nation in 2001. He was so good he got drafted in the NFL. Even then, he was loathed by Purdue fans for a while because he missed kicks in the Outback Bowl and at Penn State in 2000. Summers was awful as a freshman, but pretty good as a sophomore. He is the only Purdue kicker to win a bowl game with a field goal, too.
Unfortunately, kickers are only as good as their last kick. Today’s player is currently on the good side of Purdue fans as a result.
J.D. Dellinger – So.
Charlotte, NC (Charlotte County Day HS)
6’2”, 190 pounds
2017 Projection: Starter at kicker
Dellinger came to Purdue last season knowing he would be the kicker from day 1. After Paul Griggs struggled in 2015 it was hoped that Dellinger would be an improvement. Things did not start well. He missed three of his first five attempts on the season, including a 28 yard chip shot against Cincinnati.
Things changed at Illinois, however. In regulation he hit an important 37-yard field goal late in the third quarter to give Purdue a 24-23 lead. He then connected on the game-winning field goal in overtime for what is, to date, Purdue’s most recent victory.
After that, Dellinger finished the year strong. He made 6 of his final 7 field goals with a long of 42 yards against Penn State. He finished the season 10 of 14 (hitting 8 of his last 9 in total) and he was 35 of 36 on PATs. With 65 points scored he was technically Purdue’s leading scorer in 2016.
Dellinger doesn’t have a huge leg, but so far he has been accurate. He seemed to get a major confidence boost from his game-winner at Illinois, so expect a decent season from him this year. With all the holes Purdue has it is nice to have a guy like Dellinger in a spot that he has locked down.