After splitting kicking duties in 2017 and redshirting last year, today’s player is almost certain to be the full-time starter at kicker for the next two seasons.
J.D. Dellinger - Jr.
Charlotte, NC (Charlotte Country Day HS)
6’2”, 195 pounds
2019 Projection: Starter at kicker
It has been a strange road for Dellinger to this point. He came in as a true freshman in 2016 and was pretty much the starter at kicker from day 1. He had a decent year that year. He connected on 10 of 14 field goals with a long of 42 yards and on 35 of 36 extra points. The highlight of his freshman season came at Illinois, when he connected on a 28 yard field goal in overtime to give Darrell Hazell the last win of his career.
Freshman kicker J.D. Dellinger made the biggest game-changing play of the week last Saturday with his game-winner. https://t.co/pbMEIHaOM4— Purdue Football (@BoilerFootball) October 14, 2016
The changeover to Jeff Brohm brought in Spencer Evans, so Dellinger had a reduced role in 2017. He split time with Evans almost evenly, hitting 9 of his 13 field goal attempts with a long of 40 yards and on all 19 of his extra points.
The next stage of his journey came as a result of the new redshirt rules. With only one year of eligibility left Evans seized the main kicking job and Dellinger redshirted so he could preserve his final two years of eligibility. The new rules still allowed Dellinger to play in a couple of games, however, and that came in handy against Boston College last year. With Evans vomiting on the sidelines and clearly not at his best Dellinger came in and finished the game. He kicked a pair of extra points and converted one of his two field goal attempts. Since he only played in one game he maintained his redshirt, leaving him two more years.
With 20 made field goals Dellinger is currently 12th on the career list at Purdue for most made field goals, but with only 12 this season he can move into the top 5. That would put him only behind Jonathan Briggs (36), Ben Jones (43), Carson Wiggs (56), and Travis Dorsch (68). He also has scored 116 career points, and with each field goal and extra point this coming season he can start climbing the career scoring list as well. At 20 of 29 on field goal attempts in his career he has been solid, but with a little more accuracy he can be great.