Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on April 22, 2014 at 1:30 am Contact Jesse: [email protected] | @dougherty_jesse All Evan Jakubowski could do was watch and wonder. Wheaton Warrenville (Ill.) South High School needed a 20-yard field goal to reach the playoffs for the first time in over a decade.It sailed wide. And because Jakubowski, a junior at that time, chose to play soccer instead of football that fall, he sat in the stands as the Tigers’ season came to a close. “I felt that I could have hit it,” Jakubowski said. “It was frustrating.”Jakubowski, who is unrated on Scout.com and listed at 6 feet, 175 pounds, committed to Syracuse as a preferred walk-on on April 9 after a swift recruiting process. Chris Gould, SU’s special teams quality control coach, saw Jakubowski’s highlight tape following his senior season. And after visiting campus, the kicker-punter combo pledged to the Orange just months after finding out where Syracuse even was.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textRiley Dixon was offered a scholarship by the Orange at the end of last season and seems to have solidified his spot as the team’s starting punter. But with rising senior Ross Krautman missing much of last season with a hip injury and rising junior Ryan Norton sidelined this spring, Jakubowski is ready to contend for kickoffs and field goals in the fall.“My high school needed a kicker senior year, so I went in and did all three kicks and loved every minute of it,” Jakubowski said. “I always thought it would be great to compete in college and now I have that opportunity. I obviously want to try and get on the field right away.”While Jakubowski’s ascension from a soccer player kicking and punting to a kicker and punter who once played soccer was a product of his hard work, it was also circumstantial. Wheaton Warrenville has sent kickers to Michigan State and Illinois in recent years, mainly because head coach Ronald Muhitch places a strong emphasis on the position. So when Jakubowski expressed interest in joining the team for his senior year, Muhitch planned to make him the next in line.“I challenged him that he had to catch up on his kicking, punting and field goal skills for this change to work for him and us,” Muhitch said. “The rest of the story was all his effort and diligence.” Muhitch put Jakubowski on an offseason workout plan that would lead into his senior season. It included six new footballs and a kicking net, Kohl’s Kicking Camp for individual instruction in all areas and weekly rotations that included punting on Mondays, kickoffs on Tuesdays and field goals on Wednesday.The Orange took notice of Jakubowski when Gould saw a tape of his senior highlights. SU quarterbacks coach Tim Lester — who played quarterback at Wheaton Warrenville and knows Muhitch — went to Muhitch’s office regarding Jakubowski. And after Jakubowski visited Miami (Ohio) and Missouri several times, Syracuse emerged as the best fit. “The final closer is always having to find a college match for our kids,” Muhitch said. “All of his kicking duties will have to be applied to the college dimensions and factors.”The night after Jakubowski watched the Tigers miss the postseason, he and his dad went to the field with the stands empty and no one else around. After kicking and punting in middle school, he hadn’t played football since the ninth grade, but lined up a field goal at the 40-yard line. His dad held it and he sent the ball 50 yards in the air and through the uprights. And something told him that had he been given a chance from 20 yards the night before, his foot would have done the trick. “That’s when I knew I had to get back to football and start kicking again,” Jakubowski said. “I could have hit it, and here I am, getting the chance to keep kicking.” Comments
The flanker was stretchered off during Saturday’s Challenge Cup win over Brive with a suspected knee ligament injury.Fox-Matamua is now waiting on the results of a surgical review.Andrew Browne will also miss this weekend’s Pro 12 meeting with Munster after he had a hand injury surgically repaired.Both Eoin McKeon and Ben Marshall will continue to go through the return-to-play protocols after suffering suspected concussions in the win over the French side. The scrum-half won his first Ireland cap during last year’s summer tour to Argentina.Marmion’s new deal keeps him with Connacht until the summer of 2018.Meanwhile Connacht are still awaiting word on how long they will be without Nepia Fox-Matamua.