How many times have we gone down this path before: Eddie Piniero, Brandon Ruiz just among the most recent blue chip placekickers to commit to Alabama before turning their back upon the Crimson Tide.
Those defections have hurt, but they’re by no means the only factor in Alabama’s...ummmm..unsteady? interesting? stroke-inducing? kicking game.
Lost in Pappanastos’ meltdown in Atlanta, was that the 5th year legacy senior had a pretty steady season — especially by Alabama standards. But, it was still one predicated upon Alabama’s offense getting him close enough. And, yes, Adam Griffith had a second-team All-SEC season in 2015. But, in Saban’s Tuscaloosa tenure we have too often seen: short/long specialists (Jeremy Shelley and Andy Pappanastos for the former; Cade Foster and punter J.K. Scott for the latter); big game meltdowns (sorry Cade, Andy); and, seemingly unique in America, freshmen kickers who simply haven’t been ready to play when they get on campus (Joseph Bulovas, among others.) You have to go back to 2008 to find an Alabama placekicker that was a legitimate first-teamer All-SEC and even mentioned in the absurdly expansive Lou Groza preseason watch lists (hi, Leigh Tiffin!) — and he wasn’t even a Saban guy.
So, let’s do this one more time. Will Reichard, from freaking Hoover is the nation’s number one kicker prospect. He has Alabama in his top three (alongside UGA and LSU.) And, wonder of wonders, an Alabama special teams coach may be the deciding factor in signing him.
Will Reichard ...expressed his desire to stay closer to home in an interview with SEC Country last month, and he has said he considers Alabama’s special teams coordinator Jeff Banks to be one of the best coaches.
“I think [Banks] is the best in the business or at least one of the best, in my opinion,” Reichard said. “Alabama is also really close to home, so all of my family can come watch me play. My father actually passed away from cancer two years ago, so my mom will be the only one left in the house when I leave. I know she’ll want to come watch me play.”
I mean, really, if it doesn’t happen this time, it’s never happening. I’m not sure what kind of Faustian pact Nick Saban will have to make to sign what he has not in over a decade on campus: An end-to-end, legitimate four-year All-SEC type consistent placekicker. But the stars are aligned here: Right place, right time, right circumstances, right depth chart.