Sooner Football Profile: Getting to Know Kicker Austin Seibert


It wasn’t that long ago that every Oklahoma field-goal try sent a shudder through the nervous system of Sooner football fans. Michael Hunnicutt returned confidence to the OU placekicking game the last few years – that is, before even his dependability took a big hit late last season – and all seems to be in place for the immediate future behind the strong leg of a talented true freshman kicker.

The Sooners not only had to replace Hunnicutt in the 2015 season, but also their punter. Jed Barnett had handled the punting duties the past two seasons, but he completed his eligibility after the 2014 season.

Austin Seibert was rated as the best kicker in the country when he committed to the Sooners in the spring of 2014 out of Belleville West High School in Belleville, Ill. He handled all of the kicking duties – punting, field goals and extra points, and kicking off – while in high school, and he was told he could do the punting and placekicking at Oklahoma, although it is rare for one player to do both, and especially a first-year player.

Sep 13, 2014; Norman, OK, USA; Oklahoma Sooners punter Jed Barnett (44) punts during the game against the Tennessee Volunteers at Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

“Coach Boulware (Jay, Sooner assistant coach and special teams coordinator) told me I could do both, but my main thing is gonna be a kicker,” Seibert said in an interview with Jason Kersey, who covers OU for the Oklahoma City Oklahoman, shortly after he committed to play football at Oklahoma.

Jamie Kohl, who founded Kohl’s Kicking Camps, one of the country’s leading instructional camps for kickers, told the Oklahoman’s Kersey earlier this season, “In the whole nation, there’s not a kid like him every year. Austin is one of the more talented kids I’ve seen at the high school level.”

Seibert beat out senior Nick Hodgson in preseason training camp for the placekicking job (although Hodgson retained his kickoff duties) and also won the punting job over junior Jack Steed. In winning both jobs, Seibert became the first player to do so since Tress Way in 2009. Before that, Jeff Ferguson, in 1998, was the last OU player to do both the punting and field-goal kicking in the same season.

After the first season, however, both Way and Ferguson stuck with punting only for the remainder of their time at Oklahoma.

Seibert had not missed a field goal in 10 attempts going into last weekend’s game with Texas Tech. That streak came to an end when he missed a 32-yard attempt late in the second half against the Red Raiders. He still leads the Big 12, however, with 10 makes out of 11 tries, a 91 percent success rate. His 43.9 punting average ranks third in the conference.

Even before he missed wide left in his one and only field-goal attempt in the Texas Tech game, Seibert knew that his streak of made field goals would eventually end at some point, and he was prepared for it.

"“If you miss a kick, you miss a kick,” the freshman Sooner kicker told Oklahoma City Oklahoman staff writer Ryan Aber before the annual rivalry game with Texas this season. “People will be mad, but it happens. No one’s going to be perfect.“Quarterbacks don’t complete all of their passes,” he added. “People mess up sometimes.”"

Fortunately for the Sooners, Seibert’s performance has been about as perfect as you can expect from a kicker, especially one in his first collegiate season.