Iowa football’s kicking competition heats up during Kids Day at Kinnick

Aaron Blom and Drew Stevens made all 15 of their combined 15 field goal attempts during the Hawkeyes’ open practice Saturday.


Jerod Ringwald

Iowa kicker Drew Stevens kicks a field goal during Iowa football’s Kids’ Day at Kinnick in Iowa City on Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022. Iowa introduced its 2022 kid captains before the team practiced in front of fans. Iowa looks to fill the role of kicker for 2022 after former kicker Caleb Shudak signed with Tennessee Titans as an undrafted free agent.

Isaac Goffin, Sports Reporter

The Iowa football team hasn’t announced a starting kicker for the 2022 season. Two Hawkeyes are currently competing for the job.

True freshman Drew Stevens and sophomore Aaron Blom made 15 kicks in a combined 15 attempts during Kids Day at Kinnick Satuday. Their kicks ranged from 28 to 53 yards throughout the Hawkeyes’ open practice. The pair also set up on different hashmarks and faced separate end zones with the wind blowing at about 10 mph from the southwest.

After an inconsistent spring, the kickers pushed the football through the uprights with accuracy and power on Saturday. Neither have participated in a college football game yet, but Iowa head football coach Kirk Ferentz said the kickers have done well during preseason training camp.

“Now, the challenge is to be able to do it on Saturday when it counts,” Ferentz said. “But this was a good step for them. That was a really good takeaway today.”

Stevens got eight kicks in. The finance major from North Augusta, South Carolina, hit one from under 30 yards, two from 30-39 yards, three from 40-49 yards, and two from 50 yards or further.

The freshman participated in spring practice because he enrolled early at the University of Iowa in January. In an interview with The Daily Iowan on Friday, Stevens said he’s improved a lot since the Hawkeyes held spring practice.

“You only fail when you fail and don’t learn,” Stevens said.

Since he moved from South Carolina to Iowa, Stevens hasn’t seen a change in his range. Typically, humid conditions such as those in South Carolina give kickers greater range than Iowa’s dry weather.

Former Iowa kicker Keith Duncan, who was a consensus All-American in 2019, helped convince Stevens to join the Hawkeyes as a walk-on. Stevens said Duncan recommended him to Iowa’s coaching staff after a kicking camp. After attending the 2021 AP top-five matchup between Iowa and Penn State at Kinnick Stadium, Stevens knew Iowa City was where he wanted to be.

Blom was listed as the first-string kicker on Iowa’s preseason depth chart. He attempted one fewer kick than Stevens on Saturday.

Blom booted the same number of balls as Stevens from under 30, 30-39, and 40-49 yards. He kicked just once from over 50 yards.

Blom, who is from Oskaloosa, Iowa, joined the Hawkeyes’ roster in 2020. He played with both Duncan and now-Tennessee Titan Caleb Shudak.

“Not just even from the kicking or technique side of things, but mental,” Blom told The Daily Iowan. “I saw how they prepared for kicks. I saw how they flushed bad kicks, how they treated good kicks and moved on to the next one. So, it was definitely really beneficial to have them around.”

The Hawkeyes have three weeks to decide who their kicker will be in 2022. Iowa will welcome South Dakota State for a season-opening game at Kinnick Stadium on Sept. 3.

At Iowa Football Media Day on Friday, Hawkeye special teams coordinator LeVar Woods said the battle between Stevens and Blom is too close to call as of now. He added that Stevens and Blom could end up sharing Iowa’s kicking duties this season.

“I think competition makes us all improved and bring out the best in us,” Blom said. “So, it’s definitely good, and I think it’s going to put us in the best position to help the team. So, that’s what it’s all about.”

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