Midwest's top specialists gather in Iowa
Kohl's offseason training camp, which was held at Iowa State University, had roughly 80 athletes from 10 states looking to improve their fundamentals in kicking, punting and snapping. It was a chance for many of the Midwest's top specialists to get some work in because one of the hardest things for a specialist in winter is finding a location to kick in. All the participants came away with 100s of repetitions and a sense of where they match up skillwise against many of the best specialists in the Midwest.
The 2010 class had a couple of athletes who stood out. Kirby Van Der Kamp (West Des Moines, Iowa/Valley), who has already verbally committed to Iowa State, had a great camp and will enter training camp as the favorite to replace NFL hopeful Mike Brandtner. Kirby was named the camp's most outstanding punter.
Another 2010 athlete who opened some eyes was kicker Mitch Amundson (Sioux City, Iowa/Sioux City East). He hit multiple kickoffs over 70 yards, showed Division I leg strength and proved he has the tools to become a very good college kicker.
Juniors Tyler Smith (Solon, Iowa/Solon), Nick Holland (Brookfield, Wis./Crookfield Central) and Chad Peppmeier (Dubuque, Iowa/Dubuque) showed Division I skills at times. Smith won a field goal competition at the camp, made a 55-yard field goal with ease and kicked off 68 yards during the charting session. Peppmeier and Holland consistently hit punts with 4.4-plus seconds in hang time. Another 2011 athlete who performed well was from Ryan Nowicki (Peachtree City, Ga./Peachtree), who showed Division I potential on his kickoffs.
The 2012 class also had a couple of very strong prospects in attendance. Cole Netten (Ankeny, Iowa/Ankeny) won the overall camp field goal championship and showed range at times out to 55 yards off the tee. His smoothness and consistency were impressive to everyone at camp. Brent Wilker (Dubuque, Iowa/Dubuque) also had a solid camp and was a finalist in the kickoff and field goal competitions. Snapper Tanner Tusha (Clear Lake, Iowa/Clear Lake) was named the camp's most outstanding snapper. He won the snapping competition and showed he should be able to snap in college.
Donnie Manke (Lodi, Wis./Lodi) was the camp's most outstanding 2013 prospect. He made multiple field goals over 40 yards during the field goal competitions.
Outstanding punter -- Kirby Van Der Kamp (2010)
Outstanding FG kicker -- Cole Netten (2012)
Outstanding kickoffs -- Mitch Amundson (2010)
Outstanding snapper - Tanner Tusha (2012)
Jamie Kohl is the director of Kohl's Kicking, Punting and Snapping Camps.