Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Kansas kicking corps dangerously thin

Stephen Hoge was one of three kickers vying for the starting job at Kansas University. Hoge announced on Monday, August 18, that he has left the team.

Stephen Hoge was one of three kickers vying for the starting job at Kansas University. Hoge announced on Monday, August 18, that he has left the team.


A week ago, when Kansas University football coach Mark Mangino had his pick of three able-bodied placekickers competing to replace departed starter Scott Webb, the coach was faced with a welcome problem.

Today, he might just be faced with a problem.

The Journal-World learned Monday that red-shirt freshman placekicker Stephen Hoge had left the team to concentrate on academics, while sophomore Jacob Branstetter could miss the 2008 season due to eligibility issues stemming from his transfer from Air Force Academy.

That leaves Butler County Community College transfer Grady Fowler as the only kicker listed on the Jayhawks' roster.

In an e-mail response to the Journal-World on Monday, Hoge's father, John Hoge, said his son "left to focus on academics and getting into (medical) school."

Hoge, who as a senior at Oklahoma City's Putnam City North High in '06 was named a PrepStar Magazine All-American after connecting on 16 of 16 extra points and 12 of 16 field-goal attempts, had been listed as the No. 1 kicker on the team's preseason depth chart.

Meanwhile, Branstetter's father, Gerald Branstetter, confirmed that his son recently had been informed that he could be prohibited from playing this season for reasons related to the transfer.

Branstetter, who enrolled in the Academy following his high school graduation in 2006, left two weeks into classes and sat out a semester before enrolling at Kansas in January of '07.

Since then, he has taken classes at KU - including a summer school workload - and was under the impression he had done everything necessary to gain eligibility for this season. According to his father, Branstetter had also been told that he was in line to be the team's top kicker this year before it was discovered that he was five credits short of being cleared to play. Branstetter was an all-state performer at MacArthur (Okla.) High, finishing his career 17-of-22 on field goals and 142 of 144 on extra points.

The family is currently in the process of petitioning the NCAA for a waiver that would allow Branstetter, a National Honor Society student in high school, to compete for the Jayhawks this season.

"The letter is in the (KU) compliance office and they're supposed to send it into the NCAA (today)," said Gerald Branstetter, who was first informed of the problem Thursday. "I've heard it could be as quick as 24 hours, or it could be weeks. For Kansas' sake, and Jacob's, I hope it's 24 hours and he gets to play."

If not, Fowler will likely enter the season as the team's starting kicker. As a member of the 2007 national junior college champion Butler County team, Fowler earned honorable mention all-American honors after making eight of 12 field goals and 53 of 55 PATs. He was also a first-team all-state selection as a member of the Chase County High program.

These developments come just a week after it came to light that three of the team's seven running backs would not be with the team in 2008.

Carmon Boyd-Anderson and Donte Bean each announced that they would be leaving the program to pursue transfers, while true freshman Sean Ransburg, a running back out of Harrisonville (Mo.) High, will be forced to miss the 2008 season due to eligibility issues.

Although Boyd-Anderson and Bean were not expected to play significant roles this season, the depletion of the kicking unit could present a challenge to coach Mark Mangino and his staff.


okjhok 9 years, 10 months ago

The problem I have with that is, why wait until two weeks before the first game to figure out you need to concentrate on something else? Seems to me you burn a lot of bridges making decisions like that.

Dyrk Dugan 9 years, 10 months ago

right on ok. does he not have a calendar? you just now decide you want to concentrate on med school? he was on the team all of last year!you have teammates, coaches and your school to think about....this isn't all about you. I hope this Fowler kid can really kick....'cause he'll have no one to push him now.

Robert Brock 9 years, 10 months ago

Just get someone from the soccer team. Oh, wait...

number1jayhawker 9 years, 10 months ago

Kids leave sports programs all across the country every day. Let's be glad ours is because they want to concetrate on their studies or are worried about not receiving enough playing time.Better option than what the kitties have been receiving. Losing them because they are breaking the law or they don't academically quailfy.

bmcmich1 9 years, 10 months ago

At this point I think it'd be wise to take him at his word. Personally, when it comes to someone else's matters I know nothing about I try not to speculate or stir the pot. If the kid says he's leaving to concentrate on Med. School, great, good luck to him.

sevenyearhawk 9 years, 10 months ago

WOW!Someone from the Big Ten conference brought to you by Charmin talking smack about stalling offenses ...I'm s-s-so sc-sc-scared!

okjhok 9 years, 10 months ago

Careful...last I checked the Morris twins weren't eligible yet.

tis4tim 9 years, 10 months ago

It's hard to underemphasize how clutch a good kicking game can be in contributing directly to wins and losses. Just ask Bobby Bowden.And not to disparage the Morris twins, but everybody seems so sure that everything with their academics will clear the NCAA with no problem, yet here is a kid in Branstetter who was a National Honor Society student and he potentially won't qualify. How does a kid like that end up five credits short? Maybe we need to add "PK" to Kerry Meier's growing football resume.

d_prowess 9 years, 10 months ago

I am a big Mangino fan, but I wonder if having players leave the team (it seems regularly lately) like this creates a poor image of the team or coaches. Or at least makes some players wonder about why. Maybe this kind of things happens a lot at top programs though and that is what we are becoming?And as a related note, do we really think that Hoge is leaving to focus on getting into Med School. Cool if its true, but I still wanted to ask the question...

rolo2383 9 years, 10 months ago

We missed two huge manageable field goals in the MU game. I don't want that to happen again.

jayloco 9 years, 10 months ago

Give me a break GoBadgers, are you serious? Did you watch the football team last year?? There isn't much stalling in the offense and if it does, it should be in the red zone as you stated. You are basically talking about at longest, a 37 yard FG. Heck, even I can go 7 or 8 of 10 from that range. If the JUCO kid is weren't anything, he ought to suffice.

Jonathan Allison 9 years, 10 months ago

actually, Mr. Badgers is a self-professed Mizzou fan. But I loved the Charmin joke

5DecadeHawk 9 years, 10 months ago

GoBagger is not a Wisconsin fool.He's a Mizery tool.Wize up people.

okjhok 9 years, 10 months ago

National Honor Society has little to do with grades. It's more about having the right people in your corner, ie sucking up to the right people. That said, I would think the lack of credits had more to do with miscommunication than anything else. Like someone said yesterday, looks like we'll be going for it A LOT on 4th down.

GoBadgers 9 years, 10 months ago

You chickenhawk fans must be scared seeing as you're going to really need someone that can get you 3 when your offense constantly stalls in the red zone.

Andy Hess 9 years, 10 months ago

Doogie again with the doom and gloom? i bet you REQUEST these stories so you can make KU fans feel suck, Doogie.

KGphoto 9 years, 10 months ago

Timing is so important in place kicking. And Hoge's timing obviously sucks. So I think we're better off without him.

100 9 years, 10 months ago

keep in mind this is the same stuff that happens every year to most teams, though much goes unreported. Now that ku is fun for readers (profitable for ljw) to read about again, all stories (or non stories) will be magnified. Which means there will be more non ku fans on the message boards, pretending to be jayhawks. In short, this is a non issue -- trust mangino. Remember, ku didnt win the NCAA bball crown until MANY (bad grades, lack of discipline) kids left the team. With success comes losing a few weak links. Now its just "reported". Big deal.

Kevin Long 9 years, 10 months ago

It would be nice to at least have two to pick from in case one struggles. It is kinda a big deal. Webb wasn't really all that great through most of his career until last year and at the end it was shaky at best. Maybe this kid will do great and we will have no worries.

GoBadgers 9 years, 10 months ago

Love the rhyme 5Decade and thanks for setting your fellow chickenhawks straight. I'm tired of people constantly accusing me of being a Wisconsin fan. The entire state of Wisconsin sickens me. Plus, it's a great disrespect to my one and true allegiance: taxidea taxus a.k.a. the American badger.

Dan Harris 9 years, 10 months ago

GoBadgers- Did you pick the badgers as your user name because you know deep down that Tigers SUCK!

Jim Glover 9 years, 10 months ago

If Hoge is leaving for Academics, sorry he chose to do it now, but best of luck in Med School. Sounds like he might have had a future as a kicker. If He left because the program is to tough for him, then we are better off without him. Mangino has proven he is a great coach,and anyone who contradicts that really does not know much about football. Mangino win or lose this year has brought our program further then any coach in KU history, and deserves our respect when he has players leave the team. Look at Bill Self he has had many players leave the team, but somehow he has done OK. We will be OK in football, just a little bump in the road. As for GoBadger, people like you who go to other sites to stir things up really are about as immature as a junior high kid. You really need to grow up and find a life.

FlaHawk 9 years, 10 months ago

I think the loss of talent whether it is FB or Basketball is a reflection on the depth of the talent pool at KU. BB has always had this problem and it is a nice problem to have in FB.I think that their are only so many snaps to run the ball and so many PAT/KO/FG that are in a game. I would rather them quit on me now then during a criticlal game.Not everyone can produce or be coddled at this level.GO HAWKS!

bangaranggerg 9 years, 10 months ago

Dang I thought Boyd- Anderson was going to be something. How did he never materialize?

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