Oklahoma State appears to be doubling down on Australian kicking specialists.
The Cowboys turned to true freshman Tom Hutton of Newborough, Victoria, as their starting punter last season, and coach Mike Gundy told media Monday that he’s favoriting Alex Hale of Point Frederick, New South Wales, to take over the team’s placekicking duties.
Hale, a redshirt sophomore walk-on, played soccer at St. Edward’s College in Point Frederick, NSW, before training to be a kicker with John Carney at Carney Training Facility in Carlsbad, California. He redshirted in 2018 and then averaged 61.8 yards on five kickoffs across two games against FCS McNeese State (two kickoffs) and Big 12 foe Kansas State (three kickoffs) this past season.
Redshirt junior Jake McClure of Chattanooga, Tennessee, handled OSU’s kickoff and place holder duties in 2019. He had 32 touchbacks on 75 kickoffs and helped the Cowboys rank second in the Big 12 on net average for kickoffs at 41.3 yards behind West Virginia by less than one-tenth of a yard.
Neither Hale or McClure have attempted a field goal or point-after-attempt for the Cowboys.
OSU’s starting kicker will have big shoes to fill after Matt Ammendola graduated this spring. Ammendola ranks in the top five in school history in points scored, field goals made, field goals attempted, field goal percentage, PATs made and attempted. He was 20-for-26 on field goals, including 7-for-11 from 40-yards plus last season. His 108 points scored led all Big 12 kickers and ranked third overall in the conference.