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Well-traveled punter hopes to find a home with Hawkeyes

[ 0 ] August 8, 2014 |
Dillon Kidd, left, and Connor Kornbrath are competing for the Iowa punting job this fall. (HawkCentral)

Dillon Kidd, left, and Connor Kornbrath are competing for the Iowa punting job this fall. (HawkCentral)

IOWA CITY, Ia. – Dillon Kidd’s punting career can be measured in miles, as well as yards.

Before joining the Iowa football program in January, Kidd spent a couple seasons at Florida State, then took a detour to El Camino (Calif.) Community College.

He was planning a return to the East when a coaching shakeup left him out in the cold.

“I called up some of my recruiting guys,” Kidd recalled, “and I was like, ‘Is there anything else out there for a punter?’ “

That’s when he learned the Hawkeyes were looking for somebody to challenge returning starter Connor Kornbrath.

“After a lot of consideration and talking to my parents, coaches and stuff, I figured this was a good opportunity,” Kidd said. “That’s what really got me here, the idea of playing in the Big Ten.”

In some ways, the native of Deerfield Beach, Fla., is returning to his roots.

His father, John Kidd, punted for Big Ten rival Northwestern in the early 1980s, then embarked on a 15-year career in the NFL.

Dillon Kidd averaged 38.2 yards per punt in junior college and traveled roughly 4,000 miles the past three seasons, only to find himself mired in a duel with Kornbrath.

“We’ve been in competition since I got here,” Kidd said. “There’s always going to be guys going for the same spot.

“You have to know that being a college specialist.”

For Iowa, it’s just one of the pivotal position battles on special teams.

The place-kicking job will come down to Marshall Koehn, Mick Ellis or Miguel Recinos.

“I’m excited to see the competition,” special teams coach Chris White said. “I told the specialists, ‘You’re the most important guys on this team in this preseason.’ We know pretty much what we have, especially on offense. We (special teams) have some question marks.’

“Who steps up is going to be really, really interesting to see.”

Kicking was supposed to be an offseason concern.

Mike Meyer converted 61 of 80 field goals (76.3 percent) after making his debut in 2010, and his graduation left a void.

But Kornbrath is coming back for his junior year, after averaging 39.1 yards on 118 punts the past two seasons.

“(Coaches) brought me in and said at times I was good,” Kornbrath said. “At times, we both knew I needed to get better.

“I think it’s definitely refocused me, thinking more about every practice. A lot of what coach (Kirk) Ferentz talks about is details and bringing that in to everyday things.”

So far, the results have been encouraging.

“I think Connor handled it exceptionally well,” White said. “He understood that he needs to be more consistent.

“There’s no question about it.”

Will Korbrath or Kidd provide the ultimate answer to the Hawkeyes’ punting predicament?

“We’re both mature enough to realize there is going to be competition,” Kidd said. “In a perfect world there would only be one guy on every team, but we know that it’s not a perfect world.”

 

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

About Andrew Logue: Andrew has been with the Des Moines Register for 19 years, covering everything from preps to Hawkeye and Cyclone sports, as well as the Drake Relays. View author profile.

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