Meet the USFL’s Kickers and Punters

The big day has finally happened, and I am here to analyze the 32nd and 33rd Rounds of the 2022 USFL Draft. The rounds were dedicated to drafting kickers and punters respectively. The eight teams have combined to employ nine new specialists. Here you will find a comprehensive breakdown of each player drafted during these two rounds.

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Philadelphia Stars

Kicker: Matt Mengel, UCLA

Punter: Pass

UCLA punter Matt Mengel kicks the ball away in a game against the Virginia Cavaliers in September. (Jason O. Watson / Getty Images)

In Round 32, the Philadelphia Stars made Matt Mengel the first kicker taken in the 2022 USFL Draft. When the now 28-year-old was playing for UCLA, he faced a difficult decision. Did he take a backup job as place-kicker behind Ka’Imi Fairbairn, or did he take a starting punter position instead? In the end, Mengel decided to take the opportunity as a punter to add another tool to his belt. Over his two years at UCLA, Mengel punted 113 times for a total of 4,535 yards, or roughly 40.1 yards per punt. After his college career, Mengel played during The Spring League’s 2021 bubble season with the Conquerors, where he was arguably the league’s best kicker, hitting his longest field goal of 53-yards.

Philadelphia decided to pass with their pick in the 33rd Round. With the 38-man active roster in the USFL, the Stars may look to give Mengel the opportunity to not only kick but punt as well, saving a roster spot for another position.

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New Jersey Generals

Kicker: Nick Rose, Texas

Punter: Pass

Nick Rose, Texas Longhorns

With the second pick of the 32nd Round, the New Jersey Generals selected Nick Rose (Texas). In his final year with the Longhorns, Rose converted 13-17 (76%) field goals in 2015. After his college career, Rose bounced around on practice squads in the NFL with the Falcons and 49ers, before landing a roster spot in Washington in the 2017 NFL Season. Rose was brought in to replace an injured Dustin Hopkins and through his eight weeks, he converted 11-14 (78%) field goals and had a long of 55 yards. After being waived by Washington when Hopkins was healthy, Rose was claimed by the Jets, Texans, and the Chargers. Eventually, he was released following the 2019 NFL Season.

With the Generals Passing their 33rd round pick, we will see if they are looking to adopt the same strategy as the Stars to save a roster spot by having Rose handle both kicking and punting duties.

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Michigan Panthers

Kicker: Pass

Punter: Michael Carrizosa, San Jose State

Michael Carrizosa, San Jose State

The Michigan Panthers have decided to pass on selecting a kicker in the 32nd round of the 2022 USFL Draft.

Instead, with the sixth pick in the 33rd round, the Panthers selected Michael Carrizosa out of San Jose State. The California native won and held the starting position for four years throughout his collegiate career. In 2015, he averaged a school record of 47.5 yards per punt. In 2016, he followed up his great sophomore season with 44.3 yards per punt in his junior season and 45.6 yards per punt in his senior season. He finished his college career punting 255 times, for over 9,900 yards (44 yards per punt). Carrizosa has also handled kickoff duties for the Spartans. The Panthers will likely look for a kicker in the Supplemental Draft in March.

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Tampa Bay Bandits

Kicker: Brandon Wright, Georgia State

Punter: Pass

Brandon Wright, Georgia State

With the fourth pick in the 32nd Round, the Tampa Bay Bandits selected 25-year-old Brandon Wright. Wright was the Georgia State punter for four years, punting for an average of 43.3 yards per punt (183 Punts). His junior year in 2018 was his best statistically, punting 51 times for a total of 2,458 yards (48.2 yards per punt). Additionally, Wright took on the place-kicking duties during his last three seasons there. He converted on 31 of his 52 field goal attempts (60%), which leads me to believe that the Tampa Bay Bandits will give him an opportunity to handle both kicking and punting responsibilities.

The Bandits passed on selecting a punter in the 33rd round.

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Pittsburgh Maulers

Kicker: Passed

Punter: Passed

The coaching staff for the Pittsburgh Maulers surprised quite a few special teams fanatics during the 32nd and 33rd Rounds of the draft. They decided to pass on taking a kicking specialist. I expect to see them address the position before the season starts in April.

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New Orleans Breakers

Kicker: Austin MacGinnis, Kentucky

Punter: Passed

Austin MacGinnis, Kentucky

The most prolific kicker in Kentucky State history was selected by the Breakers with the seventh pick in the 32nd Round of the 2022 USFL Draft. Austin MacGinnis was the place-kicker for Kentucky State throughout the 2016 and 2017 seasons. He converted 51 out of 64 (80%) field goals that he attempted and holds the school record for 359 career points. After bouncing around practice squads, Austin was drafted into the AAF by the Memphis Express. During the 2019 season, he converted nine of his 11 field goal attempts. When the league folded, the XFL’s Dallas Renegades selected MacGinnis during the 2020 season. He did not disappoint, converting on all 10 of his field-goal attempts.

Deciding to pass on their 33rd round pick, it will be interesting to see if the Breakers give MacGinnis his first punting opportunity in his pro football career.

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Houston Gamblers

Kicker: Nick Vogel, UAB

Punter: Andrew Galitz, Baylor

Nick Vogel, UAB

With the seventh pick in the 32nd round, the Houston Gamblers made my favourite pick of the 2022 USFL Draft. They are giving Nick Vogel a shot at the Kicker position. During his time at the University of Alabama, Vogel converted 47 of his 60 (78%) of his field-goal attempts. He also held a school record for career PAT percentage, making 128 of his 131 (98%) attempts. After college, Vogel was signed with the Baltimore Ravens, where he was then waived before the 2020 Season. Late in the 2021 CFL Season Vogel was contacted by the BC Lions to be their kicker. Vogel performed well, converting all eight of his attempts. He looked to be the future of the BC kicking room but was destined to be a second-stringer when they brought back CFL Legend Sean Whyte. The Gamblers have gotten their guy and shouldn’t have to worry about special teams being a bust.

In the 33rd Round with the second pick, the Gamblers selected Andrew Galitz out of Baylor University. Galitz performed very well, punting 166 times for a grand total of 6,987 yards (42.1 yards per punt). Injuries are a concern with Galitz, as he tore his ACL during both his junior and senior years of college. While it stopped NFL teams from looking his way, the XFL’s Dallas renegades selected him during the 2020 XFL Draft. He punted 18 times, Averaging 43 yards per punt. He will look to continue his career in another spring league come April.

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Birmingham Stallions

Kicker: Brandon Aubrey, Notre Dame

Punter: Colby Wadman, UC Davis

Colby Wadman (3) of the Denver Broncos punts the ball during the fourth quarter on Sunday, Nov. 25 at Broncos Stadium at Mile High. The Denver Broncos hosted the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Last, but not least, the Birmingham Stallions selected Brandon Aubrey with the eighth pick in the 32nd round. Aubrey certainly had an interesting journey to the USFL. He hasn’t played a snap of American football as of yet, playing as a defender for the Notre Dame Men’s Soccer Team from 2014-2017. Brandon was drafted by Toronto FC during the 2017 MLS SuperDraft where he played for one year before being released. Aubrey now looks to change careers and try out kicking in the USFL. He has shown on Instagram that he is capable of making a 60-yard field goal. We will not have to wait long to see if Aubrey was a good choice, as he and the Stallions will kick off the 2022 USFL Season, playing in the inaugural game, in April.

The Stallions were provided with the first pick in the 33rd round and they did not have to wait to get their guy. During his four-year stint at UC Davis, Wadman punted 244 times for 9,995 yards (41 yards per punt). After graduating, Wadman was signed to the Denver Broncos in 2018 when their punter went down with an injury in week five of the 2018 Season. When it was all said and done, Wadman punted 65 times for an average of 44.7 yards per punt.

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