The assumption is that Florida’s next kicker, the one who is going to replace the popular and productive Eddy Pineiro, isn’t even on campus yet. He will arrive this summer, when true freshman Evan McPherson, the No. 1-ranked kicker coming out of high school, starts classes for Summer B.
But there’s at least one person out there who does not agree with this notion.
That would be Jorge Powell, who thinks Florida’s next kicker is actually a former starting kicker for the Gators who has been on campus since 2014.
The redshirt senior from Coral Gables, who was the starting place-kicker for four games in 2015, thinks he has positioned himself to be the one who fills Pineiro’s shoes this season.
“Yeah, it’s definitely going to be hard,” Powell said. “But me and Eddy worked every day. We got each other better. I think I’ll be able to fill in his shoes.
“Eddy’s a really good kicker, so I hope to fill in those shoes. We go back all the way from middle school. We played in the same soccer league, so I’ve known him for
a while and he’s a good guy.
“I’ve learned a lot from him, he’s learned a lot from me, and I hope to fill those shoes and do exactly what he did.”
While McPherson was going to prom and doing other high school stuff this spring, Powell was establishing himself as UF’s best kicker on campus in practice and scrimmages.
He had a good spring, and he has something none of the other kickers, including McPherson, has — experience.
He’s been the guy before. He took over as the starting place-kicker in the fourth game of the 2015 season and held the role for four games before injuring his knee on a kickoff against LSU.
He missed the rest of the season, then Pineiro arrived in the spring of 2016 and took over.
Two years later, Powell is hoping to reclaim the starting job he once held.
“It’s crazy,” he said. “I feel like I’ve been here forever. I’ve been here since 2014. Now I’m getting the opportunity to get back to how I was my sophomore year (before the injury). I feel like all eyes are on me, but I like that.
It gets me to compete every day.”
The real competition, of course, will begin this summer, with the arrival of McPherson. Powell is preparing for it in the weight room and on the practice field on his own.
“This summer, really trying to get my body stronger,” he said. “Maybe get a little bit more depth on my kickoffs. So, work a lot on my kickoffs. My field goals have been pretty solid, so just keep working my technique and stuff. But definitely getting stronger is probably my thing.”