Countdown to Kickoff: #90 – Jared Smolar and Kayton Samuels
Weight: 214 pounds
Hometown: Valparaiso, IN (Valparaiso High School)
Class/Position: Redshirt Sophomore/Kicker
Jared Smolar was the best kicker in the state of Indiana during the 2016 high school season. He dominated as a kicker and punter for Valparaiso High School, connecting on eight field goals (with a long of 52 yards), making all 36 extra-point attempts, averaging 41.2 yards per punt and handling kick-off duties. He was named the Indiana Preps Special Teams P/K of the Year and earned all-state honors.
He was recruited by several schools but opted to go play for Chris Ash and the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. Smolar quickly saw the field, playing in his first three games as a kickoff specialist. He had 21 kickoffs, averaging 55.1 yards per kick. However, Smolar didn’t quite fit in Piscataway and he transferred to Indiana University, redshirting the 2017 season.
Now a redshirt sophomore, Smolar is battling a few candidates, including incoming freshman Charles Campbell, for the right to be the starting kicker for the Hoosiers. It does not appear likely that Smolar has the accuracy to be the primary field goal kicker for IU, particularly with a kicker of Campbell’s pedigree coming into the program. However, I do think it is very possible Smolar ends up as the kickoff specialist as the coaching staff may try to avoid over-taxing the leg of Campbell. This is a position that will be worth watching throughout fall camp.
#90- Kayton Samuels
Weight: 305 pounds
Hometown: Ellenwood, GA (Arabia Mountain High School)
Class/Position: Grad Transfer SR/DL
The second player we’ll take a look at today is the newest Hoosier, Kayton Samuels. When Juan Harris decided to transfer in April, the coaching staff decided to up the intensity on their search for a veteran defensive tackle they could add to the roster. Samuels, a starter from the Syracuse Orange, had visited Indiana earlier and the timing was now perfect for the big man to commit to playing his final season of collegiate football in Bloomington.
Samuels earned his degree in psychology from Syracuse University on May 12 and will be studying computer science at IU. On the field, he’ll provide quality and experienced depth to the interior of the line. He has appeared in 34 career games and notched 24 starts in the ACC. Samuels recorded 44 tackles, 4.5 of them for a loss.