Written By Evan McShane (@very_reasonable)
Griffin Oakes, Kicker, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Mini-Camp Invite
Indiana kicker Griffin Oakes was invited to mini-camp by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers where he will have a chance to compete for a roster spot. Oakes has flashed some occasionally brilliant accuracy throughout his kicking career, although he’s most known for having a canon for a leg. Oakes joined Indiana football as a walk-on. He redshirted his first collegiate season in 2013 before bursting on the scene the following year.
Oakes made 13 of his 18 field goals, while setting the Indiana school record for longest field goal with a 58-yarder against Maryland during his first start of his college career. His 58-yard bomb is the 10th longest kick in Big Ten history. Oakes demonstrated his elite skill by converting three out of four onside kicks. Oakes finished his sophomore season making 24-of-29 field goals, nearly 83%. He made 53-of-57 extra points while making 6-of-8 attempts from 40-yards or beyond. Oakes set IU’s single-season record for field goals made and total points for a kicker as a sophomore. Oakes capped his sophomore season by becoming the first Indiana Hoosier to win the Bakken-Andersen Big Ten Kicker of the Year Award. H was also named First Team All-Big Ten.
Oakes suffered a regression during his junior season despite beginning the season on the Lou Groza Award Watch List. Oakes connected on only 16 of his 26 field goal attempts, causing some to wonder what happened to Indiana’s dynamite kicker. However, Oakes did have a few nice moments. In a win against Ball State, Oakes nailed all three of his field goals, including a season-long 49-yarder. Oakes also hit a chip-shot in overtime to beat Michigan State in one of Indiana’s most memorable victories of the year. Oakes was hungry for redemption after his junior season came to a close.
New Hoosier head coach Tom Allen’s dedication to special teams seemingly revived Griffin Oakes’ confidence. Oakes’ senior year was one for the record books and a brilliant finish to a storied career. He finished his senior season with Indiana going nearly perfect on field goal attempts: making 16-of-17. He also went 38-of-39 on PATs. The only two kicks Oakes missed as a senior were blocked. Oakes again won the Bakken-Andersen Big Ten Kicker of the Year Award and was a First Team All-Big Ten selection. Oakes also earned a spot as a semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award for best kicker in the country.
Simply put, Oakes was far and away one of the best kickers in the country last season. He will go down as one of the great IU football players as well. Oakes is Indiana’s program leader in field goals made with 69. He connected on nearly 77% of his field goal attempts. He finished second in extra points with 147 and total points scored with 354. Oakes managed to become one of the best kickers in Big Ten history as well. The Buccaneers may have found a diamond in Griffin Oakes. Tampa Bay has struggled to find continuity at the kicker position, and it’s possible Oakes’ big leg and newfound confidence will give him a chance to make the team.
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