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June 6, 2013

Ranking the Big Ten: Kicker

As Nebraska moves into its third season in the Big Ten Conference, HuskerOnline.com will get you ready with ranking analysis pieces breaking down each position in the league. Today, we look at the kicker position in the Big Ten heading into 2013.

1. Jeff Budzien, Northwestern, 5-11, 165, Sr.
Jeff Budzien was nearly perfect for Northwestern last season, connecting on 19-of-20 field goal attempts, including 6-of-7 from 40 yards or longer. As a result, he was named Bakken-Anderson Big Ten Co-Kicker of the Year and the first Wildcat kicker to be named first-team all-conference (coaches) since 1997. Budzien should only continue to rewrite the Northwestern record books in his third year as a starter in 2013.
2. Brendan Gibbons, Michigan, 6-1, 240, Sr.
Entering his fourth year as Michigan's starting kicker, senior Brendan Gibbons has gotten progressively better and more consistent with every season. After being the hero by nailing a game-winning field goal in overtime against Virginia Tech in the 2012 Sugar Bowl, Gibbons was 16-of-18 on his kicks and a perfect 45-of-45 on extra points last season, earning honorable mention All-Big Ten.
3. Mike Meyer, Iowa, 6-2, 190, Sr.
One of 20 semifinalists for the Lou Groza Award for the second straight season last year, senior Mike Meyer is well on his way to establishing himself as one of the most productive kickers in Iowa history. His 45 career field goals and 235 points both rank fifth in school history, and his 81 consecutive made extra points are already a Hawkeye record.
4. Drew Basil, Ohio State, 6-2, 210, Sr.
Senior Drew Basil will be in a situation all too familiar for Nebraska fans this season, as he will handle both kicking and punting duties for the Buckeyes. As a kicker, Basil had just six field goal attempts in 2012 heading into the season finale against Michigan, but he stepped up and nailed 4-of-5 attempts to seal OSU's perfect regular season run.
5. Kyle French, Wisconsin, 6-1, 199, Jr.
Wisconsin couldn't seem to find a clear starter at kicker until the end of last season, when Kyle French finally emerged and took control of the job over the final few games. His leg strength leaves something to be desired, but inside of 40 yards French was spot on. He looks to have fully locked the starting job up this spring, giving the Badgers some much needed stability in the kicking game.



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