Preview 2010 - Big Ten Kicker Rankings
Northwestern PK Stefan Demos
Northwestern PK Stefan Demos
Posted May 24, 2010

Preview 2010 - Ranking the Top Big Ten Placekickers

Preview 2010 - Big Ten

The Top Kickers

- Big Ten Skill Position Rankings
Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Receivers | Tight Ends | Kickers  

1. Phillip Welch, Sr. Wisconsin
Welch was a Lou Groza Award semifinalist in 2008 after hitting 20-of-24 field goals, and while he regressed a bit connecting on 17-of-24 attempts last year including a 57 yarder against Fresno State. Hot as the year went on, he regained his form hitting eight of his final nine attempts. Five of his seven misses came from beyond 40 yards including misses from 55 and 57 yards away.

2. Stefan Demos, Sr. Northwestern
Demos is back after a strong year hitting 18-of-25 field goals with five of the misses coming from beyond 40 yards. He nailed a key 47-yarder against Iowa and an important 49-yard bomb against Eastern Michigan, and the coaches aren't afraid to let him try anything inside 50 yards.

3. Daniel Murray, Sr. Iowa
The Iowa kicking job will be up in the air all season long with the hot leg getting the call. Murray connected on 19-of-26 field goals last year, but he missed short range shots from 28 and 22 yards out and was inconsistent this offseason. Known mostly for hitting the 31-yarder to beat an undefeated Penn State two years ago, he has a good enough leg to attempt anything from 50 yards and in.

4. Eric Ellestad, Sr. Minnesota
Ellestad stepped into the starting job and was great … from inside the 40. He connected on 13-of-17 kicks nailing nine of his field goals from inside the 30 and missing all three of his kicks from behind the 39. He has a good enough leg to be used from deeper, but he has to prove he can actually connect from a reasonable range.

5. Devin Barclay, Sr. Ohio State
Barclay wanted to be a soccer star, and he was on track to be special as the USA Today player of the year and a four-year MLS starter before getting injured and walking on at OSU. He took over when Aaron Pettrey got hurt and connected on 7-of-10 field goals including the overtime game-winner from 39 yard out to beat Iowa. While the 27-year-old has a great leg, he hasn't shown it off much yet; his range is just inside the 50.

6. Carson Wiggs, Jr. Purdue
Wiggs stepped in and had a decent year as a placekicker and now he'll try to help a struggling punting game. He nailed 14-of-21 field goals with six of the misses coming from beyond 40 yards including a 60-yard attempt, but he has tremendous range connecting from 59 yards out against Toledo and from 55 yards away against Ohio State.

7. Derek Dinke, Jr. Illinois
Dimke stepped in and hit all five of his field goal attempts and was 12-of-12 on extra points while also serving as the kickoff specialist. He didn't get in until the end of the year, but he managed to bomb away with a 48-yarder against Northwestern and a 44-yarder against Fresno State. Now he'll get the chance to show what he can do for a full season and will get plenty of chances to show off his deep range.

8. Collin Wagner, Sr. Penn State
Wagner, a former walk-on wasn't fantastic, but he was decent hitting 15-of-22 field goals, including a 47-yard shot against Minnesota, and all 46 of his extra points. He doesn't have the biggest leg, but he's just good enough to be counted on in big games after nailing all four of his field goal attempts against LSU in the 19-17 bowl win

9. Brendan Gibbons, RFr. Michigan
Gibbons will take over for Jason Olesnavage, who hit 11-of-15 field goals last year and showed tremendous range hitting 5-of-6 shots from beyond the 40. Gibbons might have been the best all-around placekicker this offseason, but he has to prove he can be consistent on the short to midrange kicks. He'll nail a few big ones and will get his chances from around 50 yards. The 6-1, 245-pounder has a big leg with great range.

10. Dan Conroy, Soph. Michigan State
While there will be a battle for the starting kicker job, Conroy has an edge after being used a little bit on kickoffs and hitting a 43 yarder against Montana State. While he doesn't have a cannon for a leg, he has accurate midrange ability and he should be a decent replacement for Brett Swenson, who hit 19-of-22 field goals.