The kicking game often gets overlooked in college football, but any fan knows that a stud kicker or punter can change the course of a game.
This is especially true for Group of 5 squads early in the season as they often face difficult non-conference road games against Power 5 schools.
For these seven teams below, talent in the kicking game is a wealth of riches considering these young men can handle both punting and placekicking responsibilities.
Check out the only seven players out of every Group of 5 school talented enough to pin the opponent inside the 5 and then crush their souls with game-winning field goals.
Parker Shaunfield — Southern Miss
The Golden Eagles have redshirt freshman punter Zac Everett and incoming freshman Briggs Bourgeois, but neither of them may see the field if experienced kicker Parker Shaunfield can punt in 2017 as well as he kicked footballs through the uprights in 2016.
Shaunfield was an incredible 12 of 14 last season, including 6 of 7 from 40 yards or more. The Aledo, Texas native is also a perfect 62 of 62 on PAT attempts for his career.
He was the secret weapon in last season's opening week upset of Kentucky as he poured in 14 points and this season-long boot of 50 yards (scroll to the 2:19:55 mark to watch Shaunfield's monster kick).
Evan Pantels — UNLV
Pantels is the leading candidate to give Shaunfield a run for his duel-threat money.
An all-conference candidate, the junior averaged 41.7 yards on 64 punts last year while going 13 of 14 on field goal attempts. His kick last year at Hawaii with just 49 second left helped UNLV escape with a 41-38 win.
Morgan Hagee — Ball State
While Ball State will be giving incoming freshman Nathan Snyder every chance to win the starting punting gig, junior Morgan Hagee will provide quite the battle.
Hagee split the uprights 26 of 28 times last year and was perfect on extra points.
Luke Strebel — Air Force
A leading candidate to handle all kicking duties in 2017, Strebel was a secret weapon for Air Force last year on its way to a 10-win season and bowl victory. Now a senior, he went 22 of 25 last season on field goal attempts and has made every one of his 88 career PATs.
Watch Strebel back in high school with this sudden death walk-off 54-yard boot in … soccer?
Joel Velazquez — Boise State
Redshirt freshman Joel Velazquez will hit the ground running in 2017 as he attempts to take over for standout punter Sean Wale and placekicker Tyler Rausa.
[credit]Bronco Nation News[/credit]
Brandon Wright — Georgia State
Wright averaged 39.8 yards on 61 punts last season and may find himself as the Panther's main placekicker in 2017.
He's also one heck of a campus tour guide.
Jake Verity — East Carolina
Now a sophomore, the lanky Verity hit 1-of-2 field goals last year, is this year's starting placekicker, and will be handling punting duties as he did at Bremen High School in Georgia.