For those of you who might’ve missed the memo, The Daily Gopher is counting down the Top 10 players on the current football roster. TDG staff members were asked to submit their rankings based on on-field performance and those selections were used to create a composite set of rankings. We’ll be unveiling our Top 10 every couple days over the next few weeks.
Our countdown continues with starting kicker Emmit Carpenter at No. 6.
To say Carpenter exceeded expectations in his debut season as the starting kicker would be an understatement. More than a few people were skeptical when Ryan Santoso shifted from kicker to punter prior to last season, opening the door for Carpenter to take over kicking duties as a redshirt sophomore. But it didn’t take long for Carpenter to put those concerns to bed.
Carpenter made 22-of-24 field goals last season — he started the year 9-for-9 and ended the season with 12 consecutive made field goal attempts — and was named the Big Ten’s Bakken-Andersen Kicker of the Year, making him the first Gopher to receive the honor. He was also a semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award for college football’s top kicker. Carpenter finished the season with 109 points, which tied Dan Nystrom for the most all-time by a Minnesota kicker.
But it doesn’t stop there. Carpenter was also a perfect 10-for-10 on field goals of 40 yards or more, including two from beyond 50 yards. He was the only kicker in the nation, with a minimum of six attempts, to accomplish this feat.
Carpenter also delivered the game-winning 28-yard field goal against Rutgers on Homecoming with nine seconds left. (Forget the fact that we needed a last-second field goal to beat Rutgers)
If you went looking for a flaw in his game, it’d be on kickoffs. He notched 38 touchbacks on 76 kickoffs, but had one too many kickoffs out of bounds. Carpenter seemed to struggle at times to adapt to the wind, but I’m sure that is something he’ll continue to work on.
Looking back, there were signs that Carpenter was going to be something special for the Gophers:
Haters are gonna say it's fake. pic.twitter.com/8mwBlODJsQ— Gopher Specialists (@MinnSpecialists) June 15, 2016
TDG’s Top 10 Gopher Football Players:
No. 6 - Emmit Carpenter
No. 7 - Cody Poock
No. 8 - Rashad Still
No. 9 - Blake Cashman
No. 10 - Ryan Santoso
Be sure to check back on Friday as we reveal No. 5!