Lakip says only pressure he feels is winning a starting job

by - Senior Writer -

Ammon LakipAmmon Lakip
Punter / Kicker
# 5-11, 175
Alpharetta, GA

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and his Chattahoochee High School football teammates were embroiled in a bitter state playoff contest against Marist last December, and Lakip admits he wasn’t having the best night of his career.

Lakip had missed a 30-yard field goal earlier in the contest, and a fake field goal attempt had led to a fumble and a 14-point halftime deficit. Chattahoochee then climbed back into the contest, and with the score tied at 28-28, Lakip was facing a 51-yard field goal that could send his team into the next round of the playoffs.

He trotted out onto the field, and his holder turned to him, smiled, and gave him the best advice he could have gotten at that point.

“It’s just another kick.”

Lakip lined up for the kick in cold and blustery conditions and calmly drilled the game-winner in their 31-28 win, and he told TigerNet Friday afternoon that he really doesn’t get nervous on the football field – he was just angry that he had put himself and his team in that position.

“If I had made the 30-yarder earlier in the game, I wouldn’t have put my team in that position,” Lakip said. “That missed field is what changed the momentum of the game, and we had to make that comeback. But I actually get more nervous making a penalty kick in soccer than I do on the football field.

“Of course, in soccer, there aren’t 80,000 fans screaming at you. You just have to clear your mind, and stick to your fundamentals. It’s like my holder would always tell me – it’s just another kick and that is the way you have to approach it.”

And what if he is faced with having to kick a game-winner early in the season – say against FSU or Virginia Tech?

“It has crossed my mind,” he said. “But, I have never really been one to get nervous. Actually, I look forward to pressure situations, I guess, and big games. But I am not really worried about kicking this season or trying to win games – the first thing I am focusing on is winning the starting spot.”

Lakip was the No. 7-rated kicker prospect in the nation according to Rivals, and hit 14-of-20 field goal attempts as a senior for the Cougars. He was also 2-for-3 from beyond 50 yards, hit 62-of-63 extra point attempts and 85% of his kickoffs went for touchbacks.

He will be on campus July 3rd, and will start classes in the Second Summer session that begins July 7th, and he says he is more than ready to start his new life.

“It has gone by pretty fast since I committed,” he said. “My last semester, I played soccer for my high school team so that made it go by really fast. And, playing soccer kept me fit. These past couple of months, I have been really working out, and I have been kicking with coach two or three times a week. I think I am pretty ready, and I am just excited to get up there and see what it is like.”

He says he understands if the coaches want to redshirt him this season, but that isn’t his plans – he wants to come in and help win football games this year.

“I don’t think they really want to redshirt me,” he said. “They have talked to me about field goal kicking as my main scope of competition. They have told me that me and Chandler [Catanzaro] would be competing for that spot, and they didn’t rule out the possibility of kickoffs, even though I know Spencer [Benton] does a great job on those. They told me they weren’t afraid to play me, and I know they played Chandler last year over a senior. So, that is my goal – I want to come in and try and play right away.”

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