Four months ago, Andrew Endicott thought he’d found the perfect scenario when he chose to attend the University of Nevada as a preferred walk-on kicker for the football team.
In a short time, he had developed a strong rapport with Wolf Pack special teams coach Jeff Genyk. And he would reside just a couple hours from his hometown in Sacramento, Calif. As college plans went, Endicott knew he could do a whole lot worse.
But as Endicott learned, plans can change in a hurry.
Genyk left Nevada in March to accept a special teams position at the University of Wisconsin, and Endicott was without the one coach who had recruited him harder than anybody. Rather than feel stuck, Endicott decided to be proactive.
“When he left for Wisconsin, I just gave him a call and said, ‘Hey, is there a chance I could get a spot at Wisconsin?'” Endicott said. “It’s always been such a historic program. Coach Genyk told me, ‘Yeah, I think we have a spot for you. Do you still want to come out and visit?’ I was psyched.”
Endicott’s April visit to Madison convinced him to switch allegiances. Now, he is set to enroll in classes Saturday and join the Badgers’ kicking unit as a preferred walk-on. Not too shabby for Plan B.
Endicott said his family had ties to the Midwest, which made his decision to travel far from home easier. His mom is from Chicago, and his grandmother has a condo on Lake Geneva in Wisconsin, where Endicott spent all of his summers.
“It was one of those schools where my grandma knew she wanted me to go there for a long time,” said Endicott, who is on a family vacation in Maui this week and will fly out to Madison on Friday. “I heard all about it.”
What Endicott brings to Wisconsin is a strong leg and a mindset to compete for a starting job as a freshman. Redshirt junior Kyle French earned the starting kicking role out of spring practices, and sophomore Jack Russell is currently the backup kicker.
Based on his high school statistics last season at Jesuit High, Endicott’s niche could be as a kickoff specialist. Of his 45 kickoffs, 38 resulted in touchbacks. His average kickoff was 65.6 yards.
“He kicked the ball in the end zone,” Jesuit football coach Marlon Blanton said. “You can imagine what that does for our special teams, our coverage team. He was awesome. What a weapon for us to have.”
As a means of comparison, Wisconsin’s average kickoff on 77 kicks last season was 61.4 yards. Of course, high school kickoffs come from the 40, while college kickoffs start at the 35.
“If I could come in and win the kickoff job, sure I’d love to do that,” Endicott said. “Kickoffs are definitely I think what really is the wow factor for me personally.”
In addition to his kickoff duties last season, Endicott handled extra points and punts. He made 33 of 35 extra points, including the final 25 tries of the season. His punting average was 35.7 yards, with eight of 27 punts landing inside the 20.
Badgers punter Drew Meyer would seem to have the starting role locked down. He averaged 41.5 yards per kick and was one of the most vital components on the team last season, punting 80 times.
Endicott, a 5-foot-10, 170-pounder, did not kick field goals on his high school team. He said another player handled field goals to spare Endicott’s leg because he was responsible for all other facets of the kicking game. His only two attempts last season came in an all-star game. He made both tries, from 36 and 29 yards out.
“I can tell you his leg is big,” Blanton said. “In the weight room, he was one of our best players, strongest players, lifting-wise, clean, squats. He was in our top five.”
Blanton noted Endicott’s work ethic drew the attention of his teammates. Although he was an all-city and all-league special teams player, Blanton said Endicott participated in all other drills with the team.
“He did everything else as if he was actually playing a position,” Blanton said. “He kind of went above and beyond his duties as a kicker. He was definitely considered a teammate and a leader. All the other coaches thought very highly of him as well.”
Endicott intends on bringing the same approach to Wisconsin. And if things work out, maybe he can even earn a scholarship in a couple of years. Not a bad Plan B indeed.
“It’s not out of the question that I could earn one in the future, so that’s definitely something to keep in mind,” he said. “Especially with Wisconsin’s reputation for having walk-ons. I didn’t get the sense there was any difference between scholarship players and walk-on players like some other schools I’ve heard stories of.
“You’re on the same list as J.J. Watt as a walk-on. You’re doing something right. Obviously a scholarship is the ultimate goal. For me, just getting a chance to be on the team is pretty amazing.”