Syracuse, N.Y. — Syracuse football stumbled into one of the nation’s best kickers with a LinkedIn bulletin and a buzz alarm from his earlier sister.
That’s how Dave Boller aboriginal got wind of Andre Szmyt, who is sailing assurance through the ambition posts this division at a amount incomparable in academy football history.
Szmyt has denticulate a nation-leading 103 points and has recorded at atomic 10 credibility in anniversary of the team’s aboriginal eight games. The school’s single-season scoring almanac is 128, set by above active aback Walter Reyes in 2003.
His 21 acreage goals accept already eclipsed Cole Murphy’s single-season almanac of 20 from a year ago, and the redshirt apprentice from Vernon Hills, Ill., a arctic suburb of Chicago, is able-bodied aural ability of the civic almanac of 31 set by Georgia’s Billy Bennett in 2003.
There accept been twists and turns up to this point, but Szmyt, accurate to form, has backward the advance in assertive a division like the one advance was consistently possible.
This is the adventure of how, for a aggregation defective a new kicker, Szmyt happened.
Szmyt was a soccer player, with legs akin timberline trunks, who had beneath than two years’ account of acquaintance blame footballs afore defective to adjudge breadth he capital to appear college.
Boller, who formed for Louisville afore aing the Orange in the bounce of 2017, followed up on the LinkedIn bulletin from Szmyt’s sister and scouted Szmyt, allowance recruit him to Louisville.
Backed up by the appraisal of trusted blame able Rick Sang, Boller knew Szmyt could accomplish at the Division I level, but breadth he would do so became abashed afterwards Louisville’s apprentice article becoming a scholarship the aforementioned bounce Szmyt was set to alum aerial school, acceptation the anticipation for arena time and earning his own scholarship acceptable wouldn’t appear for a few years.
“That’s affectionate of the alone abode I absolutely had the advantage to go,” Szmyt said.
When Boller took a job at Syracuse that aforementioned spring, he bare to advertise Szmyt on a best ambit from home, a bigger — but pricier — apprenticeship and the anticipation of seeing the acreage eventually with Murphy set to alum afterwards the 2017 season.
Another agency was Syracuse was OK acceptance Szmyt to abide home through the summer, address for the aboriginal day of abatement classes and save money on a division of schooling, acceptance the above walk-on to absorb the summer with ancestors and friends.
He accepted he could use his aboriginal year acquirements how to access the brainy aspect of blame from the chief Murphy and could added complete off the field. Appear the afterward spring, the action to acquire the starting job — and the likelihood of a scholarship — bedeviled his focus.
“I ample it was now or never,” Szmyt said. “Whoever was activity to win this was activity to comedy until they can’t comedy anymore.
“This was my one befalling I would accept to win the job. I took it actively to alternation actual adamantine in the offseason.”
By the end of training affected this accomplished August, Szmyt’s about-face amount in convenance mirrored what he has done this division — earning midseason All-America ceremoniousness from several admired publications and hitting 21-of-23 attempts, including all three from 50-plus yards.
During a aggregation affair afterwards the Orange’s crushing, 44-37 overtime accident at Pittsburgh on Oct. 6, a d in which Szmyt hit a 54-yard acreage ambition in the final 6 account of adjustment to accord SU a three-point lead, he was asked to angle up while the bang was apparent on film.
Then, Dino Babers appear Szmyt was on scholarship.
After the meeting, Szmyt FaceTimed his parents, who were active aback from Pittsburgh with their adolescent daughter.
“They couldn’t accept it,” he said.
Szmyt’s success, to be sure, can be summed up by his abiding approach. He is laid-back, controlled and apparently would feel at home on the West Coast as abundant as he does at Syracuse University.
It is additionally a byproduct of the pieces about him: continued snappers Matt Keller and Aaron Bolinsky as able-bodied as holder Nolan Cooney, who tilts the brawl adjoin him anytime hardly to accord Szmyt added apparent breadth to strike.
“They bandy it back, and 90 percent of the time I don’t alike accept to move the ball,” Cooney said. “They accord me the laces, and I aloof accept to put the brawl bottomward for him.”
Murphy said he acclimated to accompany an iPad to convenance aftermost year and noticed on blur Szmyt may accept been too relaxed at times.
“It’s absolutely acceptable as a article to backward relaxed,” Murphy said. “There is absolute baby jerk allowance breadth if you’re too loose, the brawl is either activity to shoot way appropriate or it’s activity to angle left, and if you’re too bound and you’re too anxious, you’re activity to hit a brand or a absolutely animal ball.”
With repetition, Szmyt has begin that candied atom breadth the brawl sounds added like a pop than a slap, like a golfer arresting a apple-pie adamant shot. His anatomy and ability does not change behindhand of ambit — teammates say he can blow 60 yards on ambit — and best of his makes accept been center-cut rather than aperture through the uprights.
“It’s amazing,” Murphy said. “I’m really, absolutely appreciative of the kid.”
Szmyt has met every claiming up to this point — animadversion both attempts in during his admission on the alley at Western Michigan, conduct a leash of bliss in advanced of 80,000 admirers at Clemson, hitting three in wet, awkward altitude that October afternoon in Pittsburgh and three added in a pressure-packed, nationally televised achievement adjoin North Carolina State aftermost week.
There are four amateur actual — additional a basin — for Szmyt to hunt bottomward Bennett’s single-season record, including November alley amateur at Wake Forest and Boston Academy and, notably, a nationally televised challenge adjoin a Notre Dame aggregation allusive for a playoff bid at Yankee Stadium after this month.
“He has ice in the veins,” Boller said. “Even in practice, if he’s nervous, I never saw it.”
“Being in the situation, it’s got to be on you,” Szmyt said. “You can’t adapt for article like that. You can handle the burden or you can’t area them out and you crumble beneath the pressure.
“I bang so abounding footballs at practice. It’s all year ’round I do it now. Coming in actuality as a freshman, I was like, ‘How do you comedy in advanced of all these people?’
“I’m cool assured in how my blame has become. It feels like it’s convenance back I go out there.”
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