March 24, 2009

Highly-recruited kicker with five big offers

It is not rare to see a running back, wide receiver or quarterback with five major offers in March. It is rare however, to see that kind of an offer list with a kicker. Ft. Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas has a strong history of producing top flight kickers and the next in line is Michael Palardy who already holds five impressive offers.

"As a junior last year, Auburn offered me," Palardy said. "Recently Syracuse, Alabama, Tennessee and Miami all offered me. All of those were sent in the mail to me as official offers."

Even more impressive than the offers is that Palardy picked them up after a season in which he was coming off of an injury and only showcased half of his skill set. Notre Dame signee Ben Turk handled punting for St. Thomas Aquinas while Palardy was limited to strictly kicking.

"Ben Turk was our punter so I didn't do any punting but I still punt," he said. "I did all of the kickoffs after the second or third game of the season and that was when I came back from my injury. I was 4-5 in field goals and I was 76 of 78 in extra points. I think I was 97 or 98 percent on touchbacks."

During his senior season, Palardy anticipates handling both kicking and punting duties. He also anticipates a similar dual role in college.

"I've been doing punting just as long as I have kicking and all of the offers like Tennessee, Alabama and Miami it's not just for kicking specifically, it's for punting as well. So Tennessee, Alabama, Miami, they all want me to come in as a freshman and compete for kicking and punting right away."

Palardy's strength isn't specifically accuracy or leg strength but more of a mixture of both.

"I'm not the biggest guy and I don't have the biggest leg but for a kicker it's not about the size or your leg or how much you squat, it's about how fast your leg swings and makes contact with the ball," he said. "That's the strong point to me. I get my leg back so quickly and swing it forward so strong that it's second nature."

Along with his current offers, Palardy also has been receiving interest from Texas and USC but maintains that he is wide open with his recruitment to date.

"As of now, where I stand, it's all open," he said. "Everyone has an equal chance. I have to focus on what I want to study and what program is best for me and I haven't visited any of them yet so I gotta take my time and look at the campuses and see what they have to offer."

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