There’s usually only so much you can say about a sport during the offseason. Unless controversy rears its ugly head, there’s usually just not much to talk about. And yet football seems to be coming up a lot lately. First, there was the news that the NCAA would be getting some new players from down under. Then, there was news on the Redskins trademark cancellation, which was recently upheld. Finally (or so we thought), there was news regarding the two FSU players recently dismissed from the team. Now, there’s Texas Longhorns PK Nick Rose.
If that name doesn’t sound familiar to you, don’t be surprised. As far as we could find, there are only three major stories pertaining to Nick Rose. Each of them is interesting, but none of them is enough to make a placekicker any more famous than one would normally expect them to be. And that’s just wrong. Below, we’ll cover the stories that everyone knows, as well as some lesser-known facts about Nick Rose and why they’re important. Finally, we’ll cover why you should be interested in whether or not he has a future in the NFL.
Fun Fact #1: Nick Rose is Kind of a Show-Off
First of all, before we get into how much of a show-off Nick Rose can really be, we should mention that the first big story pertaining to Nick Rose was somewhat forced upon him. Last year, when he was a junior, his team headshot went viral. For a brief period that many quickly forgot about, college football fans were obsessed with shopping Rose’s hair onto other players (and even, appropriately, a longhorn). Nick Rose even commented on the trend himself, stating on Twitter that he was thinking about cutting his hair.
Even with that story, however, Rose did not become a famed sensation or anything. In fact, to put the whole thing in perspective, that tweet about cutting his hair was marked as a favorite by only three other Twitter users. By contrast, he received eight favorites for a picture of a toy dinosaur biting his finger. More importantly, people were only talking about his hair. No one was talking about him as an athlete. Although to be fair, having made only two-thirds of his field goal attempts last year, those who were talking about him probably didn’t have much of anything nice to say.
This year, however, the news on Nick Rose has been a little better. He’s been training pretty hard during the offseason, and it appears to be paying off. For one thing, he kicked a field goal while doing a backflip last month. Now, unlike the story about his hair, this one really was just showing off. We can’t imagine how this situation would’ve been set up in a regulation game, so it’s not like this skill is ever going to truly benefit him. That said, the accuracy it must take to get the ball through the uprights while upside down is still pretty impressive. If he had whacked the thing with a hatchet, he’d basically qualify for the Spetznaz.
It’s important to reiterate that this guy had missed 7 out of 21 attempts last year. And while the accuracy he needed on those field goals is not precisely the type of accuracy he’s honing while doing shirtless backflips from right behind the goal line, it’s still nice to think that he’s working on it in general. Still, there are probably some Longhorns fans who watched Nick Rose make that kick and wondered why he was goofing around when he needed to be working on more important factors such as distance and accuracy.
If anyone did have that thought, they were in for a surprise this month. Why? Because Nick Rose just made another show-off video, and this one is a lot more relevant to his game. In this one, Rose kicks the ball from the 80-yard line, after which it soars pretty high through the uprights. Even more astounding is that the ball is only slightly off-center when it goes through. Either the wind was greatly on his side that day, or the kid knows what he’s doing. He certainly wasn’t posting kicks like that last year.
Micah Peters of USA TODAY was so impressed as to compare Nick Rose and Nigel Gruff of The Replacements. But if you look at the video of Gruff linked to that reference, you’ll see that this comparison is somewhat inaccurate. Gruff’s amazing field goal in that movie only goes for 65 yards. That’s certainly impressive, but Nick Rose can apparently kick it from about 15 yards further.
That’s not the only reason that Nick Rose’s 80-yard field goal is impressive. Beating a movie character is one thing. But beating some of the best record-setting players in the NFL is a different thing entirely. Denver Broncos PK Matt Prater was lauded in 2013 when he set a record with a 64-yard field goal. There are, of course, some notable differences. The most important is that Nick Rose didn’t make his field goal attempt during an actual game. There was no pressure on him, and he wasn’t encumbered by a helmet or padding. (In fact, much like his backflip video, he wasn’t even encumbered by a shirt.) Still, there’s something to be said for that ability. We wouldn’t be surprised if we start hearing Nick Rose mentioned a lot more frequently now. But it’s possible that we already should have heard about him before….
Fun Fact #2: Nick Rose Could Show Off More
The thing that makes Nick Rose’s 80-yard field goal particularly impressive is the accuracy. Given how many touchbacks he’s kicked during his career, we’re guessing that distance has always been a strong point of his. Heck, we’re almost inclined to wonder whether or not he’s able to rein it in when he needs to. Close to half of his kickoffs each season have been touchbacks, and he’s kicked a number of field goals over 40 yards. His longest in a game was 51 yards, last year while playing against the Oklahoma State Cowboys.
Nick Rose is decent as a punter, as well. He only really did it in high school, and his average of 39.47 yards was less fantastic than merely respectable, but distance isn’t the only thing that matters in football. Speed counts for a lot, and Nick Rose proved himself to be highly athletic from an early age when he broke his school’s 40-yard dash record with a speed of 4.42 seconds. If you aren’t sure why the 40-yard dash is important in football, let’s break that down for a minute.
Most designated punters kick a bit further than Nick Rose. In fact, he’s right under the lower average span of between 40 and 50 yards. Since the ball travels about this far, the 40-yard dash helps to measure how fast a player can get past the line of scrimmage to the ball’s approximate landing spot. The Dallas Cowboys were one of the first teams in the NFL to use the 40-yard dash as a test of their players’ abilities, and the fastest time ever set at the NFL Scouting Combine was 4.24 seconds, a time posted by RB Chris Johnson in 2008, not long before he was drafted by the Tennessee Titans.
Nick Rose might not be as fast as Johnson, but few people are. Still, looking at dash times for the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine, Rose isn’t doing too poorly. Most of the players who posted faster times were either corners or wide receivers, positions that traditionally have to gain a lot of distance in a short amount of time. But Rose’s dash speed from high school is better than any of last year’s quarterbacks (including Marcus Mariota), all but two of last combine’s corners (Trae Waynes and Ronald Darby were both faster), and all but one of last year’s running backs (Jeremy Langford combine record tied Rose’s record from high school). In other words, Nick Rose played like he was ready for the NFL Scouting Combine while he was still in high school.
Again, the dash isn’t the best indicator of on-field abilities, since it is generally run while unencumbered. That’s why people were shocked to learn that Eli Manning, who isn’t exactly known for his speed, ran the dash with his helmet on while on a recruiting trip to Tulane. The results were less than spectacular.
Still, a talented placekicker who also runs arguably better than he needs to is an interesting concept. It has us wondering what his next show-off video is going to be. Is he going to punt a ball and catch it himself? That was already done by a high school student last year, and it was pretty big news at the time. Since it doesn’t seem too likely that Nick Rose is going to return to punting any time soon, it wouldn’t really be a feat that demonstrates any sort of actual game prowess. Although it’s technically legal, so it’s still more useful than kicking a field goal from a backflip. Just saying.
Fun Fact #3: Nick Rose Could Make You Rich
If you’re new to sports betting (and if so, we have a pretty comprehensive guide on how to do it), then you might not realize just how important Nick Rose could be. We aren’t saying that he’s going to single-handedly determine whether or not the Texas Longhorns win most of their games next season. In fact, if he doesn’t step it up while on the field, then his ability to show off won’t really matter all that much. He finished last season with some work to be done, and his recent feats don’t really prove that he’s done it.
Even so, Nick Rose is the kind of player for whom prop bets exist. If he does manage to recreate field goals like his epic 80-yarder during an actual game, then you can bet that a lot of sports bettors are going to want to place money down on when he’ll do it again. There will likely be prop bets for if he even can do it during the regular season, as well as what his longest field goal in a particular game might be. Prop bets aren’t necessarily the best or most reliable way to make your money as a sports bettor, but they can be a lot of fun. And since non-bettors who have read about his feats will likely want a part of the action, anyone with some handicapping abilities and real sports knowledge up their sleeve will have a distinct advantage.
We aren’t just talking about his college career, either. He’s not too far off from graduating, and any improvements over last season might put him in line for the next NFL Draft. The new NFL rule regarding PAT attempts only pushes players back to the 15-yard line, so he’ll be pretty comfortable with the new regulations if his skills continue to improve. And if he does make it to the NFL, then there could easily be speculation as to whether or not he will ever beat Matt Prater’s 64-yard record. Not only could this lead to Nick Rose making history, but it could also lead to more substantial prop betting.
Nick Rose might not wind up being the best player in the NFL. Heck, Nick Rose might not even make the NFL. And he might not have improved as much on the field this year as the videos appear to indicate. Whether or not he’s worth watching is practically a prop bet unto itself. But right now, with his 80-yard field goal having only just swept the internet, there’s certainly a lot of speculation. Will he be the player to watch this year? Will sports bettors be able to make some quick cash by wagering on his recent feats and whether or not he can recreate them in front of packed stands and a cheering crowd?
We’re certainly excited to see. Based on his high school stats, he’s been on a journey to greatness for quite some time. Eventually—hopefully—he might just get there.