After the graduation of former kicker Harrison Butker, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets kicking saga took an interesting turn. We all thought they had his replacement lined up in stud kicking recruit Joseph Bulovas. Well then he decided to go be a back-up at Alabama. Leaving Tech in a bit of a panic, they brought in Brenton King.
The 2017 season was rough for the kicking game. King and veteran Shawn Davis split the job with neither one doing particularly well. Fast forward a year, and not much has changed, except that there was an additional walk-on in the competition: Dahlonega-native Wesley Wells.
Wells got his first bit of action against Bowling Green, where he served as the primary place kicker, connecting on all nine of his PATs. From there, Wells went on to not miss a single kick.
Easily my favorite moment from Wells’ lone season on the Flats was his game against UNC. Wells lined up for the game-sealing kick, so head coach Paul Johnson asked Wells which hash he wanted to kick from.
On the play before his game-sealing FG vs. UNC, Paul Johnson told me he asked Wesley Wells what hash mark he preferred the ball on. His response: "Ah, it doesn't matter. I'm gonna make it anyway."— Andy Demetra (@AndyDemetra) November 17, 2018
4-4 FG tonight including a 48-yarder and a 40-yarder to help Tech get the W.
From Andy Demetra’s Twitter: “Ah, it doesn’t matter. I’m gonna make it anyway.”
Wells finished the season 9-for-9 on field goals with a long of 48 yards. I decided to include Wells on this list for a number of reasons. The biggest one, though, is that we saw how much Tech struggled without a good kicker.
So how was Wells, a true freshman walk-on, so successful in his first season? A personal theory of mine is that the art of kicking is in large part mental, and Wells has it, as evidenced by the Tweet above.
We saw this a lot with Harrison Butker. In his earlier seasons, Butker had all the talent in the world as a kicker and had misses that left you wondering how. I remember at one point, it was pretty much a given that he would miss the field goal if it was between 30 and 39 yards. Thankfully, he put it together though.
Wells, on the other hand, he already has the mental aspect down. I think he could stand to improve his leg strength a bit, but honestly, he’s set. I think he’ll also play a bigger impact this season as I expect Geoff Collins to be significantly less aggressive in going for it on fourth down.
All that hard work paid off for Wells when he was awarded a scholarship. It was well-earned, and I fully expect Wells to continue his success. If I had to put a prediction on it, I won’t predict specifically how many field goals he will hit, but I think it’s safe to say that he’ll hit 90-95 percent of them. If he gets enough opportunities, I think he’s a good bet for All-ACC as well. Here’s hoping we don’t need him for anything other than PATs though!