Parker Hannon, a 15-year-old from Roswell, Ga., isn’t claiming he’s the best kicker in the country, but he thinks he can knock a longtime NFL kicker out of the Guinness Book of World Records.
Four-time Super Bowl champion Adam Vinatieri set the mark for most 20-yard field goals in 60 seconds with 28 during Super Bowl week in February. Hannon will attempt to break that mark Friday at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta. The Hall of Fame will live-stream the record attempt beginning at 11 a.m. ET.
“My dad thought it would be cool to get exposure and reach out to colleges, and I thought it would be pretty neat,” Parker said. “The whole area is all excited. And it would be cool to be in the world record book.”
The genesis of the idea came in March when Parker and his father Jim went out to see what would happen if they tried what Vinatieri did.
“We think he’s one of the best kickers for his age, for sure,” Jim said. “It was just he and I on a cold night in early March.
“We saw (Vinatieri) kick and watched that video and he was taking three steps. I didn’t think we would have to. We took a video off the phone with a timer so we could tell exactly. We only had 10 balls and he kicked all 10 in 12 seconds. That told me he was pacing 50. We’ve done it a few times since then with more balls. Obviously, we wouldn’t be trying to do it if we didn’t think we could.”
Parker is ranked No. 6 in the Class of 2020 by Chris Sailer Kicking, which chooses the kickers for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Parker also has played for the U.S. National Team as selected by USA Football and was named FBU Freshman All-American.
As a young kid, Parker wasn’t very big – he is currently 5-9 and 140 – but he wanted to play football. His dad figured his interest would peter out, but when he didn’t make a youth team, dad and son decided to try kicking when Parker was 11.
Jim got to know Buddy Curry, the 1980 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year with the Atlanta Falcons through Curry’s Kids & Pros football camps. When he asked Curry for a suggestion, Curry provided a phone number.
“He said, ‘Give this guy a call,’ and he gave me Morten Andersen’s number,” Jim said. “The first thing Morten said is, ‘Can he kick full-size balls?’ He told us he’d meet us over at this field. It was 2 o’clock in the afternoon and the temperature was 105 degrees on the turf. But he stayed out there and took a liking to Parker.
“Morten made him one of the best kickers in the country in six weeks. Morten really went out of his way to help us and turns out Parker has a real knack for kicking. We’re always thankful to Morten and Buddy.”
Both Andersen, set for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this summer, and Curry will be in attendance Friday.
Parker says he’s been practicing virtually every day since the first attempt in March. The goal is to get himself in position as quickly as possible for the next kick.
“I’ve been practicing to kick and get back as fast as I can,” he said. “I think (Vinatieri) took too much time during the kicks. I think I can do it faster.”
He has had a busy spring with Roswell in spring football, camps and practicing for the record attempt, but says his leg with be fresh. He plans to take days off this week and then ice his leg the day before.
“I have 35 balls and can hit all 35 in 60 seconds with my dad holding,” Parker said. “He’s not really that good of a holder.”
Ah, the holder. Vinatieri had former Colts punter Pat McAfee for the record attempt. Parker has a bit of a different situation. His regular holder is graduating high school – the last day of classes at Roswell is Thursday – and his family has planned a vacation.
Malcolm Cunningham II, a wide receiver at Georgia Military College, has stepped in and been practicing with Parker over the last few days. Cunningham is the son of a family friend of the Hannons.
Beyond the world record, the Hannons are hoping to raise $20,000 for Kids & Pros and the Pat Tillman Foundation. Vinatieri’s record led to a $15,000 donation to the Tillman Foundation to help military families. You can make a donation by clicking here.
“We didn’t want Vinatieri to think we were trying to belittle him in any way,” Jim said. “The Pat Tillman Foundation was a very noble thing for him to raise money. We told Buddy, ‘Let’s do it for you and Pat Tillman and split the funds. We don’t want to be perceived as this is some kid trying to make an NFL guy trying to look bad.”
Asked about the pressure and the TV cameras expected, Parker says matter of factly, “You can’t really be a good kicker if you do bad under pressure.”