When Kyle Christy takes the field this week, it won’t be the first time he’s set foot on Lucas Oil Stadium’s turf. The University of Florida punter suited up for the Brownsburg Bulldogs there in a 2009 high school game against Noblesville.
This week is a homecoming for Christy, who said he’s received a number of texts from friends and family wishing him luck at the NFL Scouting Combine. And he made no secret Wednesday which NFL team is his favorite.
“Always a Colts fan. Big Peyton Manning fan,” he said. “I still have my Peyton Manning jersey.”
The Indianapolis Colts are set at punter with Pro Bowler Pat McAfee inked to a long-term deal, but the two have conversed on Twitter, with McAfee offering some advice along the way.
Christy, who is still taking classes in Gainesville, had an up-and-down career at Florida with the program going through the disappointing Will Muschamp years.
“I got there right as Muschamp became the head coach, then I’m done right as he’s moving on too, just kind of how it worked out,” Christy said. “My sophomore year, we went to the Sugar Bowl and we were one game away from the national championship. And then the next year we didn’t do very well, didn’t make a bowl game. I still had a lot of fun there. It was a great career overall.”
As a senior, Christy averaged 44.2 yards on 64 punts with 22 of more than 50 yards and 22 pinning the opponent inside its 20-yard line. If he were to make the NFL, Christy would join fellow Brownsburg alum Chris Jones as the school’s football pros.
“It was awesome (watching him in the Super Bowl),” Christy said of Jones. “I was really happy for him. I think he was actually in on the last play, the interception. It was really cool cheering him on.”
Penn State kicker Sam Ficken was an All-State performer during his prep days in Valparaiso. He had an up and down career in Happy Valley, but finished with a strong senior season, putting him in the NFL mix.
If Ficken were to make an NFL roster and kick in a game, he would be just the second Indiana-born kicker EVER in the NFL, according to Pro-Football-Reference.com (Fort Wayne’s John Diettrich).
“I did not know that,” Ficken said. “Hopefully there will be two now.”
Ficken was 24-of-29 on field goals during his senior season, with four of his five misses coming via block.
As for Diettrich’s NFL career? It was brief, but perfect. The former Ball State placekicker was 6-of-6 on field goals and made all five extra points in a two-game stint with the Houston Oilers in 1987.