— Phoenix Chirwa (@Phoenix_Chirwa) September 8, 2016
We already knew Daniel Whelan could connect on 50-yard field goals. After all, the Irish sensation drilled three as a Rancho Mirage (Calif.) junior in 2015 — as many or more than half the teams in the NFL last season.
Now, though, he’s gunning for 60-yarders, and if practice is any indication, he’ll drill those, too.
The 6-foot-5, 190-pound kicker successfully booted a 65-yard field goal over his offensive line at Wednesday’s practice — one yard longer than the NFL record. Of course, we’ll have to see if Whelan can replicate it in a game, but remarkably kicks from that distance are becoming routine for the Ireland native.
Whelan moved from Dublin during his freshman year in 2013, joining Rancho Mirage’s soccer team. On the pitch, he captured the football coach’s attention and was recruited over to the gridiron as a junior last fall.
In his first varsity campaign, Whelan converted 42 of his 43 extra-point attempts — a higher percentage (97.7) than all but a handful of NFL teams last season. Additionally, he made field goals of 50, 51 and 52 yards, logged touchbacks on 53 of his 64 kickoffs and averaged 39 yards on 37 punts, including a long of 62 yards.
His highlight reel from 2015 is a series of booming kickoffs, deep field goals and punts pinned inside the 20.
Whelan won Stanford University’s kicking camp over the summer with a 55-yard field goal, and the Cardinal appear to top the list of potential suitors for his kicking service. Already this season, Whelan’s been dubbed the “most college-ready football player” in the Coachella Valley, so now we’re just waiting for him to connect on a 65-yarder in a game to cement that status. His next opportunity comes Friday night against La Quinta (Calif.).