The Gophers need to replace departing senior Chris Hawthorne at place-kicker this fall, and the two leading candidates are redshirt freshmen – Ryan Santoso and Andrew Harte. Both kickers were perfect in Saturday’s scrimmage.
Santoso nailed both of his field goal attempts – from 26 and 46 yards – along with an extra point. Harte hit a 43-yard field goal and was 4-for-4 on his extra point attempts.
The defense looked very good early in the scrimmage, and the offense had some explosive plays later in the scrimmage, but Coach Jerry Kill referenced the kicking game, saying, “That’s probably the thing I was most excited about.”
Santoso was an Under Armour All-American for Pace High School in Florida and came to the Gophers with a scholarship. He also punted in high school, but with Peter Mortell excelling last year as a sophomore punter, Santoso has been able to focus on place-kicking.
Harte is a walk-on from Montini Catholic in Downers Grove, Ill. He has a pretty standard build for a kicker – 6-foot, 180 pounds – but Santoso is 6-5, 255 pounds. Santoso has actually trimmed down considerably from when he first arrived on campus last summer.
“He’s a totally different looking guy,” Kill said earlier this spring. “He’s kind of like the big kid playing basketball, [Mo] Walker. It’s unbelievable what his body looks like. You talk about somebody who’s made a commitment. We’ll see how it turns out.”