Kyle Stelter was asked about the ups and downs of being a long snapper in football -- a position that seems to a casual observer to be without much glamor or, frankly, action.
"To be honest," he said, correcting that assumption, "there's nothing to dislike."
Chuckle if you want, but Stelter is serious. And he should be. Becoming a snapping specialist for field goals and punts has taken him from being a seldom-used Division III player to a man pursuing a professional career.
He has attracted looks from NFL teams and is slated to make a living from his craft when he begins snapping in games next month for the Sacramento Mountain Lions of the United Football League.
Stelter, 24, got serious about being a long snapper after his senior year at Osceola (Wis.) High. His offensive line coach stayed after school with him and helped him put together a film package. Stelter spent a year at UW-Stout and three more at UW-River Falls.
He bounced around various positions until he was solely a long snapper by his senior year. He was effective, but to get to the next level he was told he needed to get considerably bigger.
"I was about 180 or 190 pounds," he said. "Scouts said I needed to be about 240."
So Stelter latched on with the semi-pro St. Paul Pioneers, where he could work on putting on weight and honing his craft. He also started Special Teams University, a company in which he holds camps and provides lessons.
In April, he went to a combine in Las Vegas put on by former NFL kicker Michael Husted and punter Louie Aguiar. He earned a five-star (out of five) rating, which led to getting an agent, which led to a tryout with Sacramento, which led to a job.
Stelter put a student-teaching gig in Hudson (Wis.) on hold and is set to head for Sacramento very soon.
He's up to almost 240 pounds, which would be big enough, Stelter said, to snap at the highest level. He performed in front of 11 NFL teams in Las Vegas, and while "nothing really came from that," Stelter said, he heard from a few teams who liked what they saw.
Even if nothing more comes of his skill, Stelter has, at the very least, proven wrong those who thought he was too small to play football.
"If you were to ask me during my senior year in college, I would have never thought I would be here," he said. "But I'm glad I had the opportunity to even do it."
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