April 2012 only saw one player from K-State find a home through the NFL draft – and even that was a stretch, as Bryce Brown saw little playing time and quit the team his first year after transferring to Manhattan before conference play started. 2013 should be a much more profitable year for departing Wildcat players. Over the next two weeks, Jug of Snyder will be assessing the players entering 2012 with draft hopes and how they finished their careers with K-State. For our eighth and final installment we go to a player that made the most of his opportunities, but continues working to prove himself to a skeptical audience – kicker Anthony Cantele.
Anthony Cantele didn’t make many radars outside of the State of Kansas. That could very well change later this month when Cantele was one of only five kickers invited to the NFL Combine earlier this week, which takes place February 23-26. And while his peers have received grades going into the combine, NFL.com failed to even provide an analysis of K-State’s kicker. Several other players, including those kickers receiving grades, were given evaluations that included strengths, weaknesses, collegiate production, and comparisons to current NFL players. Cantele is the event’s unknown commodity.
It makes sense that the senior from Wichita has so many teams intrigued yet still uncertain about his potential despite a body of work that includes two full years kicking for the Wildcats. K-State was so efficient inside the 20 yard line that Cantele received few field goal opportunities during the year, with a total of 23 attempts. Additionally, little is known about his leg strength. Of his 23 attempts, only six were from 40-49 yards (of which he hit four), and he did not attempt a kick from beyond 50. Overall, Cantele connected on 19 of 23 attempts resulting in an 83 percent success rate. He did not make a kick beyond 42 yards in 2012, and hit 64 of 64 PATs.
Although Cantele was very consistent his senior year, he had slightly less success as a junior. In 2011 he was successful on 17 of 23 attempts (74 percent), and also missed an extra point attempt. That year he only made three of his six kicks of 40-49 yards, and nailed his only attempt from beyond 50 yards (54 yards). His long record was (and still is) 54 yards in 2011.
Cantele is the number five ranked kicker in the 2013 draft class according to Frank Cooney’s Sports Xchange, with a projected draft round of seven or as a free agent. He was an All-Big 12 second team selection in both the Media and Coaches polls. Cantele hit a 50 yard field goal as a high school player for Kapun Mt. Carmel and, as with all good kickers, was an excellent soccer player – being named the 2008 Kansas Soccer Player of the Year. The Combine is a make or break opportunity for the Wildcat, who must demonstrate an ability to consistently hit the field goals he’s only attempted on a very limited basis in game situations at this point in his career.
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