The Purdue football team’s quarterback competition has been well documented, but a three-way battle for the starting kicker position has emerged in recent weeks between Paul Griggs, Sam McCartney, and Thomas Meadows.
Griggs, who entered Purdue as the No. 5 kicking prospect in the country according to Rivals.com, arrives on scholarship and was recruited to replace former kicker Carson Wiggs.
Unexpected competition has come from freshman Meadows and West Lafayette native McCartney, who walked on to the team last season and was redshirted.
There is no official No.1 starter on the depth chart, and since none of the kickers have distanced themselves ahead of the pack, head coach Danny Hope has expressed interest in using all of them in game-time situations.
“I think Paul Griggs may be ahead in terms of kicking the long ball. Over the course of camp, Sam has been more consistent in the intermediate range,” Hope said. “Then we are also looking at Thomas Meadows who is an outstanding specialist, so we will have some decisions to make and game planning to do.”
The possibility of using multiple kickers depending on game scenarios may seem unorthodox, but the healthy competition has resulted in improvement and the players have embraced their roles.
“Obviously Coach Hope and Coach Gibboney are going to make the best decision for the team,” Griggs said. “Everyone in the locker room has one goal in mind, that’s to win, and the coaches are going to do whatever it is that they think will help us win and the players have to fulfill their parts.”
“I don’t worry about the coach’s decisions,” McCartney said. “I am just trying to make my kicks and get better every practice and the coaches will make their decisions based off of that.”
The kickers have their first opportunity to prove themselves in game-time situations this weekend and are looking forward to it just like the rest of the team.
“I think the team is definitely ready to play,” Griggs said. “You get the feeling in the locker room that the guys are ready to hit someone else. I specifically won’t be hitting anyone thankfully, so that’s not really a problem, but I can definitely feel the vibe and am ready for our first game.”