Matthew McCrane wants you to know he is healthy. He also wants you to know he can make a 67-yard field goal.
The senior Kansas State kicker is so confident in his right leg that he would like to publicly share a video montage of his longest kicks from preseason camp to prove he is stronger and more accurate than he was a year ago. Too bad Bill Snyder strictly forbid him from doing so.
Remember when McCrane shared a video on social media that showed him making five field goals from 60 yards in early July? That didn’t go over well with K-State’s coach.
“I was walking out of the complex one day and coach saw me. He said, ‘I don’t want you to post any more videos to Twitter,’ ” McCrane said. “He didn’t want people to see how far I could kick it. But he did say, ‘Matt, if we can get you out there, we will give you a chance at hitting a long one.’ I think he has trust and faith in me.”
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Those are two things McCrane has been tirelessly working to regain since his breakthrough freshman season. It seems like so long ago now, but McCrane was nails back in 2014. He connected on 18 of 19 field goals and earned Freshman All-America honors in his first season with the Wildcats.
More good years appeared on the way, but things haven’t been so simple.
A defender ran into his leg two games into his sophomore season, knocking him out of all but five games. Then a hip injury, caused by overworking himself on kickoffs, cut his junior season short. That limited him to 11 field goals on 14 attempts in eight games.
McCrane has impressively made 36 of 40 field goals as a college kicker, but he felt overlooked by college football experts when he was left off a number of preseason all-conference lists this summer. He really felt low when a pack of students talked to him as if he had already exhausted his eligibility, failing to realize he was a senior with one more season to play.
That’s why he posted that video to Twitter nearly two months ago. He wanted to remind the world he is still K-State’s kicker, and hopefully show he has improved.
“I did it out of frustration,” McCrane said. “They came out with the Big 12 (all-conference) first, second and third teams and I was frustrated with it. Partially due to injury, I don’t think I deserved it. I didn’t finish out the year, but I would like to be somewhat looked at. So I posted it out of frustration to show I am healthy. I am healthy and I am back.”
His teammates agree.
“We have a ton of confidence in Matt,” tight end Dayton Valentine said. “That guy is so accurate. On offense, he can bail us out. After we cross midfield, if we can just get him in that position, he is going to knock it through. Obviously, we want to score and put an emphasis on touchdowns. But it’s good to know Matt is there to clean up for us.”
McCrane has made several important kicks for K-State, but he missed one that could have helped K-State beat West Virginia last season. After missing the final five games last year, that is the last thing some fans remember about him.
He’s ready to give them better memories. Now he wants to show he can deliver from long distance.
McCrane says he connected on field goals from 64 yards on grass and 67 yards on artificial turf this summer, but those came during warmups. He lined up for a 61-yarder in live practice earlier this week, and missed wide left. His longest field goal in a game is 53 yards.
He has bigger goals than that this season.
“I have seen a lot of people question my distance,” McCrane said. “I have made some long kicks in practice. If coach gives me a chance, hopefully I can capitalize on it just like all my other kicks. That is the goal.”
Kellis Robinett: @kellisrobinett