BATON ROUGE, La. — Forget theme songs. LSU kicker Connor Culp wants to go where nobody knows his name.
The presumed favorite to win the LSU kicking competition now that Colby Delahoussaye has graduated, Culp stepped up to have a self-described great spring. A redshirt freshman from Phoenix, Ariz., Culp said he has much to work on but is getting close to where he wants to be: anonymous.
“I already feel confident, but I feel like I still need to hone my skills a little more and just get better,” Culp said. “There’s always 1 day where you’re 7-for-8 and the ultimate goal is to go 8-for-8 and not have anyone know who you are.”
From Culp’s point of view, the less often you think about a kicker, the less frequently that kicker messed up. So the best way to minimize attention is to maximize ability, something that Culp worked on all spring alongside fellow kickers Cameron Gamble and Jack Gonsoulin.
Culp, Gamble and Gonsoulin are competing this spring for LSU’s place-kicking and kickoff duties, both of which seem to be open competitions. The Tigers haven’t worked kickoffs in scrimmages yet, but the field goal team looked strong, as Culp, Gamble and Gonsoulin combined to go 8-for-8 in a recent scrimmage. Culp had a 2-for-2 day.
The LSU staff is the LSU roster is the LSU staff
As much as Culp, Gamble and Gonsoulin are competing against each other, they are teammates. And as much as they are teammates, they are also each other’s coaches. The graduate assistant in charge of kickers is more of a business manager. He has no background in kicking, so most of his guidance relates to where the players are supposed to be and when they’re supposed to be there. LSU hired special teams analyst Greg McMahon, but he’s not allowed to consort with players on or off the field, just with coaches.
That leaves the kickers to police themselves, and they are more than comfortable with the task.
“There hasn’t really been anyone with a kicking background so far that I’ve experienced here,” Culp said. “But at this level we can kind of teach ourselves and coach each other.”
Culp was a 3-star prospect and the No. 9 kicker in the nation out of high school, according to the 247Sports composite rankings, but he hasn’t kicked competitively since high school. Despite this, he’s not daunted by the prospect of being the top Tigers kicker as a redshirt freshman.
If anything, he’s excited.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Culp said. “I feel like I’m ready for it. I’ve had a great spring. It’s almost surreal, but I’m looking forward to it.”