If Cade York is drafted next week, he thinks he will have to thank Evan McPherson.
A year ago, McPherson left Florida after his junior season, was drafted by the Bengals in the fifth round and quickly became one of the NFL’s top kickers in his rookie season.
Not only did McPherson connect on 28 of 33 field goals for an 84.8% completion rate, but he propelled the Bengals into the Super Bowl with a match-winning game against Kansas City in the Premier League Championship Game. ‘AFC. And, the previous week, he threw for a 52-yard run as time expired to give Cincinnati a 19-16 Divisional Playoff victory. He was 14 for 14 on field goals in the playoffs.
This spring, many scouts believe York, out of LSU and following in McPherson’s footsteps as he left college a year early to enter the draft, is the best college kicker in this draft class.
“I would like to be okay with that,” York told the Post by phone this week. “I’d like to think I’m confident enough to get drafted. It’s been a while since a kicker has been drafted. I’ve done everything I could do so far. Now that’s just the waiting part, and I have to be patient and know that it’s out of my hands.
“Sometimes you start thinking about where you’re going to be. I wouldn’t call it stressful. It is rather the unknown. Because no matter what, I’m going to end up playing professional football at 21 and making money doing it. It doesn’t get much better about it.
York took notice of what McPherson did as a rookie last season, and it boosted his confidence. He knows McPherson well, having played in the SEC against him, sharing the same kicking coach, Jamie Kohl, and he consulted him on occasion.
“It was awesome,” York said of McPherson’s magical 2021 season. “Honestly, it probably helped increase the draft stock of all future kickers because it showed that if you spend a draft pick on a top [college] kicker, maybe you’ll get someone like that to help take you to the Super Bowl. ”
York ended a stellar career at LSU, where he made 54 of 66 field goal attempts (81.8%) and 164 of 168 on PATs. As of 2021, he had 15 of 18 field goals, had five yards of 50 or more, and had made all 39 of his PAT attempts. In 2020, he was 18 for 21 and made six of them from 50 yards or more.
York’s most memorable college moment may have come when he blasted his way into the LSU record books with a game-winning 57-yard field goal in thick fog to lift the Tigers above. of Florida No. 6, 37-34, Dec. 12. 2020.
York sounds like a kicker who is oblivious to the pressure. He dismisses the added pressure that comes with kicking in the NFL, which is far fiercer than college and can be a transient world where job security is fleeting.
“There is additional pressure, [more] than in college, but you’re playing on the same court with the same size uprights, so it should be the same as in college,” he said. “But there is more outside pressure added. I feel confident enough to handle it. I know it will probably be more difficult, but I’m not someone who really backs down from a challenge.
“I feel pretty excited about it. Earning money at 21 by kicking a ball sounds like a great life to me, and it’s worth dealing with the added stress that comes with it.
York is only the fourth kicker since 2000 to leave school early for the NFL. The other three are Sebastian Janikowski, who pitched for nearly two decades in the NFL, Roberto Aguayo, who only lasted a year in the NFL, and McPherson.
“I couldn’t do much more to make a better name for myself,” York said of her early coming out. “I thought I was the best field goal kicker. I really want to build a long career. I know this is a long term goal that will take a long time to achieve. First of all, I want to put together a team and then try to present myself as one of the best kickers in the league as soon as possible. ”