A Sleeper Kicker

by Mel Kipir Jr., EPSN.com 4/19/2007

Eight years ago, in the Italian Alps lived a 14 year old farm boy named Vincenzo Maggiulli. Outside a little bit of home schooling from his Grandfather he had none. He was a simple boy destined to be a farmer.

Living at 4,000 feet had his ups an downs. For one, there were not many other kids his age to play with when he wasn't plowing the fields. So he had to entertain himself. One of his favorite activities was tying on his steel toed boots and kicking a 25 ounce coffee can over a big Elm tree branch that stood in the middle of the field.

He would spend hours back there. He would line up his coffee can about 30 yards away and kick, almost always getting it over the big branch which stands about 12 feet high. After he would make it he would back up about 10 yards and kick again. Sure enough making it. And backing up 10 yards, again he kicked. At the altitude he lived at, that ball would sail. Sometimes 80 yards. He was known in the village as the "Pasta Va Sul", which is Italian for the "Crazy Kicker".

That same year, Montclair State University football coach Brian Ficticihed was vacationing at a near by ski resort when he read a local newspaper that talked about this boy who was kicking coffee cans 80 yards with his steel toed boots. He made a few phone calls and before he knew it, Maggiulli was being scouted by the coach.

That day Maggiulli kicked 10 prefect kicks from 70 yards away right over the Elm tree branch. If Coach Ficticihed could have brought him home that day he would have. But instead he guaranteed him a spot on his football team in four years.

The coach arranged for a full time tutor to get Maggiulli up to speed in the class room and sure enough he was suited for his first varsity football game as a 18 freshman. That first year he went 34 for 34 in FG's, including 10 60 yarders. Over his whole college career he never missed an extra point going 122 for 122 and only missed one FG which was a 90 yarder which bounced off the uprights.

Unfortunately, Montclair had not been able to put a winning season together in this time. However, now with the NFL draft looming Vincenzo Maggiulli is one of the best kept secrets. He held a private workout for NFL scouts last week and is projected to be a 4th or 5th round pick at this point but his stock is rising fast.

Rumor has it that Eric Mangini is very high on this local boy who he's had his eye on all year being a local New Jersey prospect. "With the ability to kick field goals from the opposite 40 yard line, he is a no brainer."

Keep an eye on this kid. He could be the sleeper of the draft.

-MK Jr.


Figgythemick said...

Dude, I think I recognize that photo. Er, I mean Mel.

Anyway, I think that those are the two punters from the University of Northern Colorado. The interesting thing is that I think the back-up punter stabbed the starting punter in the leg, Nancy Kerrigan style. The backup was arrested and charged pretty hard. The starter recovered and kicked all season.

Am I right?

Unruly Jets Fan said...

Yes, you are right. Thanks for pulling my pants down once again!

Figgythemick said...

And a big welcome to this V. Magguili character.