Trent Domingue is no stranger to pressure.
Prior to arriving in Austin as a graduate transfer in 2016, Domingue served as the starting kicker for LSU from 2014–15. As a Tiger, he faced his fair share of high-stakes moments against SEC foes Alabama, Florida and Auburn.
“Going into the night before the game, you don’t get much sleep,” Domingue said. “A couple games last year, it was coming down to a few points, and that’s where a kicker is proven or not. Fortunately, we got to pull through at LSU.”
Domingue faced a tough decision this summer after LSU didn’t renew his scholarship for 2016. The senior could either attempt to walk on with his old team in Baton Rouge or find a new home.
He chose the latter, and ultimately landed with the Longhorns. Texas pursued Domingue after kicker Nick Rose graduated.
“Well things at LSU went a different way than I expected, but that’s life, you gotta move on.” Domingue said. “I’m definitely glad I’ve made this decision. I couldn’t be in a better spot right now.”
Domingue’s departure from the SEC powerhouse came at the perfect time for head coach Charlie Strong. The Longhorns were without a starting kicker as late as April, going the entirety of spring practice without a viable starting option.
“Well, we have to find us a kicker, and that’s an issue right now,” Strong said on April 5. “We’re always looking for someone. If you find me a kicker, send him to me. I need him.”
Shortly after Strong’s plea to the media, Domingue arrived on the 40 Acres in July. And while he doesn’t sport Rose’s 60-yard range, Domingue brings more consistency to Texas’ kicking game.
Domingue made 10 consecutive field goals last year and 42 consecutive extra points. The latter stat is especially comforting to Longhorn fans, who witnessed last season’s 45-44 loss to California after a missed extra point in the final seconds.
“Any time we can add someone to our team that’s going to help us win, that’s going to be a plus for everyone,” senior safety Dylan Haines said. “If he’s kicking the way he’s been kicking the last few years at LSU, then I assume he’ll have no problem being a great kicker for us.”
Despite his kicking credentials, Domingue’s most memorable moment at LSU wasn’t a kick at all — it was a dash to the end zone.
While facing off against No. 8 Florida on Oct. 17, Domingue lined up for a field goal with the game tied at 28 in the fourth quarter. But instead of knocking the ball through the uprights, Domingue received a pitch from LSU’s placeholder and outran defenders for a 16-yard touchdown. The Tigers held on to win the game 35-28.
“That was awesome,” Domingue said. “There’s not many coaches in the nation ... that would call a play like that in that time of the game.”
Domingue said he’s planning on showing Strong his fake-field-goal prowess sometime in the future. But for now, he’s ready to give Texas a boost in the kicking game.
“I don’t expect to come here and be the starting kicker,” Domingue said. “I want to compete and make sure I’ve earned the job.”