With three seconds left in the final showdown between Texas and Texas A&M, the game was on Justin Tucker’s foot.
Texas was down 25-24.
Tucker made the field goal — and Texas football history.
He became the sixth player in Texas history to kick a game winning field goal on the game’s final play. The last time Texas won on a field goal as time expired was the 2009 Big 12 Championship game against Nebraska when Hunter Lawrence made a 46-yard field goal.
Now that Tucker’s time at Texas is over, he believes he is prepared to be a kicker in the NFL.
“Of course I’m a little biased, but I think I’m the best kicker in this draft and I have the stats to prove it, and I have the track record and my game film speaks for itself,” Tucker said. “We’ll see what happens in late April.”
Tucker has been Texas’ No. 1 kicker since he replaced Lawrence two years ago. The Westlake alumnus and Austin native has been a Longhorn fan all of his life.
He graduated in December with a degree in music and finished his career at Texas tied for third best field goal percentage on the UT career list. He went 40-of-48 (.833) on field goal attempts and 71-for-71 in extra points. He finished his time at the 40 Acres with 190 career points.
He split punting duties with John Gold his first two seasons. His rugby style punts teamed with his ability to punt traditionally was an advantage for the Longhorns and kept other teams guessing. He punted 155 times for 6,283 yards with an average of 40.5 yards per kick.
Kickers aren’t often thought of as key parts of the team’s core, but Tucker’s abilities when it comes to all three aspects of the kicking game have helped the Longhorns throughout his time at Texas.
Tucker hopes to make a career out of kicking field goals.
“Obviously I’d love to do everything from [taking] snaps at QB to catching touchdown passes,” said Tucker after the A&M game. “But as it is, I do love scoring points and putting points on the board for our team, and just propelling us to victories is probably one of the most satisfying things about being a placekicker and a kickoff guy.”
During Texas’ pro day, Tucker said he made everything up to 55 yards. He was very pleased with his performance and believes he showed scouts his abilities.
“A lot of scouts think that what they want to do is see you kick in front of them and not see your practice film,” Tucker said. “They just want to see the game film, and in person to make sure you have what it takes to go to the next level.”
Tucker is quirky. From his rugby-style kicks to his affinity for opera and the bright orange Nike soccer shoes he wears, he certainly has a lot of personality.
Although head coach Mack Brown doesn’t particularly like that Tucker wears non-traditional shoes, Tucker is a non-traditional guy and kicker.
“I should have told him he can’t keep wearing those shoes unless you make the kick, but I didn’t,” said Brown after the A&M game. “He had enough pressure at the time, but there was absolutely no doubt in my mind or anyone in our sideline’s mind that he was going to make it because we have last second kicks every day in practice.”
Come draft day, Tucker, like many other Longhorns, will be hoping to hear his name called by an NFL team.
“My bread and butter is kicking field goals and that’s where I hope to make a living,” Tucker said.
Printed on Wednesday, April 25, 2012 as: Tucker hopes to kick start career