Zuerlein represents Western in NFL
By Kyle Inman
September 1, 2012
St. Louis Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein gives Missouri Western a starting representative in the NFL and proves that professional scouts have an eye everywhere, including D-II.
Last season Zuerlein hit 23-for-24 and a record 21 straight field goals — including nine from over 50 yards — in his lone season at Western. He was drafted in the sixth round with pick No. 171 and the team immediately released its veteran kicker Josh Brown. Zuerlein has started both of the Rams preseason games and has hit both of his field goal attempts, including a 52-yard kick against the Kansas City Chiefs.
“Greg is a great representative of Missouri Western,” Athletic Director Kurt McGuffin said. “He only spent one year here, and I think he fell in love with the place. It’s great to have a guy that’s going to be a starter on an NFL team.”
Anyone that has witnessed Zuerlein kick knows that he has a powerful leg. He recently told a reporter that he hit one from 74 yards in a warmup for Western last season with help from a huge wind in his favor. In a Rams scrimmage, he hit field goals from 39, 44, 49, 54 and 59 yards before missing form 64 yards, although he had the distance. The NFL record is 63 yards and it won’t surprise anyone from Western if Zuerlein soon breaks that record playing indoors in St. Louis.
“In time, if Greg stays healthy – the guy has an unbelievable leg — I think he can do that in a heartbeat inside,” McGuffin said. “I think they are very happy with him. Hearing the things that Rams coach Jeff Fisher has said about him makes you proud. It sets a tone where we can have kids that go to the NFL from Mo West and we may have more in the future.”
There are signs that there could be more to come soon. The nation’s premiere all-star game for college seniors to show off their talent, the Senior Bowl, just released the first ever Senior Bowl Watch List of potential candidates for the game. On that list is Western defensive end David Bass, who led the Griffons in sacks last season. There are only 29 players who aren’t from Division I FBS out of 309 which means Bass is a top prospect.
“Anytime a Division II school can have a player in the NFL and be productive it’s good for the university,” Trevor Berneking, director of Athletic Media Relations said. “It’s Good for D-II football in general that they can produce those players. Anytime you get someone from your league it’s good. I think you will start to see more and more Division II people in the NFL.”