Thursday, April 22, 2010

Lindholm awaiting fate as NFL Draft unfolds

Sports Editor

Most NCAA Division II football players are only dreaming when they talk of playing in the NFL.

Garrett Lindholm is not most Division II players.

The Tarleton State kicker from Pflugerville became an Internet video sensation when he nailed a 64-yard field goal at the end of regulation to send a playoff game to overtime at Texas A&M-Kingsville last fall.

Suddenly, Lindholm, already a pro prospect with a reputation for having a booming leg, was mentioned in USA Today. The kick was even replayed on ESPN's SportsCenter.

Since then, Lindholm has graduated, continued to work out and wowed NFL scouts at a pro day at North Texas when he went 3-4 from 60 yards with the wind and hit a 42-yard field goal against it.

Always humble, Lindholm didn't feel his pro day performance was very impressive.

"The 60 yard kicks were with the wind, and I didn't kick as well as I should have against the wind," said the first-team All-American and finalist for the Fred Mitchell Outstanding Placekicker award, who is rated by at least one draft analyst as high as No. 3 among draft-eligible kickers.

"The snapper and holder were guys I had never worked with before and I was kind of nervous about that because the guys I worked with at Tarleton were pretty much automatic," Lindholm said. "But after a few kicks I got used to them."

Lindholm may not have been impressed, but the scouts were, and teams in need of kickers have stayed in touch either with him or his agent as the countdown to this weekend's NFL Draft continued.

"I've talked to the Cowboys, Atlanta, Carolina and St. Louis. Those are all teams who are looking for kickers," Lindholm said. "Tampa Bay and some others have talked to my agent. Several of the teams I don't have contacts with have talked to him."

Lindholm, who has worked with former Dallas kicker turned Cowboys kicking consultant Chris Boniol, kicked 22 touchbacks last season and was a perfect 8-8 on field goals inside 40 yards. He was 5-8 from 40-49 yards and 2-2 from longer than 50, including the historic kick at Kingsville that stands as a Division II playoff record, and a 55-yarder against a stiff wind to beat Midwestern State at the buzzer in a Lone Star Conference South Division game.

According to a list of Division II pro hopefuls on, Lindholm is the sixth-rated overall Division II prospect.

While kickers are never taken early in the NFL Draft, teams have been known to draft them in the later rounds. Many get free agent contracts following the draft or are invited to team camps.

Lindholm will take whatever comes his way, but would love the opportunity to stay in Texas.

(Dallas or Houston) would be ideal because my friends and family could come watch me play," Lindholm said. "Also, I'm comfortable kicking in Texas weather. I trained all winter here and it helped to get out and kick in different elements."

As the draft, which began Thursday night, advances into the later stages (rounds two and three are Friday and rounds 4-7 are Saturday) Lindholm, like many other pro prospects around the country will be eagerly watching.

"When some of the teams come up that I know need kickers I'll be looking at my phone hoping it rings. I will definitely be holding (my phone) a little closer than normal," he said. "But I can't worry too much about it because it's out of my control. God will take care of it."

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