A lot has been made of a stellar class of 2019 recruits in Mississippi this year, and for good reason. It is also a solid year for special teams and placekickers.
Three of the top senior prospects all reside in the Metro area. Clinton’s Tucker Barefoot, Madison Central’s Cale Nation, and Pisgah’s Bryce Lofton all are on college radars around the Southeast.
Barefoot has held the starting position at Clinton since his freshman season and Nation is a three-year starter. Both are established in kicking and special teams circles. Lofton, a relative newcomer to kicking, has turned heads in just two seasons as the guy at Pisgah.
Barefoot has knocked down 189-197 career extra points and 23-35 field goals. He’s 4-5 this year with a long of 44 yards. He’s also averaging 40 yards per punt. Barefoot has improved each year and has arguably the strongest leg in the state with 28 of his 34 kickoffs going for touchbacks.
“I believe I have improved my accuracy the most, and my strength,” said Barefoot. “I think I have always had the confidence.”
Barefoot was honored as this year’s selection to kick in the Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Classic. He has attracted interest from Memphis in recruiting, among others, and junior colleges around the state.
“I was grateful to God for giving me the ability and for my teammates helping me,” said Barefoot. “I also immediately thought that this game is an opportunity to attract more offers.”
Nation has hit 130-137 extra points the last three years and is 21-34 on field goals with a long of 48 yards. He has also handled the punting duties. This is his third season kicking in 6A as the Jaguar starter.
“I like to think I’m getting the best possible preparation for college in high school because this is 6A football,” said Nation. “I’ve had the chance to kick in a few huge high school games at MC.”
Nation has received interest from Ole Miss and Mississippi State and has an offer from Mississippi College. He will kick in this year’s Bernard Blackwell All-Star game.
“I was in class and the guy next to me happened to be on twitter,” said Nation. “He said congrats and I didn’t know what he was talking about. It felt awesome knowing the coaches had noticed me over the last three years.”
Lofton, chosen as our preseason All-Capital team kicker, is 105-108 on career extra points and 9-12 on field goals with a long of 40 yards. He also handles punting and starts at wide receiver for the Dragons. He ranked 7th in scoring among kickers last year and is 5th this year.
Kicking at a smaller 2A school, Lofton doesn’t always have the same exposure or opportunities to kick.
“I wouldn’t say it puts a chip on my shoulder or anything,” said Lofton. “I think if you can play, you can play, regardless where it is. I’ve enjoyed it at Pisgah and playing other positions.”
Thus far, Lofton is attracting interest from junior colleges primarily and some smaller schools.
“Right now I’m planning on attending a junior college and earning a shot at a larger school,” said Lofton. “But you never know. We’ll see what happens.”