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What’s next for Alabama’s kicker position?

Miami (Ohio) kicker Graham Nicholson (#98) attempts a field goal in the 2023 season.
Nathan Ray Seebeck - USA Today Sports

Alabama fans got a little worried again about the kicking game after A-Day.

Connor Talty, the Crimson Tide’s scholarship kicker from the 2023 class, missed a field goal in the spring game. 

Alabama also had a walk-on kicker to transfer.

James Burnip is back as the team’s starting punter, bringing excitement to Crimson Tide fans after his growth last season. The native Australian improved to averaging 47.6 yard per punt on 59 attempts after recording 42.3 yards per boot in the previous campaign. Burnip successfully flipped the field in the Rose Bowl versus Michigan and would have been the Most Valuable Player of the Game if the Tide had beaten the Wolverines in the College Football Playoff Semifinal matchup.

The 6-foot-6, 220-pounder had 24 punts travel 50-plus yards, including five traveling 60-plus yards. Burnip earned first-team All-American honors from Pro Football Focus and second-team All-SEC honors from the conference’s coaches.

His return has Alabama strong in one aspect of the kicking game, but what about field goals for the Tide?

Will Reichard was the best to ever do it for Alabama and in college football for five years.

He left college football as its all-time career leader for points and was selected in the sixth round of the NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings. Alabama fans never had to fear about Reichard making a pressure kick, but where does it go now with the Hoover (Ala.) native gone? Graham Nicholson, a transfer from the University of Miami at Ohio, becomes the name Tide fans desire to see continue the level of kicking excellence.

He won the Lou Groza Award last season, which goes to the nation’s top placekicker. Nicholson made 27 of 28 field goals and 35 of 37 PAT attempts, earning Consensus All-American honors, Mid-American Conference (MAC) Special Teams Player of the Year, and first-team All-MAC honors. He assisted the Red Wolves to 11 victories in 2023 as the team finished 11-3. Nicholson excited Tide fans when he announced via social media his decision to commit to Alabama out the transfer portal.

Burnip was thrilled about the news as he is pumped up to play with Nicholson.

Special teams plays a huge role for national championship teams in college football.

Alabama now has marquee experience at punter and kicker for the coming season.

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Stephen M. Smith is the senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

Stephen Smith is a 2015 graduate of the University of Alabama. He is a senior writer and reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. He has covered Alabama football for 10+ years and his knowledge and coverage of the Crimson Tide's program have made him among the most respected journalist in his field. Smith has been featured on ESPN and several other marquee outlets as an analyst.

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