Kentucky football: under appreciated Wildcat kickers vital to UK success

Matt Ruffolo of the Kentucky Wildcats. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)
Matt Ruffolo of the Kentucky Wildcats. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images) /
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We are just now nine days from Matt Ruffolo kicking off the 2022 Kentucky football season, but while he and fellow graduate student and punter Colin Goodfellow often get overlooked they are vital to the Wildcats’ success this season.

Not often do most collegiate football teams find themselves with players who have been around as long as these two, and while they spend little time on the field it’s their couple of steps that put points on the board for UK and pin opponents deep in their own territory.

Today we take a closer look at those responsible for these overlooked, underappreciated yet crucial legs that will play a part in hopefully stunning a few opponents with late-game heroics.

How many positions can be referred to as clutch, poised, cool under pressure, and with one mighty swing of their leg are either cheered or jeered?

It’s a lonely position that requires a single individual to step up and deliver in the clutch.

They have to have ice water running through their veins yet have a single leg/foot as a weapon knowing it’s all up to them.

Pressure. You handle it well or it’s a long walk to the sideline and end of the bench.

This is why they are so valuable commodities to coach Mark Stoops and the Kentucky football team looking for a magical season.

Kentucky and other college teams don’t carry many kickers so your Friday night high school audition has to pay dividends on Saturdays in college.

Place kicking duties belong to Ruffolo who will suit up for his sixth season as a Wildcat taking advantage of a covid season while tutoring true freshman Jackson Smith.

The same can nearly be said for punting duties with Goodfellow in his sixth year, and his backup redshirt freshman Wilson Berry.

Goodfellow has been named to the Ray Guy Award preseason watchlist both last season and this year, while Ruffolo was on the Lou Groza list as the best kicker last year.

None of these guys draw the spotlight like quarterback Will Levis and others, but all Big Blue Nation needs them to do is remain calm, keep that ice water flowing and put balls through the uprights and long-hanging punts.

Let’s take a closer look at the two positions: