What's Next for Hofstra Kicker Rob Zarrilli? This Weekend's NFL Draft May Decide

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Two Time All American kicker, Hofstra's Rob Zarrilli, is healthy and back to all American form. Zarrilli is betting on two near perfect seasons to outshine an injury plagued senior season to offer him a chance at a spot on an NFL team roster for the upcoming 2008-2009 season.

Ending his college kicking career first in the nation for field goals made per game and in Mel Kiper's top 5 by position for kickers, Hofstra University's two time All American kicker Rob Zarrilli is anxious to see what his future holds in the indefinite world of the NFL. A University of Louisville transfer, his huge leg caught the attention of then coach Bobby Petrino. After a fierce battle for the kicking job, as a red shirt freshman walk-on, Zarrilli was a close second behind scholarship kicker Art Carmody, who later went on to win the Lou Groza award. Louisville Coach Tony Levine -now of the Carolina Panthers - often spoke very highly of Carrillo, in fact when speaking of Zarrilli, Levine said, "He may have one of the strongest legs I've ever seen." However, realizing his playing time would be confined to kickoffs as Carmody would hold place kicking duties; Carrillo took the advice of family and coaches and transferred to Hofstra University to where he would eventually gain premier kicker status.

This decision quickly was realized as the right one as Carrillo's college career began to skyrocket. In his second game for Hofstra, he kicked two over-time field goals including a 48-yard kick over rival Furman University. Finishing the season 17 for 19, Carrillo's impact on the team's success was felt heartily. It wasn't long before such media outlets as Newsday were speaking highly of Rob Zarrilli and his value on the Hofstra squad. Holster's Coach Cohen said of Rob,"[he] is probably the hardest worker I have ever coached." In two seasons Carrillo was an amazing 10 for 10 from 45 yards and better including 52 yardarms at Main and Massachusetts.

It wasn't but just over a year ago, prior to Carrillo's senior year at Hofstra that this young man from Orlando, Fl was seen as one of the top kickers in the country and a sure bet for a spot on an NFL roster. However, after a less than stellar senior season hampered by an aggravated groin injury, Carrillo is hoping that his previous two all American seasons, two of which were All American stints, and his rebound to peak physical performance will entitle him to a spot on an NFL team. Standing just over six feet tall and weighing in at a powerful 200 pounds, as kickers go Zarrilli is prime merchandise with a booming leg and sturdy frame. All combined with a never say die attitude and desire to compete Zarrilli is hoping that teams take note of his accomplishments during his two great seasons. In fact the experts at NFL Draft Countdown have been quoted as saying that Zarrilli "...Has the talent to play at the next level [and] could be a steal..."

The position of kicker on any football team is often left as the unsung hero. With the spotlight typically only placed on these precision players for just a fraction of the game, it is widely unknown that close to a third of all football games won are done so by the kicker. Then there is the fact that most teams do not actively recruit a kicker in their draft picks. Leaving such talent as Adam Vinatieri, formerly of the Super Bowl XXXVI winning New England Patriots- or the New York Giant's kicker Lawrence Tynes, who had the game winning kick over the Green Bay Packers putting the Giants into the Super Bowl- to find their own way of gaining a spot on a pro roster.

It seems as though all this talented kicker is looking for is the opportunity to prove he has the ability to play at the next level. The ability to take his fate into his own hands and be offered his chance to compete. Will a team take a hard look at this young man and offer him that chance? This is yet to be seen, but with this weekend's NFL Draft insight, it is a question that will find its answer soon. With such stats as 4th in the nation in field goals made and 7th in the nation all time in field goal percentage at nearly 75 percent, is primed and more than ready to be a part of the NFL kicking elite. When you consider even with Zarrilli's struggles in his senior year, he finished his college career with 49 field goals and a long list of honors. Included in these honors is the award of Special teams player of the year and the Walter Camp 1st team All American in 2006. Impressively, Zarrilli holds kicked an average 1.5 field goals per game throughout his three years at Hofstra, currently holds the top spot of most field goals made per game.

As those college players who are looking to play at the next level, and the teams around the country sort out priorities to match depth with strength, agility with intelligence and perseverance with pride, there is one undeniable aspect to this selection process. A facet of truth we all- as a fan of this titan sport- relish in, it is that talent is measurable and success defined but heart and fate are retrospective. For Rob Zarrilli, and his NFL future, he is betting on the fact that he's in the top of all 5 kicking categories listed on NCAA Statistics to be his motif which delivers his chance to be a part of the NFL's 2008-2009 season. As for Zarrilli's physical condition and his ability to perform on any given Sunday, Rob simply states "I am healthy and ready, I'm confident in my ability, the only thing I can control now is how hard I work so I'll be ready when someone calls."

For additional information on the news that is the subject of article please contact Joshua Johnson at joshua @ xfusenews.com to 813-857-2189

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