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Kentucky Football Recruiting: Little-Known Football Camps

While Nike has The Opening and Rivals has their Five-Star Challenge, where do kickers, punters and long snappers camp? You will find out here.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Opening and the Five Star Challenge are for linemen and skill players and are geared toward the 7 on 7 game, there are camps for the special teams guys. The number one camp for kickers, punters and long snappers is Kohl's Professional Camps. This isn't run by the Kohl's Department Stores. This is serious business and Kentucky's 2016 commit Grant McKinnis is a product of Kohl's.

Kohl's makes the following claim:

93.5% of all Div. I (FBS) football programs include at least one rostered specialist who has attended a Kohls' camp.

Also:

Kohl's National Scholarship Camp is held once a year.  It is the biggest and best gathering of college kicking and punting prospects in America.  This camp does have qualifying requirements and is not designed for athletes that are not college prospects.  Kohl's and ESPN rankings are heavily influenced by this 3 day event. It is the only overnight camp that Kohl's offers for high school specialists.

Kohls also selects the punters, kickers and long snappers for the Under Armour and Semper Fidelis All-American games and does the rankings for these three positions for ESPN.

Kickers and Punters can earn scholarships, but Long Snappers rarely get a scholarship yet, some still go to camps. They are almost always a walk-on.  Since Stoops arrived in Lexington, he gave three-stark kicker Austin MacGinnis a scholarship in the 2013 class and he's taken two-star Grant McKinniss in the 2016 class. Both attended a Kohls camp.

Austin MacGinnis was ranked 12th as a kicker, but did not participate in the camp for punters, Here's his evaluation from Kohl's.

Austin MacGinnis had some big KO's at the National Scholarship Camp, also did well in the pressure round on FG, consistency has improved, should make big strides in years to come, like his attitude and drive to be great, has worked hard and become a good FG kicker, has all the tools, can compete with anyone when hitting his "A" ball

At Kentucky MacGinnis was a 2014 first team freshman All-American (Scout); All-SEC by the AP, SEC Coaches, and Phil Steele's College Football; National Placekicker of the Week by the College Football Performance Awards for the Louisville game. He set a school record for the most points in a season (104), most field goals in a season (21), most extra points without a miss (41 of 41) in a season, most kickoff touchbacks in a season (25), longest field goal in school history (54 yds), and consecutive field goals made (9).

Grant McKinniss is currently ranked #76 as a kicker. Here's how Kohls evaluated his kicking:

Grant recently attended the 2015 Spring Showcase Camp, he has a good athletic frame, brings a lot of energy through the football, he hit consistently well on KO's, needs to refine his technique on FG's to become more consistent and move up in the rankings, a consistent drop will see him able to hit his 'A' ball more often on punts.

McKinniss also attended the camp for punters and did better. He placed 21st in the national rankings.

I wasn't able to find where Landon Foster attended a Kohl's camp. It may not have been necessary. Here's what Rivals had to say about him as a recruit:

Landon Foster, K/P, 6-1, 198, Fr-HS, Thompson Station, Tenn. (Independence) - Has the ability and versatility to be a punter and kicker on the collegiate level ... Named first-team all-state in Class AAAAAA as a kicker by the Tennessee Sports Writers' Association ... Picked as the punter for the all-state "Dream Team," covering all classifications, by the Nashville Tennesseean ... Made 11 of 16 field goals as a senior with a long of 49 ... Averaged 41.3 yards per punt ... 50 of his 56 kickoffs went for touchbacks and four of the others were on-side kicks ... Named his team's Most Valuable Player, a rare honor for a kicking specialist ... Independence HS went 8-3 his senior year and reached the state playoffs in Class AAAAAA ... Rated the No. 8 kicker in the nation by Scout.com and the No. 12 kicker by 24/7 Sports ... The No. 10 prospect in the state of Tennessee by SuperPrep, which wrote, "Technically strong with good hang times and directional ability. Also performs well under pressure." ... Played for the winning West team in the Tennessee East-West All-Star Game ... Coached by Kevin Dyson ... Has worked with former Tennessee Titans punter Craig Hentrich ... Also played soccer in high school.

Kohl's isn't the only camp. There's also the Chris Sailer Kicking and Chris Rubio Long Snapping Camp. This camp is also partnered with the Army All-American Bowl. Believe it or not, some schools offer scholarships for long snapping, but it is a rare occasion. Kentucky, according to Patrick Loney, picked up a walk-on commitment from Sherman Oaks Notre Dame LS Koby Walsh. Walsh attended the Rubio Longsnapper camp and they rank him as the 14th top LS in the nation out of 286 who have attended a Rubio camp. Two Kentucky kids, Corey Miracle and Brady Swift, attended the Rubio LS camp in Illinois. Unfortunately, I've not been able to find out which high school each attends.

Kentucky prospects, Noah Brunner and Seiver Tandy attended the Sailer kicking camp. Again, I have no clue where these kids go to school.

UK currently has long snappers on its roster. Redshirt freshman Logan Blue (Owensboro) is listed as a LB and a LS. Senior Kelly Mason has been long snapping for three years. He's from Rockton, IL. With Mason graduating, the addition of Walsh will provide position help for the future.

Just for what it's worth, any high school kid that is a kicker or punter should consider going to a specialist camp. It could bring a scholarship, even for a long snapper.