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Alex Raynor looks to shine in his final collegiate season

Raynor is expected to fill a major hole on a team without many.

Twitter | @acraynor1

Special teams is one of those things that a lot of football fans take for granted, especially kicking. A kicker has one job and one job only—make the kick when your number is called.

However, the Big Blue Nation has seen firsthand over the last few years just how important special teams can be.

Austin MacGinnis was lights out for Kentucky, and in fact, he probably even saved Stoops’ job when he hit a 51-yard field goal in 2016 to beat the Mississippi State Bulldogs. He then turned around and did it again a few weeks later to knock off Lamar Jackson and the hated Louisville Cardinals.

When MacGinnis walked on that field, regardless of how nervous you may have been, Kentucky fans were confident the ball was going through the uprights. Unfortunately, that hasn't been the case in recent years, and Kentucky has lost games that they otherwise would have won if they had a legitimate, consistent kicker.

Well, I’m here to tell you that man is hopefully here, and his name is Alex Raynor.

#16 Alex Raynor

  • Position: Kicker
  • Class: Senior
  • Measurements: 5-11, 190 lbs.
  • Hometown: Kennesaw, Georgia
  • High School: Harrison
  • College: Georgia Southern

The former Georgia Southern Eagle was hardly sought after despite an impressive high school kicking career. Raynor was seemingly truly recruited by Georgia Southern, Georgia State, and Presbyterian, although Georgia Tech seemingly kicked the tires.

Raynor played at Harrison High in Kennesaw, Georgia. He was a first-team all-state kicker by the Georgia Sports Writers Association following a season in which he went 51 for 54 on PATs and 4 for 7 on field goals. He also was a punter with a long of 64 yards. He was named 6-AAAAAA All-Region Second Team, while playing soccer for two seasons in high school as well.

Raynor then spent the next four years at Georgia Southern before grad transferring to Kentucky this summer. He redshirted his freshman season and was named to the 2019-20 Sun Belt Conference Academic Honor Roll—something that became routine as he did so all four years.

In his redshirt freshman season, Raynor immediately won the starting placekicker spot as he started in all 13 games. He ended the season 18 for 25 on field goals with a long of 47 yards. The 25 field goal attempts are the second most in school history for a single season, which shows the confidence his coaches had in him. He also made 40-of-41 PATs and scored a team-high 94 points (18 FGs, 40 PATs), on his way to being named third-team All-Sun Belt by Pro Football Focus.

Despite the seemingly solid freshman season, Raynor did not start every game in his sophomore season (10 of 12—at least one of which was due to injury). He made 9-of-14 field goals with a long of 44 yards, as well as making 21-of-22 PATs. Once again Raynor scored a team-high 48 points (9 FGs, 21 PATs).

After taking a step back in 2021, Raynor took a major step forward in his junior season. He hit 18-of-20 field goals with a long of 46 yards, and was also 49-of-50 on PATs. What’s most impressive is he didn't just score a team-high in points this season, but he finished as the top scorer in the entire Sun Belt Conference with 103 points scored. His incredible season earned him an honorable mention All-Sun Belt selection from the league.

Raynor entered the transfer portal in early January and committed to the Memphis Tigers shortly thereafter. However, he didn't sign his Letter of Intent and ultimately decommitted before graduating in May from Georgia Southern with a degree in marketing and announcing a transfer to the Kentucky Wildcats.

The former Georgia Southern Eagle was ranked as a three-star transfer by 247 Sports after having seen action in 36 career games and compiling 245 career points. His career stats include 45-of-59 field goals (76.3 percent) with a career-long of 47 and 110-of-113 PATs (97.3 percent).

He does more than just kick, too.

Raynor’s experience is going to go a long way for a special teams unit that didn't have a clear-cut option at kicker, especially after struggling for most of last season. While his career long is only 47 yards, he’s money on PATs and very reliable inside the 50-yard line. It is worth noting that he seemingly isn't reliable outside the 50 as Georgia Southern actually had another kicker attempt two 50+ yard field goals last season.

Regardless, after the issues we saw last season, consistency, even if just inside the 50 and on PATs, will be more than welcomed. Raynor will play an integral role for this Cats team, and the expectations are already high.

Raynor may very well be the difference in a game or two (or more) this season, so while I hope you don't forget about him, I also hope you don’t have to worry about him when he walks out on the field.

Go Cats!