Every year, I help hundreds of football players around the country. I answer questions for their families. I talk to the players about how to make yourself a brand. How to get noticed, I mean all the things you have to think about when you are trying to be recruited to play college or pro football. Back in 1999, I was a field goal kicker at a little school in New York. The school was called Salamanca High School, but in my senior year I broke my back and ended up in a wheelchair for 20 plus months. The crazy thing was I lost every school that had an interest in me. I had scholarship offers, and teams lined up because I worked hard to get my name out there. In 10 plus years of scouting football, I have never seen a player take the path that I did, until now.
As a senior in high school, I had to help teams get my film. We had VHS tapes back then, and the only person that could copy VHS was my school. So I went to the school and stayed after with the help of a teacher to make my highlights. I worked for the local newspaper delivering papers and would take my money to buy stamps, envelopes, and VHS tapes to send my highlights out to coaches. I would end up with over 18 teams showing interest and offering. Unfortunately, I broke my back in 1999 and lost it all. But there is a kid named Nick Sodano, who is doing exactly what I did. He is working to raise money, He is sending his highlights and his accolades in the mail to coaches and he is finally starting to get noticed.
It is not easy to be noticed in New York. Not many colleges are going to New York to scout talent when they can go to Florida and the hot weather southern states, but if the Northern colleges pass on this kid they are dumb. There I said it, Nick Sodano is one of the best kickers in the country and his work ethic is much like mine. The crazy thing is there were no stars when I was a kicker, Nick has stars. Shoot Nick may be the best damn kicker in the country. Why is he sending out the film? He wants the best for himself. I love it. This kid is talented, why aren’t we talking about him more? Kids nowadays don’t want to work. They do not take things seriously, the work ethic in America has disappeared. This kid not only has a work ethic, he has a drive. He has skills, and he is the best damn kicker in New York. Enough about me, let’s talk to Nick!
What school do you attend?
I attend Carmel High School in New York. It’s in upstate NY in the Hudson Valley.
What were your stats like this year?
For the “Spring Football Season”, I led the state in points made by a kicker (44) and I also led NYS in the number of field goals (5). I also hit a 42-yard field goal in our opening game versus, Fox Lane. This year, I’m hoping to lead NYS once again in field goals, extra points, and touchbacks. I’m hoping to at least get a 75% TB rate.
If a college coach was reading this right now what would be the first thing you would tell him about yourself?
I would tell them how there is not another specialist like me out there. There isn’t a single kicker out there who shovels the snow on the football field for hours on end to kick, that trains daily for hours, and spends over 30 hours sending letters to colleges. I would tell them how passionate I am for the game and I’m the most motivated kid out there. I would describe all my extra-curricular’s in school and show them how I’m unique compared to other specialists. In school, I’m the Student Body President, National Honor Society Vice President, I founded the Student Athletic Council, and I’m also in the Future Business Leaders of America. I think I’m one of the few kickers that can say I am as successful in the classroom as I am on the football field.
What do you think is your biggest weakness?
My biggest weakness is trying to be a perfectionist. No matter what it is, I try to be perfect at everything. I remember I used to analyze the film from Justin Tucker and I tried to replicate his exact swing in hopes of becoming a perfect kicker. As I got older, I realized every player has their own way and you don’t have to be perfect to be successful. Even in the classroom, I try to get perfect grades. I think my biggest weakness also has helped shape me into the person I am today. If it wasn’t for always wanting to be perfect, I don’t think I would have the GPA I carry and I also don’t think I would be the kicker I am today.
Who is your favorite player to watch film on?
My favorite player to watch on film is definitely Rodrigo Blankenship. He’s always extremely composed and positive. I remember watching him miss a game-winning field goal verse, South Carolina, last year, and as upsetting as that game was, he finished off the season strong and won a plethora of awards after.
So far in your high school career, who is the toughest player you have faced?
The toughest player I have faced is myself. I think the only person stopping anyone from succeeding and achieving their goals is themself. I’ve had plenty of ups and downs in my career, but it was ultimately up to me to keep pushing myself. Some days I felt like the process wasn’t worth it and I was ready to give up, but I always had a gut feeling that I had to keep going.
If you were to criticize your own game where can you improve?
I can definitely improve in my punting game. I’ve never considered myself a full-time punter but being a great punter will help my team out tremendously throughout the season.
What schools have offered you so far?
So far, I have 0 offers. I’m praying to God get some offers soon because I definitely don’t want to do all this hard work for nothing.
What is your dream offer?
Any FBS offer will be my dream offer. I would be incredibly grateful for any offer extended to me. But, my dream school has always been the University of South Carolina or the University of North Carolina.
I noticed that you have been sending out cards and film via the mail. Have any teams responded to that method? That is an Old School method I tried back in the day.
Yes! After sending out the cards, I got a ton of followers on Twitter. Although most of them didn’t reach out, I got messages back from Rutgers, Army, and Boston College. And it happens to be that those are the schools most interested in me right now. If it wasn’t for sending those postcards, I would have never gone on those unofficial visits.
If a team was to offer you, what would they get in you the player?
They would get the hardest working kid out there. I would do anything in my power to help out the team and specialist unit. They would get someone with great character, a great work ethic, and a kicker that would do everything to succeed. The team would be my biggest priority and I would be one of the hardest working athletes in the country.
What would your coach say about you if I was to ask him?
I believe my coaches would say I am one of the hardest working kids on the team and I’ll do anything to play at the next level. They would mention some of the things I do in school as well for the team. I believe they would mention my work ethic, my character, and also how I handle adversity.
What do you want to major in?
As of right now, I want to major in finance but I basically want to do something in the business field. Whether it’s business operations, finance, or marketing, I know for sure I want to be in that field.
What is your longest field goal?
What is the best play in your career?
I would say the best play in my career was my 42-yard field goal in our opening game. This year, I’m aiming to get a few field goals ranging from 40-53.
If football was to fall through, what are your goals outside of football?
If football was to fall through, I would like to get my degree and start working towards getting a solid job. Even if I don’t play football, I think it would be pretty cool to intern for a big FBS program. No matter where I end up, I still always want to follow college football and be part of the great culture it has.
Do you have a highlight you want to share with our readers?