Welcome to another edition of our 2020 Countdown to Kickoff series! Today I’ve got a fan favorite lined up for you all. That’s right, because with 69 days left until the Oklahoma Sooners are scheduled to start the upcoming season, I’m going to be highlighting the year of perfection from redshirt sophomore placekicker Gabe Brkic as he successfully connected on all 69 kicks (field goals and extra points combined) he attempted in 2019. Talk about nice!
Part of Oklahoma’s 2018 recruiting class, Gabe Brkic signed with the Sooners out of Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin School in Chardon, Ohio. While redshirting as a true freshman behind the amazing Austin Seibert, he did see the field in OU’s season opener versus Florida Atlantic. In that game, Brkic recorded three of four touchbacks on kickoffs and successfully converted his lone extra point attempt.
Going into 2019, the Sooners needed to find a new starting placekicker and punter. Reeves Mundschau took over punting duties right away and held down that aspect of special teams all year, but the kicking game didn’t run as smoothly. Calum Sutherland received the starting nod over Brkic in the preseason, but after three games he was suspended indefinitely from the team, leaving room for another to rise to the occasion.
That’s when Brkic’s epic run began. In the Big 12 opener against the Texas Tech Red Raiders, the 6’2” kicker with ice in his veins stepped up to drill his first two collegiate field goal attempts. It was early, but it looked like OU had finally found its next long-term option at the position.
As Brkic built momentum, so too did Oklahoma. At 7-0, OU rolled into Manhattan to take on the Kansas State Wildcats. Ultimately, it resulted in one of the biggest upsets in football that season, but Brkic did his part in keeping his Sooners in the mix until the very end. In fact, just as the clock in the first half expired, he hammered a 50-yard field goal right down the middle, showing off his impressive range while also establishing a new career-high.
Every kick is a big one if you miss it, but since that was never the case for Brkic in 2019, all the times his number was called were clutch and nothing but. Perhaps the three most critical points he scored all season came in Waco. After Oklahoma rallied from trailing the Baylor Bears, 28-3, Lincoln Riley’s offense placed his kicker in a position to take the lead and complete the historic comeback. On that night, a Crimson & Cream legend was born.
On the season, Gabe Brkic made all 17 of his field goal attempts, plus all 52 extra point attempts. Combined, that’s a grand total of 69 successful kicks in just 11 games played. For his outstanding run, he was named a First Team All-American by CBS Sports, a Freshman All-American by The Athletic and FWAA, a Second Team All-Big 12 selection by the league’s coaches and media, and a Lou Groza Award semifinalist.
If you check out Gabe Brkic on Twitter this offseason, you can find him honing his craft with unique trick shots and feats that’ll amaze. He’s also been out there working on his power. What do I mean? I think this clip of him crushing a ball from 72 yards out explains everything.
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