By: Will Burchfield
For a football team with a sudden kicking crisis, Michigan would appear to have a pretty simple solution.
Freshman Quinn Nordin, the top-ranked kicker in the 2016 recruiting class, has entered the race for the starter’s job after being held out of action with an injury through the first five games of the season.
“Quinn’s back, he’s back in the competition,” Jim Harbaugh told the Jamie and Stoney Show on 97.1 The Ticket on Thursday morning.
Michigan’s kicking duties have come under question after Kenny Allen and Ryan Tice combined to miss three field goals in the team’s win over Wisconsin last weekend. Harbaugh has been holding a competition during practice this week to determine the starter in Saturday’s game against Rutgers.
“It’s been good, been a good improvement week for us in that area. That competition will rage on,” he said. “We’re looking for somebody to put their iron jock on and kick the ball through the uprights and our guys are competing hard to get that done.
“We have confidence in our guys but we want to see that competition in practice. We feel if you can make ’em in practice, you’ll be able to make ‘em in the games, so our guys are battling it out this week.”
Harbaugh famously invited himself to Nordin’s house for a sleepover earlier this year in an attempt to lure the highly-touted kicker to Michigan. And it worked, as Nordin eventually flipped his longtime commitment to Penn State.
Now, in Ann Arbor, Nordin may be closing in on the starting kicking job for the No. 4-ranked team in the country.
“He made both his kicks yesterday,” Harbaugh said. “In fact, we had a really good day yesterday, Kenny Allen made all his kicks, Ryan Tice made all his kicks. So it’ll rage on again today.”
Allen, a fifth year senior, is 4/8 on field goals this year, having missed both his attempts from beyond 40 yards. Tice, a sophomore, is 0/1.
It bears mention that Allen has also handled kick-off and punting duties, something that Harbaugh hasn’t felt completely comfortable with.
“I never thought it was ideal to have Kenny do the punting, kickoffs and the field goals,” he said after the Wisconsin game. “It’s a lot, it’s probably too much.”
Perhaps Nordin can take a load off Allen’s shoulders.