Untested Kicker Must Step Into the Shoes of Florida State’s Single-Season Leading Scorer

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Dustin Hopkins will be one of the top kickers off the board at the NFL Draft next month, and for the first time in four years, there’ll be a new placekicker at Florida State.

The frontrunner is the only returning kicker on the official roster, rising sophomore Roberto Aguayo, who was one of the top five recruits at his position in 2012.

Thanks to Hopkins’ numerous accomplishments during his career as a ‘Nole, Aguayo has some pretty big cleats to fill.

Hopkins, a top recruit in his own right, attended Florida State in spite of – or perhaps because of  – the university’s dicey reputation for missing kicks in big game situations.

He devoted four seasons to changing that notion, and he’s left a legacy that will be tough for the next man to follow.

From partway through his freshman season until the second week of his senior year, Hopkins made 145 straight extra point tries. He made 25 of 30 field goals in his senior year, including all five attempts from beyond 50 yards, which he did twice in the game against in-state rival Florida.

He scored a career-high 140 points as a senior, becoming the ACC‘s all-time single-season leading scorer.  His consistency throughout his long career helped him set a new FBS record for scoring by a kicker with 466 career points, and he also established a new FBS mark for career field goals, with 88.

Hopkins set the bar pretty high for the next ‘Noles kicker. Can Aguayo live up to it (or kick over it)?

Believe it or not, there is room for improvement. It will probably take another four-year starter to overtake his career records, but Hopkins never made more than 84 percent of his field goal attempts in any season. He made a big game-winning kick against Clemson back in 2010, but he also missed two potential game-winners: a 40-yarder against North Carolina in 2010 and a 42-yarder against Virginia during his junior year.

Kickers are generally only remembered if they make the big kick or miss it. Hopkins’ rare misses are easy to forget because of the sheer volume he made over the course of his long, decorated career.

Thanks to everything he accomplished, the expectations for his successor will be much higher for the outset than they were for him four seasons ago. Aguayo won’t get to ease into the 2013 season, either. The Seminoles open the year on Labor Day weekend with a conference road game at Pittsburgh.

New kicker, new quarterback, and new conference opponent – it has all the components of an interesting start to what Aguayo surely hopes will be a long, Hopkins-like career at FSU.

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