Syracuse football walk-on Evan Jakubowski is raw but will provide much-needed depth as a specialist

By Nate Mink on April 10, 2014 –

Syracuse, N.Y. — It was not some 55-yard field goal or a booming punt that caught the eye of Chris Gould when he combed over Evan Jakubowski’s Hudl tape late last year.

Instead, the special teams quality control coach for Syracuse closely watched Jakubowski’s hands and had seen enough to send an email to his high school coach, intensifying the recruiting process with a player who only kicked in high school for one season.

“A lot of things he doesn’t see when he’s recruiting kids is the hands and how quick the get-off time needs to be,” said Jakubowski, also a shortstop on the Wheaton Warrenville South High School baseball team in Illinois. “He likes that a lot.”

So much so that the Syracuse coaching staff offered Jakubowski an opportunity to join the football program in August as a preferred walk-on. Similar to punter Riley Dixon, there will be a chance for Jakubowski to earn a scholarship during the course of his career. Until then, he will pay his own way to attend Syracuse.

Jakubowski will provide depth to the punting position, which begins the 2014 season with Dixon as the only experienced punter on roster. Jakubowski will likely practice field goals and kickoffs as well, he said.

He visited campus over winter. By the end of his visit, the school ranked at the top of a list of schools including Missouri and Miami (Ohio). Having little football kicking experience, no school offered him a scholarship. He said Syracuse stayed in contact the most throughout the recruiting process, which made it stand out even more when making a final decision.

“It’s a D-1 facility, so you can’t not like it,” Jakubowski said.

He played wide receiver and safety as a freshman and opted to play soccer his sophomore and junior years of high school. Not long after his school’s football season ended in 2012, Jakubowski started kicking a football and his coach watched as he cleared a 50-yard attempt through the uprights.