Iowa’s Stevens kicks his strength up a notch heading into sophomore season

Published: Apr. 16, 2023 at 6:52 PM CDT
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - Following an impressive freshman campaign, Drew Stevens looks to take his kicking game to the next level after time in the weight room.

Last season, Stevens was named a semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award, given annually out to the best place kicker. Now, his focus heading into his sophomore season is putting on more weight.

“I’ve really been focusing on my body a lot this spring,” Stevens said. “Compared to last spring ball, I was really just trying to get used to things. Now, I have a plan and I’m set on doing that.”

Last spring, Stevens was around 170 pounds. This spring he’s at 197. With the help of his kicking coach Dan Orner, who also worked with former Iowa kicker Keith Duncan, Stevens’ goal is to get up to about 215 pounds.

“Increasing my body weight, it does increase your range. I’ll just set that out there. It’s the thing you don’t think about whenever you’re thinking about kickers. Oh, you don’t need to bench, you don’t need to do none of that, but more the weight up top, the more weight you move down field and the farther the ball goes,” Stevens explained.

Stevens took over the starting role following week three. He set a Hawkeye freshman record making 16-of-18 field goals and displayed his range by hitting from 51 and 54 yards out.

“I can hit 60 pretty comfortably now,” he said.

One of his biggest takeaways from his first season, was learning to lean on his teammates.

“One of the biggest transitions from high school to college is that everybody here is good. I had to really trust that because sometimes in my operation, sometimes in high school I’d have to adjust in ways I don’t really have to worry about here,” Stevens said.

Heading into his second season, his confidence remains high.

“That’s what makes a good kicker a good kicker. You’re confident in what you’re doing because if you’re like ‘Oh, I don’t know if I’m going to make that kick,’ like no. You can’t be like that. You’re setting yourself up for failure,” Stevens explained.

He also learned a lot about himself especially when he looks back at games like the one against Minnesota. The South Carolina native battled through frigid temperatures and was able to nail a 21-yard game-winning field goal to send the Floyd of Rosedale back to Iowa City.

“I call it the black out. You go out there and before you know it, you’re running off like you don’t remember like a thing. It’s a focus you can’t replicate in practice. I fell like you only really know what you’re going to do in those situations, after you’ve been in those situations,” he said.