When we think of the most talented players in football, we often forget about how much impact kickers have on the game. In college football, it’s often the special teams which determines close contests. Hence, the infamous hashtag #CollegeKickers blossomed.
So it’s only fitting to start off our Top 25 players in the MAC countdown by highlighting the conference’s top two place-kickers — two athletes that consistently add points to the scoreboard and lead some of the nation’s more skilled special teams units: Ohio’s Louie Zervos and Toledo’s Jameson Vest.
Louie Zervos, Ohio, Jr.
Zervos launched onto the college football scene as a freshman phenom, earning First Team All-MAC honors at age 19. In 2016, Zervos shattered an FBS record for most fields goals made by a freshman, converting 29-of-35 attempts. He ranked first in the country in field goals made that season and booted a career-best 51-yarder all before his 20th birthday.
Zervos’ leg wasn’t relied upon as much in his sophomore campaign, when Ohio’s offense ignited and started frequenting the end zone more often. He still made a respectable 83 percent of kicks by sailing 15-of-18 attempts through the uprights — good for Third Team All-MAC honors.
Out of all active FBS kickers, Zervos ranks fourth in made field goals despite only suiting up for two seasons. He was recently added to the 2018 Lou Groza Award preseason watch list.
Jameson Vest, Toledo, Sr.
Vest was an integral part of Toledo’s 2017 MAC championship run. The then-junior finished the season second in the FBS with 25 successful field goals on just 30 attempts. He’s lethal in the 40-49 yard range — an area of struggle for most college kickers and was able to nail a clutch, game-winning field goal in a wild 54-51 victory over Tulsa in the Glass Bowl. Vest took home First Team All-MAC honors in 2017 and will likely compete with Zervos for the award in 2018.
The Georgia native checks in at second in field goals made out of active kickers, entering his senior season with 57. Vest is one of the 30 names on the 2018 Lou Groza Award preseason watch list.