UMass received another verbal commit this past weekend, as kicker Matthew Wylie has decided to join the Minutemen as a preferred walk-on. The news was first reported by The Austin Statesman's Danny Davis.
Dripping Springs' Wylie to play football at UMass http://t.co/2Dq7bfrr7u— Danny Davis (@aasdanny) January 26, 2014
According to 247sports, the 6'5, 190 lb. kicker drew interest from UTEP, UTSA, Vanderbilt, SMU and Oklahoma. As a senior Wylie earned first-team all-district honors after making three field goal attempts and going 32-32 in extra point attempts.
UMass has struggled with kicking over the past few years and was costly last season in the Minutemen's 31-30 loss to Western Michigan. Kicker Blake Lucas missed two field goals (41, 22) including one in the fourth quarter. His struggles resulted in former head coach Charley Molnar going for two at the end of the game instead of playing for overtime because he believed that they would lose if they were in a kicking battle. Following that game, Lucas was replaced by Brendon Levengood who went on to finish the season making all nine of his field goal attempts.
Wylie will have a chance to compete right away for the starting kicking job with Levengood gone due to graduation. Lucas and Markus Colin are the only other kickers on the roster and although Lucas struggled kicking last season (3-10) he is the only one with game experience.