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Ben Sauls Named As Pitt’s Starting Placekicker Over Sam Scarton



Pitt kicker Ben Sauls

Pat Narduzzi said the starting placekicker position was up for grabs earlier this week, but it appears that Ben Sauls did enough to make his mark.

Sauls knocked off incumbent — and All-ACC third teamer — Sam Scarton to win the kicking competition, in addition to retaining his kickoff duties, Trib Total Media’s Jerry DiPaola reported.

However, despite Scarton losing the kicking competition, DiPaola further reported that Scarton has officially been put on scholarship. So, both Sauls and Scarton are now officially on scholarship.

It’s a somewhat surprising result considering Scarton’s success last season, setting Pitt’s record for points in a season (120) on the heels of a season in which he connected on 17-of-21 field goal attempts and 69-of-72 point after attempts — with a long of 47 yards. Despite Scarton’s success, the placekicking position was an open competition all offseason, and Sauls gradually began taking more reps with the ones as camp wore on.

Sauls, who served as Pitt’s kickoff specialist last season, booted 104 kickoffs last season. He averaged 62.3 yards per kick and racked up 44 touchbacks. He only attempted four point after attempts last season, connecting on two.

Sauls is the inexperienced option in the room, aside from walk-on Caleb Junko, and his mettle will be tested early this season as the Backyard Brawl kicks off the season in just under a week. But it’s clear that Pitt has two starting-caliber kickers on the roster.

With Sauls holding down placekicking and kickoff specialist duties this season, he joins freshman punter Sam Vander Haar and redshirt sophomore long snapper Byron Floyd as the starters in the special teams room.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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1 year ago

I think this is great news. Sauls has a great leg but he struggled with accuracy last year. Hearing that sauls won the starting position probably means that he has gotten the accuracy figured out, If that’s the case then he can be an elite kicker for the panthers.

1 year ago
Reply to  Mtgj

Camp accuracy and live game accuracy are entirely two different animals. Scarton was clutch last season not sure if I would change that after all the games “strong leg” Kessmen cost us last couple of years. Hopefully scarton stays at Pitt I’m sure a lot of teams would love to have a proven clutch kicker

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