Record-setting Rams’ placekicker now with CFL’s Roughriders
Persistence punts the football. That’s not a bromide or a platitude. It wasn’t said or coined by Grimm or William Blake or John Heywood or Socrates.
[cleeng_content id="317744879" description="Read it now!" price="0.49" t="article"]It’s simply the truth about the best punter in Shepherd University football history, Ricky Schmitt.
Schmitt’s last year at Shepherd was the 2006 season. He set so many records for punting and placekicking they almost outnumbered the people lingering on “The Wall” on German Street in Shepherdstown.
And then Schmitt set out. He was searching for a job in the National Football League. If a team needed a punter, he was qualified. If a team wanted a kicker, he was also qualified.
Like most small college players, Schmitt had gone undrafted by any NFL team in the 2007 selection process. He searched out a number of teams before signing as a free agent with the Arizona Cardinals. After failing to dislodge the incumbent Cardinal punter and placekicker, Schmitt was released before the regular season opened.
In 2008, Schmitt was signed by San Francisco but was again released before that season began.
The Pittsburgh Steelers placed him on their practice squad at mid-season in 2008 but then released him three days later.
In December of 2008, the Oakland Raiders gave Schmitt a place on their practice squad but he wasn’t activated for any games. He went through summer practice with Oakland in 2009 but was released in early September.
Late in December of 2009, Schmitt returned for a second time to San Francisco and actually played against Detroit and made two of three field goal attempts (the miss was blocked) and converted both his extra point tries. But five days after that game he was placed on injured reserve with a groin injury. In March of 2010 he became a free agent.
Only 10 days after his release by San Francisco, Schmitt was signed by the Tennessee Titans. After performing during the preseason, Schmitt was released before the regular season started.
The San Diego Chargers were the next team to bring in the one-time Shepherd player. After another preseason testing in the summer of 2011, he was cut again before the regular season got underway.
In the spring of 2012, a second stint with Arizona was tried. In August, the Cardinals released him.
That carries us through until early November of last year where the 6-foot-3, 213-pound Schmitt sought employment with the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League.
The Roughriders were in the CFL playoffs looking to win the Grey Cup.
Schmitt was used in the first round of the playoffs when the Roughriders played the Calgary Stampeders and lost, 36-30.
In that CFL game, Schmitt had five kickoffs with two of them resulting in touchbacks on the 110-yard field. His numerous punts averaged 44.8 yards per boot.
The 2013 Canadian Football League season is already underway. And Schmitt is the punter for the green-clad Saskatchewan Roughbriders who play their home games in their home base of Regina, just east Moose Jaw and south of Saskatoon.
Through two games, Saskatchewan is 2-0 and leads Calgary (1-1), British Columbia (1-1) and the Edmonton Eskimos (1-1) in its West Division of the eight-team league.
In those two Roughrider wins, Schmitt has punted a total of 12 times. And he has been very effective, averaging 49.2 yards per punt with his longest effort going 62 yards.
While at Shepherd, he had been a three-time All-WVIAC first-team selection as a punter and a two-time first-teamer as a placekicker.
Schmitt is all over the Shepherd record book. The list of his accomplishments show him to be the school’s all-time leader in career field goals with 33; the leader with most career extra points with 151; most extra points in a season (50 of 54 tries); most kick scoring points in a season with 80 and most consecutive extra points in a career with 60.
In addition to those Shepherd marks, Schmitt also has the record for most consecutive extra points in a single season with 43; the highest one-season extra point percentage at 100 percent when he made 43-of-43 attempts in 2006 and for career extra point percentage at .926 with his 151-of-163 attempts.
If such non-kicking records were kept, he would have to hold all the marks for persistence, endurance and durability.
After so many years of kicking at team’s doors, Schmitt has a home in professional football. And if a 49.2 per punt average is an indication, he is making the most of his latest opportunity.