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Better Know a Newcomer: Cole Tracy

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Tracy brings dependability to a shaky spot.

16-27.

59.3%. It’s the lowest FG percentage produced by LSU since the inaugural Les Miles season. Connor Culp, one of the heroes of the Auburn game (btw, did you know they blew a 21-point lead?) and Jack Gonsulin, not a hero of the Auburn game, both struggled mightily in their bids to secure the reigns of the LSU kicking job. In fact, they performed poorly enough for Orgeron to routinely and repeatedly mention how badly he needed a kicker during Coach O call-in shows.

And thus, Cole Tracy.

The Story

No one ever heard of Cole Tracy until about 10 months ago. Unlike most players LSU recruits, Tracy did not have prestigious offer list, nor even a single esteemed offer. Hailing just outside of LA, Tracy packed up his bags and set off to continue his football career at a small, liberal arts college in Worcester, Massachusetts called Assumption College. A Division II program, it’s not a supposed stepping stone to the next level of football. Most would assume he went to collect a quality education, live his out fleeting football dreams and then gracefully move into adulthood doing something else.

But Tracy just started making field goals. And kept making them and making them and making them. In fact, he made 68 in four seasons at Assumption, good for an 81% clip. He made six field goals in a game. Twice. His team excelled, advancing to the Final 8 of the DII playoffs, thanks in large part to Tracy’s outstanding kicking. During his senior season he made 27/29 fields and tacked on all 67 XP attempts. The performance earned him the Fred Mitchell Award, awarded to the best kicker in all of college football, beneath FBS. Tracy performed so well, he started to draw attention. With a year of eligibility remaining, Tracy became an object of interest to college programs in need of kicking help. Enter, LSU.

Sporting an NFL-capable leg, Tracy needed to prove his ability to kick in big games. LSU and Oklahoma State took interest and both flew him in for official visits. New LSU ST coordinator Greg McMahon put on his recruiting shades. Tracy left the visit talking about how much Baton Rouge felt like home. With that, LSU found their kicker and Tracy found his opportunity for NFL attention.

The Numbers

247 Composite Rating: N/A
247 Composite Ranking: N/A

Nothing much to say here. Tracy was a little known recruit and didn’t even garner a re-ranking as a graduate transfer.

The Film

I mean, it’s kicker tape. Watch if if you choose. He made 3 FGs over 50. I think that says he doesn’t have an absolute monster leg, but LSU will happily take a guy that can knock now the sure bets.

The Future

He’s LSU’s kicker. If he sucks, gets the yips, or loses his leg, well, it’ll all be for nothing. Look, LSU needed a kicker, so I don’t take major offense to the use of the scholarship, even if it’s only for a season.

But I’m still going to grind an axe against the staff here. I think Orgeron believed he could get Tracy in without impacting the total signing class numbers of 2018. Only after signing Tracy did we find out he would count against the total numbers. It forced LSU to get stingy and confused with their remaining spots for the 2018 class and ultimately, probably cost them Mario Goodrich, simply because they couldn’t guarantee him a spot he wanted. Goodrich became a back-up plan to Surtain and LSU wound up with neither. Some gambles pay off, but this one didn’t.

Tracy will have to make a significant contribution to justify the loss of three years of production from a good CB. Frankly, I’m skeptical the gap in his performance to Culp, being in the program for another season, will be enough to make this feel good.

And this is no condemnation of Tracy himself the player. He looks like a perfectly fine kicker. And you need one of those. If he had even two years of eligibility, I’d probably feel differently. My main objection is getting one single season of eligibility for a position where young players typically struggle and more veteran ones improve.

So here we are. Tracy is the kicker. Unless he bombs. Then this was truly for nothing.

High End: All-SEC kicker.
Low End: Gets the yips. Forced to share role.
Realistic: I think he’s a solid, dependable kicker for us.