Friday October 30th, 2015

The No. 11 ranked Florida Gators have picked up dental student Neil MacInnes as backup kicker for their upcoming game against Georgia, the team announced Friday.

Redshirt sophomore kicker Austin Hardin, who has been battling a leg injury this season, will start for the Gators against their SEC rivals.

MacInnes and 216 other people responded to an open call announced on Twitter after Florida kicker Jorge Powell sustained a season-ending knee injury during a game against LSU. Powell’s injury left Hardin as the only healthy kicker on the team’s roster, compelling the Gators to hold a mid-season tryout for a backup.

“It's pretty much a dream come true. I wanted to kick in high school and obviously being part of this organization, and Gator Nation, is kind of cool,” MacInnes said.

The dental student does have some experience. MacInnes, 21, played soccer and ran track at Chamberlain High in Tampa. During his junior year, he tried out for his high school football team and became the starting placekicker for the following two years. The last field goal he made was in Dec. 2011 during a Hillsborough County all-star game.

MacInnes beat out former equipment staffer Donovan White and former Virginia Tech kicker Brooks Abbott for the opportunity to suit up with the Gators.

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- Xandria James

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