They are tried and true, all but automatic after a touchdown and dead solid in the clutch. Here, in alphabetical order, are the nation's top kickers. The only kicker in the country to make 90 percent of his field goal tries in 2011, Baer has missed only two of 27 career attempts; as the Ragin' Cajuns' punter in '11, he averaged 40.3 yards.
2 of 7Peter Read Miller/SI
Andrew Heidari, USC
Stocky (5-foot-10, 210 pounds) and strong-legged, the highly regarded 2011 recruit earned All--Pac-12 honors as a true freshman, making 15-of-17 attempts, among them a 50-yarder against Stanford.
3 of 7Sue Ogrocki/AP
Michael Hunnicutt, Oklahoma
As a walk-on redshirt freshman, Hunnicutt beat out more experienced teammates to become the Sooners' primary placekicker. Successful on 21-of-24 field goal attempts, he nailed a 53-yarder at Kansas State.
4 of 7John Raoux/AP
Dustin Hopkins, Florida State
With his booming leg, Hopkins is considered this year's top NFL prospect after pumping home 22-of-27 field goal tries in 2011. The previous year he hit a game-winning 55-yarder against Clemson.
5 of 7Stephen Mally/Icon SMI
Brett Maher, Nebraska
Taking over for departed All-America Alex Henery, Maher filled his shoes by earning first-team All-Big Ten honors as both a kicker and punter (44.5-yard average). He made 19-of-23 field goals, including a careerlong 51-yarder against Michigan.
6 of 7Reese Strickland/Getty Images
Quinn Sharp, Oklahoma State
Already the starting punter (45.8-yard career average), Sharp replaced a Groza winner (Dan Bailey) as placekicker last season and made 22-of-25 field goals, including all 14 of his attempts inside 30 yards.
7 of 7John Raoux/AP
Caleb Sturgis, Florida
After being out with a back injury, Sturgis rebounded as a medical redshirt in 2011 to become a Groza finalist, making 22-of-26 kicks, including a 55-yarder against Vanderbilt.
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