Spartan Nation Spoke with One of Countryâ€™s Best 2010 Punters, Talked MSU, Recruiting and More
Michigan State got on the Mike Sadler bandwagon early, and that could make a big difference when the nationally recruited punter makes the decision of where heâ€™ll play football in college.
â€œMichigan State got on board pretty early,â€ Sadler told Spartan Nation. He attended a junior day and made it to a couple Spartan games last fall. After that, recruiting died down a bit, so Sadler took some initiative. â€œI emailed Coach (Dan) Roushar and I basically said, â€˜Hey, if youâ€™re looking for a punter, Iâ€™m interested and Iâ€™ll come down to East Lansing.â€™â€ So Sadler made the hour-long trip to MSU, displayed his punting prowess at a camp and a Spartan scholarship offer followed in short order.
Roushar may be Sadlerâ€™s recruiting coach, â€œbut I talk to Coach Mike Tressel a lot, heâ€™s the specialist coach, but Iâ€™ve really been involved with all of the coaches there,â€ Sadler said. â€œ(Coach Pat) Narduzziâ€™s taught me a lot, Coach (Dino) Folino, and, of course, Coach (Mark) Dantonio has been great to me.â€
Although born and bred a Michigander, Sadler claims heâ€™s fairly non-partisan when it comes to the big two.
â€œItâ€™s always nice to be a hometown guy, if you will," Sadler said. "I was never a Michigan or Michigan State guy, really â€” I was more like a fan of college football. But Iâ€™ve definitely been at Michigan State games, because of the proximity more than anything. So Iâ€™ve started to grow to like the team now and thatâ€™s pretty cool.â€
Hailing from Grand Rapids (Forest Hills Northern HS), Sadler has buckled up and taken trips aplenty over the past couple months, from Northwestern to Alabama and pretty soon to Tempe, Ariz., where he will bask in the desert sun as he boots pigskin for an interested set of Pac-10 coaches at Arizona State. This summer has been a bit of an anomaly for Sadler, who is used to working out and staying focused on his game. Instead, recruiting and camp performances have taken a front seat.
â€œIâ€™ve been all over the country doing camps and visiting schools. It hasnâ€™t been ordinary one bit,â€ he said.
Sadler holds seven offers, including one from Michigan State. The rest of the list is impressive: LSU, Alabama, Air Force, Northwestern, Purdue and Arizona State.
About garnering more scholarship offers, Sadler says this: â€œI feel pretty good about where Iâ€™m at. Another school Iâ€™m hoping to get onboard is Florida. â€¦ Most of the schools that I would want to hear from are already onboard. I feel pretty good about where Iâ€™m at.â€
Punting a football, Sadler says, comes down to a few key components. One, and perhaps the most important, is consistency.
â€œMore than anything, I have to work on consistency,â€ Sadler explained. Booting a ball 60 yards down field is all well and good, but if every other punt is a shank, the punter becomes a liability. â€œConsistency is important,â€ Sadler said. And not far behind in hang time.
â€œOn a good day, Iâ€™ll be hitting balls 45-50 yards with a hang time around 5.1,â€ Sadler said. â€œI think the pros average 4.7.â€
At the next level, Sadler will be thinking more strategically as well. â€œIn college, they really stress directional punting. Thatâ€™s not something thatâ€™s crucial in high school,â€ he said, but itâ€™s something heâ€™s worked on this summer.
In college, most programs seem him as a punting specialist only, but Sadler said if a team needs it, he could provide depth as a kicker. â€œI do everything at the high school level,â€ he said.
Dantonio and other collegiate coaches, such as Ohio Stateâ€™s Jim Tressel, are not alone in their respect for the specialists involved in punting, an aspect of the game such men have deemed the most important play in football. Sadler concurs.
â€œI think what they think,â€ Sadler said. â€œI think itâ€™s crucial. So many thing weird things can happen on a punt. It can make or break games for you, really. If you have a great punt, than that can help your defense, which can lead to your offense, so itâ€™s really a catalyst for everything that follows.â€