At the beginning of the year, I graded each unit heading into the season. The grade reflected the returning talent and what kind of year I expected the group to have. Now that the season is over, its time to go back, re-evaluate everything and re-grade each unit. Let’s get it started.
The special teams unit returned both the starting punter and kicker this year. USF had to introduce a new long snapper, but it went well overall with very few issues. Let’s evaluate the unit and see how they grade at the end of the season.
Preseason grade: B+
The unit came into the season ranked highly in my book. A returning punter with promise, a seasoned long snapper (David Burdetsky), and a Groza finalist all were returning. Burdetsky graduated and did not return for his final year, leaving to a little worry with the new long snapper taking over for a two year starter, but the grade didn’t change because of that. The unit was solid and had one of the highest grades overall for any unit on the team.
Here are the players and what they did this year.
#40 Michael Hill – 5’9″ 175 lbs. – Junior – Did not play this year
#27 Marvin Kloss – 6′ 209 lbs. – Senior – 13 for 17 in field goals, long of 47; 23 for 23 in extra point attempts
#35 Emilio Nadelman – 5’6″ 173 lbs. – Redshirt freshman – Did not play this year
#59 Alex Salvato – 5’11” 200 lbs. – Sophomore – Saw action in all 12 games
#58 Zach Stewart – 6’3″ 220 lbs. – Freshman – Did not play this year
#46 Eric Briggs – 6’2″ 197 lbs. – Freshman – Did not play this year
#39 Mattias Ciabatti – 6’1 189 lbs. – Junior – 65 punts, averaged 44.4 yards per punt (62 long), 22 inside the opponents 20-yard line, 18 punts of 50+ yards
Mattias Ciabatti had a very good season for the Bulls, increasing on his total yardage and could be an all conference performer after his great year. Marvin Kloss didn’t have the same kind of season that he did back in 2013. He missed a few kicks but overall didn’t have the same amount of attempts this year, reducing his overall numbers. Alex Salvato had a good year with no bad snaps and settled into the starting roll without a hitch. Overall, it was a solid year for the unit. Coverage teams were overall decent (allowed some big returns) and the USF return game, aside from some botched kicks here and there, didn’t doom a single game.
Postseason grade: B. The grade only drops just a bit at the end of the year to me. Mattias Ciabatti had a great year punting, but Kloss didn’t have quite the year we all expected, which in my eyes will lower the grade just ever so slightly. The offense didn’t get Kloss enough attempts to kick a ton of field goals, which dropped his numbers in his final season with USF. Salvato did well with snapping the ball and there weren’t no issues with holds on fields as far as I recall from the year. I don’t think the unit should grade out as high as I projected it prior to the season, but they won’t drop any lower than a solid B to me.