Sep 7, 2013
At 6 feet 2 inches tall and 210 pounds, Drew Basil is not a typical kicker. The senior from Chillicothe, Ohio, could easily be mistaken as a linebacker instead of a specialist, but appearances are deceiving.
"Take out the word line and put in kicker - I'm a kickerbacker," Basil said.
What makes Basil a "kickerbacker" is not merely his stature, but his mentality. Basil has been making tackles on kickoffs each year since he was a Buckeye freshman. In high school Basil sometimes let concerns of getting injured outweigh his desire to takedown kick returners. It was not until he arrived at Ohio State and hit the weight room he discovered his aptitude for tackling.
"I came up with the term `kickerbacker' this past season," Basil said. "At Ohio State everyone wants to get their hits in on the opposing team, including me. It is always fun to run down and make a play."
Basil certainly has been getting his hits in. He has recorded 15 tackles since he first assumed kickoff responsibilities as a true freshman in 2010. Although it is not a statistical category which is readily available, it is possible Basil has more tackles than any kicker in Ohio State history. After all, Basil has a chance to finish his Ohio State career with 52 starts, the most by a kicker in Ohio State history and tied for second most all-time.
"It was an honor to earn the job of kickoffs as a freshman and then the right to kick field goals as well my sophomore year," Basil said. "I take a lot of pride in having started every game of my career."
No matter how many tackles Basil makes, kicking is still what the Buckeyes need him to excel at on the field. To this point in his career, it has not been a problem.
Basil has a career field goal percentage of .750 (24-of-32) and has made 92 extra-point kicks. In 2012 he converted 8-of-11 field goal opportunities, including four in the final game of the season against Michigan. His points proved crucial in the Ohio State victory which capped off an undefeated 12-0 season. To Basil, the high-pressure kicks were like any other he has attempted throughout his career.
"The secret is to stay calm, be mentally tough and get in the same state of mind for every kick," Basil said.
With an offense returning 11 starters, it is possible Basil attempts even fewer field goals in favor of more extra points this season. It does not matter to him what or when he kicks, as long as it helps the team.
"Whenever the offense is moving the ball, it is one of the most exciting things to watch," Basil said. "As a team we want to score as much as possible. I'm always ready to come in and tack on the extra point or, if we somehow get stopped, try a field goal."
Despite his position on the depth chart, Basil is not just a kicker. Nor is he by any means a linebacker. The only way to describe him is as a "kickerbacker." This label is creative, but only begins to outline who Basil is: one of the hardest working members of Ohio State's football team, a player who excels consistently, leads by example and always puts the team ahead of himself.
By John W. Samuelson, Athletics Communications
Scarlet & Gray Super Sunday