The battle for Maryland’s starting punter and kicker positions got significantly more competitive today.
Brad Craddock, a 6-foot-1, 190-pound specialist from Tabor Christian College in Adelaide, Australia, has signed a financial-aid agreement with Maryland, coach Randy Edsall announced today.
"Brad is an extremely talented kicker and punter with a very strong leg and excellent hang time and distance with his kicks,” Edsall said in a news release. “We are excited that Brad has decided to come to the University of Maryland to continue his academic and athletic career. Having had experience with an Australian punter previously, I felt that Brad would be a great fit based on film and recommendations of our kicking and International contacts. We look forward to having Brad with us when our team reports to camp on August 5th."
Craddock learned to punt playing Australian Rules football, which he began participating in at age 8. The future Terp also played soccer, tennis and ran track in high school. Craddock has spent the past year-and-a-half training with OzPunt, an Australian punting, kicking and holding academy. He will have four years of eligibility at Maryland.
A four-and-a-half-star prospect (out of five) according to NationalCampSeries.com, Craddock was rated Australia’s top kicking prospect for 2012 by Chris Sailer Kicking. Craddock has also trained with Louie Aguiar, a former punter for the New York Jets, Kansas City Chiefs, Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears.
Craddock has a "real strong leg [and] punted the ball really well," said Aguiar, who worked with the Terps signee in Las Vegas in January. "He needed help on technique. You can’t teach leg speed, but you can teach technique. He did a real good job at it."
Maryland returns senior Nick Ferrara at kicker, along with sophomore walk-on Michael Tart and redshirt freshman Nathan Renfro. Ferrara was 12-for-20 on field goals and 27-for-28 on extra points in 2011. He punted 57 times for a 39.5-yard average. Tart punted three times for a 34-yard average. Renfro redshirted last fall.
Aguiar said he sees Craddock as more of a punter than a kicker in college. While Craddock has work to do before he competes for Maryland's punting job as a true freshman, Aguiar says his student's potential is excellent.
"If [Craddock] keeps improving the way he is, I think he’ll do really well in college," Aguiar said. "If he keeps working hard, doing what we ask him to do, I think one day he can play in the NFL with his leg. He just has to keep progressing. ... I know he’ll work hard."
Check out video of Craddock below.