Over the past year or so, Maryland kicker Brad Craddock's profile has steadily risen. From Randy Edsall's emotional comments about Craddock last season to being nearly perfect and winning the Lou Groza Award to being identified as one of the Terps' leaders coming into this season, Craddock has steadily come into the spotlight during his illustrious career.
On Wednesday night, that spotlight will get even brighter. Craddock will be featured on the Big Ten Network's "The Journey," which will chronicle his rise from Australian punter to one of the nation's top kickers while also following his preparation for Maryland's loss to Penn State.
"It was good," Craddock said Tuesday. "It was funny. It's like talking to you guys, but they just asked a few different questions. It was a bit of fun. They had a little bit of fun with it. I got to do some trick kicks on the field and stuff like that, which was I guess what I do normally when I muck around, but they just videoed it. It was good."
Producer Bill Friedman said Craddock was a logical choice for the show to profile. There's a unique backstory to go with his development from a shaky freshman to reliable option a few years later. He's also someone that might fly a little more under the radar than the average Big Ten star, and the casual fan outside of Maryland might not be familiar with his story.
"We want some balance, we want some variety in our show," Friedman said in a telephone interview Tuesday. "We don't want our show to just be a bunch of profiles about the quarterbacks in the Big Ten or just a bunch of profiles of the best players on the two or three best teams. Our show's mission, which we feel helps differentiate it from others in our genre, is we try to document the Big Ten football season. What happens."
There's also Craddock himself. His coaches and teammates at Maryland have praised his leadership ability and personality, and Friedman said that shined through. In a clip posted to Twitter on Monday, the easy-going Craddock demonstrates trick kicks he learned in Australia and brought with him when he came to Maryland.
"I think you develop a sense as a producer, as a storyteller of who's going to make for good television. … In talking to him, he's very confident in himself, he has a very cheery personality," Friedman said. "He's an upbeat guy, he's got a quick wit and I just felt that would really translate well to television, and we were very pleased with how the feature turned out."
Friedman said a team led by on-site producer Kevin Ritchie spent the day with Craddock last week to gather material for the Big Ten Network. Wednesday's episode of "The Journey" also features Penn State defensive tackle Anthony Zettel and the lead up to the Terps' meeting with the Nittany Lions at M&T Bank Stadium.
The Big Ten Network ended up picking a good week to profile Craddock for "The Journey." Entering the loss to Penn State, the senior hadn't attempted a field goal since Maryland's loss to Bowling Green on Sept. 12. Against the Nittany Lions, Craddock was three of four, and even though he suffered a right ankle injury, he expects to be ready for Saturday's game at No. 10 Iowa.
The four-game streak without a field goal attempt was the longest of Craddock's career. Entering this season, Craddock hadn't attempted a field goal in only seven games of his Maryland career.
"I feel really good right now," Craddock said. "Obviously, I had like four weeks where I didn't get a field goal. It was different. I haven't ever had that before. I feel good. It just gave me more practice time to get in the groove of things and a little bit more nerves coming into a game which is always good. I feel good."
Tuesday, Craddock kept the same low-key demeanor he's had during his career in College Park. But Wednesday night, he'll have the spotlight of the Big Ten Network on him.
"It was cool," Craddock said. "I guess it's an honor to have it. It'll be good to see what it turns out like. I wouldn't have a clue what they're doing, so I guess we'll see [Wednesday] night."
"The Journey" airs Wednesday at 10:30 p.m. on Big Ten Network.