When you make, it you get a dap; when you miss it, you get silence. The distant cousin of quarterbacks, placekickers are a special breed. Oftentimes practicing alone, they talk to themselves since they're usually they’re their own biggest fan and simultaneously their biggest critic. They’re usually hyper sensitive of their surroundings—be it wind direction, field conditions or who knows what else. Being the kicker at Miami, you have to bring a bit of your own unique swagger—a quality Michael Badgley has done for four seasons at The U.
Born and raised in Summit, New Jersey, Badgley attended Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia. A Dean’s list student at Fork Union, Badgley’s longest field goal was said to be made from 58 yards out. It seems like destiny that Badgley would choose to attend the University of Miami to apply his trade.
Kicking duties were not placed on a tee upon his arrival, however. Badgley had to battle an incumbent to earn full-time duties, a feat that he would accomplish in the third game of the season against Arkansas State, going five for six on PATs (point after touchdown). The kicker would nail his first try through the uprights in the following game against Nebraska on a 34-yard field goal. Badgley held onto the job for the remainder of the season, taking up kickoff duties to go along with placekicking. Badgley made good on 14 of his 18 field goal attempts, and made 34 of his 38 PATs.
In his second season as a ‘Cane, Badgley continued to progress his game to a more efficient level. The kicker took a leap forward, first by setting a then career-best field goal of 48-yards against FAU, then Badgley would one up himself later in the season by making good on a 49-yard FG against Virginia Tech. After having missed multiple attempts from 50 yards out, Badgley exorcised his demons, connecting on a 57-yard FG, tying him with the school record for the longest successful FG. Badgley would then end the regular season tying his own school record with five field goals in a single game against Pittsburgh. When the season reached its conclusion, Michael Badgley set a new school record for most made field goals in a season, making 25 of his 30 field goal attempts, and breaking the 22 made FGs record held by Jon Peattie. It’s hard to believe that Badgley was only named an honorable mention for All-ACC.
With turnover on the coaching staff, every player on the roster had to audition once again to prove themselves to the new men in power. As a kicker, Badgley went about his business with professionalism in the 2016 season. Although it wasn’t a record-setting season as his sophomore year, Badgley made good on 21 of his 26 field goals, as well as making 53 of his 55 on PATs. At the end of the season, Badgley was once again named an honorable mention All-ACC player and was named by the coaches poll as a third-team member of the All-ACC team.
With his confidence growing with each successful make, it appears that the kicker has let his hair down, literally. In his junior year, we saw what was the makings of a glorious hairdo. Badgley may have claim to the best mullet outside of Stillwater, Oklahoma. His glorious locks harken back to the days of Billy Ray Cyrus and David Hasselhoff. The look works for him, oddly enough. Disparage his haircut or lack thereof all you want, the kicker will soon go down as the best leg in program history come season’s end.
Badgley leapt over Carlos Huerta’s record in career made field goals (Huerta, 73) and will surpass Huerta in total points (Huerta, 397). Badgley has 384 total points before Saturday’s game against Virginia. Surely, it would please head coach Mark Richt not to see Badgley smash the record, because that likely means the ‘Canes are settling for three instead of scoring six, but it would be a fitting denouement for a two-star player from New Jersey to walk away as the Hurricanes’ most prestigious placekicker after a season that Miami surpassed expectations—just like their kicker.
State of the U salutes Michael Badgley and the rest of the 2017 Senior class.
IT’S ALWAYS ABOUT THE U!