In this installment of the Recruit Notebook, we meet a talented player who will fill some big shoes and step into a key role for the Canes: K Bubba Baxa.
After 4 great years of kicking from Michael Badgley, the Miami Hurricanes scoured the country in search of his replacement. After flirting with another player, the Canes found their man in Pasadena (TX) Memorial K Bubba Baxa.
A talented 2-sport athlete — Baxa is an All-District 3B for Memorial’s baseball team — Baxa is as elite a kicking prospect as there is. He has a huge leg, can routinely be found hitting from 60 and even 70 yards, and has the potential to be the best kicker in America.
Miami flirted with National #1 Kicker Evan McPherson early on in this cycle. But, when it became clear that he was going to go elsewhere, Miami quickly went back to the drawing board, identified Baxa as the guy to go get, and that’s exactly what they did.
Special Teams coordinator Todd Hartley needs a special shoutout here, as it was his recruiting work that got Baxa to visit and eventually commit to Miami.
I already said that Baxa is an All-District baseball player, but I didn’t say that he has been an All-District, All-Region, and All-State Football player. He hit 5/9 FGs as a junior, with a long of 49 yards, and 26/26 on extra points. Baxa had another strong season as a senior, but statistics were not available.
On the 247sports composite, Baxa is a 3-star prospect and the #4 K in this class. But since he’s a specialist, if we head to Kohl’s Kicking — the industry leaders in training and evaluation for kickers, punters, and long snappers — we see they have Baxa ranked as the #2 K in this class (and he was #1 on Kohl’s Kicking’s list for a large portion of this cycle).
Baxa committed to Miami over offers from Army and Baylor.
Baxa as a player
The main thing you notice about Baxa right off the bat is his huge leg. He’s been known to hit routinely from 60 yards, as you can see in the tweet below.
How about @_bubbabaxa20 Nails 60 yard ET in ore-game warm up. @PMHSMavericks vs @dpisdathletics Live 7p on. @KUBE57 pic.twitter.com/iSOcjBF1rp— Todd Freed (@ToddFreed57) November 9, 2017
And, for good measure, here’s Baxa hitting from 70 yards out, too.
70 yarder. #storm18 VC: @Ashin_Flys1 pic.twitter.com/0zsXD4q8tn— Greg The Leg (@_bubbabaxa20) July 31, 2017
For the rest of this eval, I turn to Kohl’s Kicking for their expertise:
Baxa most recently competed at the 2017 National Scholarship Camp. He again showed blue-chip talent in July of 2017. He had a couple huge KO's and showed great focus in the FG pressure round. In May he charted two KO's that had over 4.3 seconds of hang-time. He had by far the highest charted KO of the Spring Showcase Camp Tour with a 4.5 second blast. His FG's off the ground have improved to the point where he was able to go kick for kick with the nation's best FG kickers. Baxa is a multi-sport athlete who should continue to develop in college. His upside is outstanding and his "A" ball is different from the rest of the 2018 class. His punting is solid but his overall ability on KO's and FG's is what he should focus on in college. Baxa is very competitive and has either won or been a finalist at multiple Kohl's camps during the FG competition phase of camp. His height off the ground on FG's has improved drastically this spring and he should be in contention for many All-American Teams.
Miami loses record-setting K Michael Badgley to graduation, so a new Kicker is needed to step up and fill that void. As the only scholarship kicker in this class and on this team, that player is going to be Baxa
Chances for a redshirt: 0/10
Plain and simple, Baxa is the kicker now. Get after it, kid.
That’s it for this installment of the Recruit Notebook.