The kicker position is often a bland one. They march on the field for plays that provide limited excitement and only make up a small fraction of actual action. They are tasked with the most unforgiving job of having to connect in high pressure situations, which, if they screw up, will be scrutinized by many. Miami kicker, Jose Borregales, however, is bringing some flair and confidence to the position with his “kicker swag.” And after a strong 2020 campaign, he could be the first specialist to join an NFL roster tomorrow.
EDGE Jose Borregales Draft Snapshot:
2021 NFL Draft Ranking* - 282nd Overall, PK1
(Position Ranking based on composite average of 50 big boards)
Hand: 9 1⁄2 inch
Arm: 29 inch
Wing: 73 3/8 inch
Pro Day Results:
Long: 60 yards
Hang Time: 4.31, -7 on average kickoff
Borregales’ Pro Day routine was obviously different than other Canes, but Jose said it was not much different than typical warmups and practices. In his Pro Day media session, Borregales noted he’s been working on his kickoffs/hang time, which he stated he has improved on. He also stated teams asked him to kick a 49-yard run-up, as well from each hash mark.
If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Get Them to Join the U
Before Borregales joined the Canes as a graduate transfer in 2020 through the NCAA Transfer Portal, there were a couple of major reasons that put the star kicker on Miami’s radar: 1) Jose’s brother, a then high school senior, had already committed to Miami; and 2) Jose had just played a pivotal role for Florida International University (FIU) in their intra-city 30-24 victory over the U.
Originally from Venezuela, Borregales played high school football at Booker T. Washington in Miami before joining FIU. During his three years kicking for the Panthers, he became the all-time leading scorer with 281 career points by connecting on 50-of-66 field goal attempts, including a 53-yard long, and 131-of-134 PATs. In 2018, Jose was named a Lou Groza Award semi-finalist which is given to the nation’s top kicker.
However, in an intra-city game at Marlins Park between Miami and FIU, Borregales connected on all three FGs at distances of 29, 50, and 53 yards, where the 50-yard boot provided a sparkplug for FIU heading into the half up 13-0. After one of his kicks, he also reportedly put his hands together and threw down the “U” symbol, a gesture used by many opponents in a way to mock the Canes.
The crucial kicks in that game had a special meaning for Borregales: during his recruiting process, he had dreamed of playing for Miami, but the Canes left him on read. So he committed to FIU. About a month after his strong performance against the U when Jose entered the NCAA Transfer Portal, Hurricanes special teams coordinator, Jonathan Patke, sent Borregales a direct message simply containing the eyeballs emoji. The tables had turned as Borregales had now piqued Miami’s interest.
When Borregales joined the Canes, there was a clear and drastic need for Miami at kicker. The Canes kicking efficiency was subpar in 2019 as Bubba Baxa completed 74% of his overall kicks, and just 50% of his field goals. Borregales filled a big gap in the precarious field position situation/hidden yardage situation.
While Jose has put the world on notice with his leg, Borregales initially garnered attention on the national stage from ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt, as the kicker’s presence on the field cannot be missed. Van Pelt described Jose’s “kicker swag,” as he is decked out in an arm sleeve, leg sleeve, and tattoos. Borregales formed an unbreakable bond with Miami’s punter and kickholder, Lou Hedley, who also features his own array of tattoos.
Calling it now: Miami’s punter-kicker combo is the hardest in CFB history... pic.twitter.com/Z5a7Oi8QzB— Jim Weber (@JimMWeber) September 20, 2020
In Miami’s second game of the 2020 season, Borregales nailed his career high 57-yard FG against Louisville, with room to spare. With all his records already collected at FIU, it took him until just his second game to tie Miami’s school record for longest kick. The 57-yarder singlehandedly put Jose’s name on the map for NFL scouts.
The success continued throughout the season as Borregales proved he could do it all by nailing 20-of-22 FGs (90.9% field goal accuracy ranked number one in the NCAA for players who attempted at least 20 field goals) and converted all 37 XPs. The 96.6% kicking efficiency was a marked improvement for Miami. It must also be noted his kicks were pretty much perfect fundamentally, as nearly every attempt went straight through the uprights.
Jose Borregales FROM 57 YARDS— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) September 20, 2020
Further, Borregales’ kick trajectory has been fantastic as he had just one kick blocked during his entire college career - there has not been any criticism by a verified evaluator to believe otherwise. In addition, he was one of the most effective players nationally on kickoffs with a return rate of roughly 25%. The money kicker earned the Lou Groza Award for best kicker in the nation, consensus All-American (First Team), All-ACC (First Team), as well as a spot on the Reese’s Senior Bowl roster.
Any flaws in Borregales’ draft profile would certainly be nitpicking at this point. The only criticisms of Borregales is one out of his control - the fact that he did not kick in front of fans this year nor did he have much exposure to cold weather kicking during college in the warm South Florida climate. Both of which are key features of kicking at the next level.
Borregales will likely have to wait until the later rounds until his name is called. The draft is weird though, especially at special teams positions. Last year, for example, the Patriots took the first kicker in the draft when they selected Justin Rohrwasser from Marshall but ESPN had no footage of him. Rohrwasser has since been cut.
Alternatively, Tyler Bass and Rodrigo Blankenship were selected after Rohrwasser and undrafted, respectively, in 2020, and ended up winning the starting jobs for their teams at the NFL level. Let’s also not forget Roberto Aguayo from FSU going second round (and is now on the Patriots practice squad), or the infamous 17th overall selection by Al Davis of Sebastian Janikowski.
As far as competition at the position, Borregales seems to be in a good spot to be the first kicker selected, but Alex Kessman (Pitt), Riley Patterson (Memphis), and Evan McPherson (Florida) could also be in the mix.
Many were in attendance for Miami’s DEs for Pro Day but Bill Belichick -at his first live pro day of 2021- had a close eye on Miami K, Jose Borregales, who is # 1 kicking prospect in the draft #Patriots often select specialists in the 5th rd incl. Rohrwasser in 20 (since cut) pic.twitter.com/70M2VspHdF— Jake Marcus (@JakeMar81) March 30, 2021
Draft Night Projection: (Day Three)
5th Round to the New England Patriots. The Patriots don’t have a dire need at kicker as veteran, Nick Folk, has been a steady presence at the position. However, they drafted an unknown kicker last year and one of the most popular pictures that came out of the Pro Day was one where Pats’ HC, Bill Belichick, was closely analyzing a Borregales’ attempt. Belichick often utilizes his fifth round slot for specialists and this year will be no different with Borregales being the first specialist off the board.