Michael Barnard grew up playing soccer and watching the hometown Philadelphia Eagles. He oftentimes wondered if he could ever become a professional football player and spent many nights dreaming about wearing a pro uniform.
Realizing the best chance he had to play football was to use his kicking skills, Michael decided to dedicate himself to becoming the best kicker in the country.
Michael practiced his craft and became the kicker at Rancocas Valley Regional High School. He eventually ended up kicking at Farleigh Dickinson where he broke most school records and was Special Teams Player of the Week 5
times in 30 games. However, upon graduation from college, Michael knew that
he wasn’t ready for the NFL and needed to work on his game.
He moved to Ft. Lauderdale for the winters so he could kick 1000 balls,
alone, every week in the warm weather. Every day, Barnard would take a bunch
of footballs to the local field, tee them up, and kick field goals. Over
and over and over again. He also became a regular at the gym to get himself as
fit as possible.
In 2011, after 2 years of training every day and watching the same field
goal kickers signed over and over again in the NFL, Michael thought he was almost ready. He attended the Regional Combine that attracts football players and allows them to compete for a spot in front of scouts from all NFL teams at the Super Regional Combine in Detroit’s Ford Field. Michael advanced at the Regional and wowed the scouts at the Super
Regional a couple of months later, but didn’t get signed or called in for a
tryout by an NFL team. He then attended the Husted/Aguiar Pro Kicking
Combine and did very well. However, he realized that while he performed well, he needed more time to work on his kicking.
He went back home to his family and worked more on his kicking, sometimes
kicking as many as 200 kicks per day, alone at a local field. When the
weather got cold, it was back to Florida in the winter and again living with his
grandmother. No friends, no dating, no partying, just kicking. Michael once again attended the Husted/Aguiar Pro Kicking Combine this past April and excelled once again. He received a rating of 5 stars out of 5 stars. In fact, of Michael Barnard, Husted says
on his bio, “Mike is a big kicker that has demonstrated that he can perform under pressure. Hits a good field goal. Gets great height. Solid on kickoffs.”
Barnard has had a few pro tryouts this year. This past January, he
showcased his talents in Los Angeles in front of an AFL team that saw him go 19
for 19 on field goals. Despite his perfect performance, the head coach signed
another kicker whom he subsequently cut just a few days later. Michael also
had a recent tryout with a CFL team and did very well, so well in fact
that wide receiver Kashif Montgomery, the greatest football player ever to play high school ball in the state of Rhode Island said, “Holy crap, I have never seen a kicker kick the ball so far. He kept kicking the ball through the posts and over the fence. They kept moving him back further and he kept doing it.” Unfortunately, the team signed an
inferior kicker because he was Canadian, and the team can only sign a handful
of “imports” and typically use the waivers on kickers. Michael did make the
decision difficult by teaching himself how to punt in 1 week and averaging
over 70 yards on kickoffs. The kicker the team signed, by comparison, only
averages 50 yards on kickoffs. Expect many of those kicks to be returned
for big yardage.
Barnard received an invitation to the Eagles rookie camp in May and made
the most of his opportunity. He connected on 30 of 32 field goals, many from
well over 50 yards. His kickoffs consistently landed deep in the end zone
with incredible hang time which would make a kick return virtually
Eagles head coach Andy Reid and special teams coach Bobby April were
amazed by the performance. Yet, despite the superior performances at the Elite
Kicking Academy and Eagles rookie camp, Barnard is still a free agent.
The future seems bright for Barnard as long as he can get a shot with an
NFL team sometime this summer. He knows that if given a fair shot, he will
outperform all-comers and win the job from the incumbent. All he needs is a
Visit Michael Barnard for more information.