It's the off-season, and that means it's time to roll out some blogging projects that I've wanted to do for a while but have never had the time to get around to. One of those is an All-Decade Team. We'll be composing a list of our best players at each position over the course of 2001-2010, with the aim of indulging in a bit of nostalgia and helping the summer roll by a little faster. First up: Placekickers.
Carolina played four placekickers over the past ten years: Daniel Weaver (2001-2003), Josh Brown (2004-2005), Ryan Succop (2006-2008), and Spencer Lanning (2009-2010). Here are their respective statistics on field goals:
Weaver: 31-46 (67%, long of 43)
Brown: 20-27 (74%, long of 49)
Succop: 49-69 (71%, long of 55)
Lanning: 34-44 (77%, long of 51)
Weaver is fairly clearly the weakest of the bunch. His percentage and career long are the lowest. He had very little range, and Lou Holtz generally didn't trust him to try anything other than fairly close-range kicks. Brown was an upgrade who kicked for a higher percentage and could occasionally be counted on to nail a longer one. Lanning was also a very solid kicker who was surefooted from close range and also made a long one here and there.
Succup, though, is undoubtedly the best of this group. This shouldn't surprise anyone, considering that Succop has gone on to establish himself in the NFL. I was surprised at first to see that Succop kicked for a lower percentage than Brown and Lanning, but looking at the stats quickly reminded me that we were never afraid to let Succop kick one from long distance, and the much greater number he kicked from the 40-55 range explains his lower percentage.
Brown, though, is probably the owner of the most memorable kick of the bunch:
Gamecocks Beat Vols with Brown's 49 yd. FG (via uscfan720)
Succop's kick to break the tie at Clemson in 2006 was a great one, but there's something about Brown nailing his career long to take a one-point lead in Knoxville that just can't be beat for individual heroics.