Kyle Fodness, a 5-foot-11, 165-pound kicker from Bemidji, will walk-on at Minnesota.
Kyle Fodness, a 5-foot-11, 165-pound kicker from Bemidji, will walk-on at Minnesota. Fodness and his father recently visited the camps and watched the Gopher summer football camp and toured the campus. Gopher Hole.com caught up with Fodness to learn more about his college choice and expectations with the Gophers.
Fodness has been a multi-sport athlete for the Lumberjacks. He was a Minnesota State High School Soccer Coaches Association Class A All-State first team selection as a senior. Fodness played tennis for his father, Mark, and advanced to the semifinals of the Section 8-2A doubles tournament. The fourth-place section finish was the third highest by a Bemidji doubles team during the past 25 years.
Lumberjacks kicker Jon Henry injured his knee prior to the season, leaving the team scrambling for a replacement. Fodness volunteered and made 27 of 27 extra points and all seven field goal attempts as he helped lead Bemidji to the Class 4A championship game.
Gopher Hole: What was the main reason you decided to be a walk-on at Minnesota?
Kyle Fodness: I’m just excited. I have always been a huge Gopher fan. It runs in the family. It was just a great, exciting opportunity. I love the staff here. I love the program.
Gopher Hole: What have they said about your chance of competing for the kicking job?
Kyle Fodness: They haven’t really said too much and I’m not that worried about that. I just want to come down and get better. I want to get into the program and get started working on my kicking. Just contribute to the program in any way possible when you are on a team like this. That is what you have to look at.
Gopher Hole: When are you planning on starting school?
Kyle Fodness: I am starting school the first day on classes, the day after Labor Day.
Gopher Hole: What do you see as your strengths as a kicker?
Kyle Fodness: I think right now, my strengths is how much I still have room to improve with not kicking a lot. I was kind of new to it and now I am just getting a lot of work with different coaches and looking at film. Improving my strength and flexibility.
Gopher Hole: What things are you working on to continue to improve yourself?
Kyle Fodness: As far as athletics, definitely, flexibility and leg strength. Technique. I kind of self-taught myself a little bit, but now that I have been working with different coaches, I have been able to change my technique and add some more distance.
Gopher Hole: Do you like the pressure of being the kicker because it can be a thankless job that you are often only notice when you don’t do what you are supposed?
Kyle Fodness: I like it. I like being in that pressure situation in soccer and tennis. That is why you play sports is to be in those situations and go for the win. Some you hit and some you don’t, but if you don’t hit it, you just get back up and kick the next one. If you hit it, that’s great. I love being in that position
Gopher Hole: Do you think having that soccer background helps you as a kicker?
Kyle Fodness: Yes. I took penalty kicks for our high school team, which is very similar, in the fact that you are the one up there and everyone is watching. I have been doing that for three years with my high school team. That helps with the mental aspect.
Gopher Hole: What college camps did you get a chance to go to last year?
Kyle Fodness: I went to a Kohl’s kicking camp at Iowa State.
Gopher Hole: What other schools were you hearing from besides Minnesota?
Kyle Fodness: I heard primarily from UND. That was the other one I was looking at going to until I heard from the Gophers and that worked out.
Gopher Hole: When did you start to hear from the Gophers?
Kyle Fodness: Originally in February and then they had period of no contact for recruits and then it heated up in April, which is when everything got finalized.
Gopher Hole: Was that tough not knowing where you are going to college when all your friends are saying that they are going to this school or that school?
Kyle Fodness: A little bit, but I think that I had it set through soccer or football. I had it narrowed down to a list of schools I was comfortable with and I knew that I had options to fall back on, whether it was UND for football or say Concordia with soccer. When the “U” offered, it was just one of those things where I was already secure, but right away, I knew that I wanted to do this.
Gopher Hole: The Gophers have had some kickers who started as a walk-ons and have done well and ended up getting scholarships. Have the Gophers talked to you about that and what you have to do to maybe earn a scholarship down the road?
Kyle Fodness: The great thing about this staff is when you come in, whether you are a scholarship player or a walk-on, different players have said that you can’t tell by the way the players are treated or anything like that. They are great. That will kind of take care of itself and that is how I kind of want to look at it. I am just going to come down and work and kick and work out.
Gopher Hole: Have you thought about a field of study yet?
Kyle Fodness: Looking at history. My dad teaches history at the middle school, so I am looking at that. We’ll see. I am going to go in undecided, but I really like that field of history or education.