Ode to a long snapper

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Too small to be an offensive or defensive lineman at the college level? How about long snapping?

Long snapping, an art form that only recently has begun to be appreciated by college recruiters and NFL scouts, is one way to punch a ticket to college and even the NFL. A center is supposed to be 6-4 and weigh 300 pounds. So if you don't fit the size requirements, if you are good enough to qualify as a long snapper, you could earn a scholarship.

Long snapping is an important part of the game today. For references, ask the Bears' Pat Mannelly, who has made a handsome living in the NFL as a long snapper. It is an art that is only recently has begun to be appreciated by college recruiters and NFL scouts--the ability to snap accurately and swiftly on punts, extra points, field goals and even the spread offense.

Two local high school seniors who could earn college scholarships as long snappers are Jake Lemke of Providence and Pat Hickey of Loyola.

Lemke, a 6-2, 240-pound center, played next to Northwestern-bound Patrick Ward during the past season. He never made a bad snap in two years. Northwestern, Oklahoma, Iowa and Georgia Tech have expressed interest in his talent. He is rated as the sixth best long snapper in the country, according to one survey. He wants to walk on to a college program, prove himself and earn a scholarship.

Hickey, a 6-1, 240-pound defensive lineman, is rated as one of the three best long snappers in the nation. He was an All-Catholic League selection last season. Michigan State and Western Michigan have expressed interest.

Another player who deserves a look from college recruiters is wide receiver Sam Chwarzynski of Class 8A champion Maine South. The 6-1, 193-pound senior was the Hawk's second-leading receiver. He caught 37 passes for 625 yards and 10 touchdowns in a 14-0 season.

I was impressed when I viewed his film. He has good speed and he is an outstanding student (4.0 grade-point average on a 4.0 scale). He isn't a candidate for the Big 10 but he can obtain financial aid.

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I had the pleasure to watch Sam Chwarzynski play a few games this year, he is one of the best overall athletes that I have seen as of lately. He is extremely tough, fast (sub 4.6 40yd.), and a hard worker. His grades are tremendous and I can certainly see him fitting in at any program in the country. Any big ten school would be lucky to have him on their team.

Maine South's team this year was the best that I have seen in a long time. How lucky Maine South was that Chwarzynski decided to transfer, he was the X factor this season. He appears to have great athletic ability and can play either offense or defense at the collegiate level, He reminds me of the McCarthy kid who is playing safety for the fighting irish. I wish him the best of luck in his college decision.

Very well written article. Long snapping is a good way to walk on and contribute to any collegiate program. Both my sons were preferred walk-ons at the University of Illinois as Long Snappers. Tyler was a back up for four years and Tad earned a scholarship last fall and is the starting Long Snapper for the "Fighting Illini".
Thank you for recognizing this important position, no matter what level of football. Patrick Manelly is one of the best and Tad had an opportunity to train with him.

Thanks, again.

Dave Keely
Head Football Coach
Oswego High School

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This page contains a single entry by Second Season published on December 7, 2008 10:43 AM.

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