A crowd of almost 70,000 fans were brought to their feet on Sunday as rookie kicker Jake Elliott lined up for a 61-yard field goal, five yards longer than he had ever hit in a game. With the score knotted up at 24-24, the Giants put Odell Beckham Jr. back deep, just in case the kick went short. There was just one second left on the clock, and Doug Pederson gave his young kicker the chance to knock off the Eagles’ division rival. The ball was snapped, and… it’s good!
The talent of Jake Elliott has been evident since the beginning. As a high school junior, he made a 52-yard field goal with no time left to lift his team over their rival and win, 16-14. While he had many colleges to choose from, Elliott chose to become a Memphis Tiger. As a freshman, he was able to hit a 56-yard field goal (his previous career long) on the road at USF. As a sophomore, he hit the fourth-longest field goal in bowl game history. The 54-yard field goal took his team into a second overtime and gave the Tigers the chance to win. They capitalized on that chance, winning the Miami Beach Bowl 55-48 over BYU. Elliott performed well in college, notching a 77.9% in field goals made over all 4 years and making every extra point attempt. He scored a total of 445 points in his collegiate career and had three seasons above 80% field goals made. His worst year was 2014 when he had just a 65.6% rate and thus brought his total percentage down.
With the 153rd pick in the 2017 NFL draft, the Cincinnati Bengals made Elliott’s NFL aspirations come to life. However, this venture didn’t last long. He was waived by the team and quickly signed back on to their practice squad. The Philadelphia Eagles, meanwhile, had their established kicker Caleb Sturgis go down with a quad strain in his kicking leg. Needing someone to hold down the fort while he was recovering, the team contacted the Bengals and made the move to sign Elliott off their practice squad. Will Elliott, who has made just 3 of his 5 field goal attempts this season, still be on the Eagles’ roster when Sturgis is healthy and ready to go? Only time will tell, but one thing is for sure: Elliott has the leg to make any kick in the NFL. When one of your first field goals ever made in the NFL is 3 yards shorter than the longest ever made, you definitely have a strong enough leg. However, he needs to hone the accuracy if he plans to make his living kicking footballs in the NFL.
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