'Beast' Nordin's play, demeanor amazes UM teammates

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News
Quinn Nordin already has 11 made field goals through three games this season for Michigan

Ann Arbor — Kickers, for the most part, tend to go unnoticed.

“Not Quinn. Not Quinn,” Michigan defensive end Rashan Gary said quickly after that comment was made Monday.

“Quinn is a beast.”

Quinn is redshirt freshman kicker Quinn Nordin, who was named Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week for his five field goals in Michigan’s 29-13 victory over Air Force last Saturday. That performance tied a program record for most field goals in a game with Mike Gillette (against Minnesota, Nov. 5, 1988), J.D. Carlson (against Illinois, Nov. 10, 1990) and, most recently, K.C. Lopata (against Minnesota, Nov. 8, 2008).

Remy Hamilton holds Michigan’s record for most field goals in a season with 25 in 1994, and Nordin is on a blazing pace. Against Air Force, Nordin made kicks from 26, 29, 35, 36 and 49 yards.

He is 11-for-13 on field-goal attempts this season and has made seven straight field goals since missing from 52 and 32 yards in the season opener against Florida. In that game, Nordin made four field goals, including one from 50 and 55 yards to become the first Michigan player to make two kicks from 50 yards or more in a game.

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That did not come as a surprise to Gary.

“There be times in practice we go field-goal block, and he’s booming 60s -- 60s!” Gary said, repeating it to emphasize Nordin’s leg strength. “And it’s just crazy seeing that. There’s sometimes I have to look back like, ‘Wow.’ Quinn is a beast. I’m happy he’s my kicker.”

Receiver Eddie McDoom said it is difficult to explain Nordin but said he acts like a receiver.

“It’s very funny, when I see kickers, I don’t see them as Quinn,” McDoom said. “Quinn is very…better not explain Quinn. Quinn is Quinn.

“He acts like a receiver. His demeanor is Quinn. Quinn’s a really good friend. Just hanging out with him, I feel like Quinn is not a normal kicker. In my mind, he’s a normal receiver. Mentally, he has that vibe about him, that demeanor.”

Coach Jim Harbaugh, you might recall, went to great lengths to convince Nordin to play for Michigan. While recruiting Nordin, Harbaugh had a sleepover at the kicker’s home and eventually flipped Nordin from his Penn State commitment.

While McDoom prides himself on his hair style, bleached blonde on top, Nordin introduced his “wild thing” haircut after the season opener against Florida. Nordin said he was channeling Charlie Sheen’s character, zany Cleveland Indians pitcher Ricky Vaughn, in “Major League.”

“It’s actually cool. I like the little swag,” Gary said, smiling. “Little kicker gotta have something.”