Michigan State kicking commit Jack Olsen was selected to play in this January’s All-American Bowl on NBC in San Antonio, Texas. Most of the participants in that game were selected on the basis of their film and high school accomplishments.
Olsen won a kicking competition at the FBU Top Gun camp, hitting all of his field goal attempts including one from 52 yards.
Looking at Michigan State’s 12-member recruiting class, a kicker may not get the most publicity, but there are plenty of reasons for Spartan fans to be excited about Olsen’s commitment. First, consider Michigan State’s success in identifying kickers. The last two, Michael Geiger and Matt Coghlin, will be tough acts to follow.
The last time the Spartans took a specialist from Olsen’s high school, Wheaton (Ill.) Warrenville South, it was Dan Conroy, who was a three-year letterwinner at MSU.
Olsen will be a four-year varsity starter.
“I ran a little kid’s camp for the park district back when Jack was probably in seventh grade,” Warrenville South High coach Ron Muhitch said. “It was winter and ran indoors and was mostly for quarterback and wide receivers, but we decided to throw a specialist version and he attended. We knew then that we had something special coming down the pipe. He is a converted soccer player, a really good athlete in other dimensions as well, so it’s been fun to see him develop in our program and have a great year culminating last year with the opportunity from Michigan State.”
The FBU competition was run by notable kicking coach Chris Sailer and the competitors in the field included other kickers with major scholarship offers. The specialized nature of becoming a high-level kicker means recruits at the position often have to branch outside of their high school for training. Olsen has done that.
“I wish I could take credit for all his kicking talent,” Muhitch said. “As a coach, that is not necessarily my strength, so what we do with specialty players is connect them and their parents with avenues that give them the best training and diversity of instruction at an early age.”
With that, Olsen went to Kohl’s Kicking in Wisconsin, Sailer’s events and Kornblue Kicking. At each spot, he was able to learn kickoffs, field goal and even punting.
“He is unique because he attempts to do all three phases,” Muhitch said. “In today’s world, it’s becoming a lost art.”
Olsen is honored to be able to play in a game as prestigious as the All-American Bowl.
But he truly earned it and Muhitch believes no one deserves it more than him.
“He is a great student,” Muhitch said. “He had the luxury of being recruited by Ivy League schools and had SEC schools interested and a who’s who of visits from colleges. He is a great kid. He lives in our neighborhood, so we know the family real well. We know his parents as ex-athletes of our high school, so it’s a great story for us seeing their son be successful and pursue a high academic route.”
Olsen made 22 of 24 field-goal attempts as a junior including eight in one game, an IHSA record.
MSU offers 2021 quarterback
Michigan State extended an offer this week to Highlands Ranch (Colo.) quarterback Jake Rubley, one of the top prospects at his position in the 2021 class.
An Adidas All-American with a 3.9 grade-point average, the 6-foot-3, 190-pound Rubley has 17 scholarship offers including Iowa, Michigan, Northwestern, Penn State and Wisconsin in the Big Ten.
He finished his sophomore season with 1,951 yards and 20 touchdowns through the air with five rushing touchdowns.
Spartans offer 2022 standout
Michigan State continued to offer prospects in Colorado with a scholarship extended to Valor Christian rising sophomore Gavin Sawchuk. A multi-talented track star, Sawchuk played running back, wide receiver, defensive back and returned kicks as a freshman.
Sawchuk (5-11, 170 pounds) has additional offers from Iowa, Utah, Arizona State, Nebraska, Ohio State, Oregon, Penn State, Michigan and more.
He also ran track and posted good times as a sprinter and competed at the New Balance Nationals in March, finishing second in the 60-meter dash.
Allen Trieu covers Midwest football recruiting for 247Sports. He has been featured on the Big Ten Network on its annual Signing Day Show. His Michigan and Michigan State recruiting columns appear weekly at detroitnews.com.