No matter how tempting a scholarship offer can be, the chance for a high school recruit to play for his favorite college football team can be too precious to pass up. Conroy’s passion for his father’s alma mater pushed him to East Lansing instead of taking Western Michigan’s full ride –- and so far it’s worked out well for both parties. Now NFL scouts are looking at Conroy as a potential kicker for Sundays, if he can continue to show the leg strength and accuracy needed to perform that role.
An all-state kicker from Wheaton, Ill., Conroy also starred on the Warrenville High lacrosse team. The Eagle scout redshirted his first year with MSU, then played four games the following year, connecting on a 43-yard attempt and kicking off nine times (one touchback). He finally received that scholarship before the 2010 season, a year where he earned first-team All-Big Ten honors from league coaches after connecting on 14 of 15 field goal attempts (the 93.3 percent accuracy mark ranked fifth in the FBS). His accuracy dropped in 2011 (17-for-23 on field goals, 73.9 percent), but he made two big kicks in overtime to beat Georgia in the Outback Bowl to show scouts his competitiveness. As a senior, Conroy went 23 of 32 (71.9 percent) and was 25 for 25 on extra points.
Solid leg strength as a field goal kicker, has 50-52 yard range when in rhythm. Has a consistent approach and attacks the ball, usually getting good trajectory and rotation off his foot to send shorter kicks over the goal posts. Does not get rattled by poor snaps, stays with the kick to complete it. Capable of pulling kicks across his body with due to wide college hashmark angles. Most misses are slight, accuracy should be improved with more straight-on kicks at the next level. Competitor who welcomes the chance to make kicks to tie or win games.
Average size and strength for the position. Does not kick off for the Spartans, might not have elite leg strength to consistently prevent returns in the NFL or connect on 55-60 yard field goal attempts. Could speed up the start of his approach a bit, though if he rushes his kicks his trajectory lessens and accuracy suffers greatly.
Conroy lit up the Big Ten as a redshirt sophomore, making 14 of 15 field goal attempts on his way to first-team all-conference honors. The former walk-on (he turned down a scholarship offer from Western Michigan to go to his father’s alma mater) couldn’t quite match that performance in 2011 or 2012, but still has enough leg for teams to give him a look in training camp.
Future Hall of Famer
A once-in-a-generation type prospect who could change how his position is played
An impact player with the ability/intangibles to become a Pro Bowl player. Expect to start immediately except in a unique situation (i.e. behind a veteran starter).
A quality player who will contribute to the team early on and is expected to develop into a starter. A reliable player who brings value to the position.
A prospect with the ability to make team as a backup/role player. Needs to be a special teams contributor at applicable positions. Players in the high range of this category might have long-term potential.
A player with solid measurables, intangibles, college achievements, or a developing skill that warrants an opportunity in an NFL camp. In the right situation, he could earn a place on a 53-man roster, but most likely will be a practice squad player or a camp body.