K-M kicker receives Division I interest
For K-M kicker and punter Aaron, Thursday, June 18, was a big day.
That’s because it was the day he received a pair of letters form Nick Goeser, special teams coordinator for North Dakota State University (NDSU).
In one of the letters Goeser wrote, “I think NDSU might be a great fit for you.”
Winkle said receiving those letters from the eight-time Division I FCS National Champions was a high honor.
“It means a lot! It has always been my goal to kick/punt at a top program. I have put in so many hours both on and off the field to reach my goal of kicking at the D1 level, so it is very special to see my hard work pay off,” he said.
However, NDSU is hardly the only collegiate football program that wants him on their team
“I have been in contact with a couple other D1 schools as well as a prestigious private high school. I was offered the opportunity to try out for the IMG Academy football team in Bradenton, Florida. I have received some interest from a couple Ivy League schools. I was invited to attend Princeton’s junior day event this summer. I also had an unofficial visit at Yale that was scheduled in March that was cancelled due to Covid-19,” Winkle said.
Since college visits were cancelled, he and other rising seniors have had their recruiting conducted virtually.
“The virtual recruiting process is very challenging. Due to all college prospect camps being cancelled, it has been very hard to show college coaches what I have to offer in person. College coaches are counting on game film and videos to find recruits, so I constantly have to update my Hudl and recruiting profiles,” he said. “It’s also hard because visits and meeting the coaches is not really an option right now, so it’s hard as a player to see if the campus or the program is a good fit. I like to see all the facilities, meeting the coaches, and get a feel for what it would be like playing for that school.”
However, finding the football program that’s right for him isn’t his only criteria for deciding which college he’ll attend.
“I am looking for a school that has strong academics. I am not just focusing on the football program; I’m also looking to see if the college is a good fit for me. I am looking for a program that has a tight knit group. I think a program that’s tight-knit, like the KoMets football team, is important because it makes the experience very enjoyable,” Winkle said.
In order to have a more enjoyable and successful college football experience, he’s continued to work on his craft.
This year he’s focused on improving his strength and conditioning as well as his consistency.
“I feel I have my technique down, so I have been focusing on strength and flexibility to get more power behind the ball to increase my range,” Winkle said. “On the cold nights, it is tricky to stay consistent because I am standing on the sidelines most of the game so my legs get stiff and often times I cramp.”
Increasing his punting consistency is also one of his goals for his senior season as well as increasing his kickoff range.
“I had some games last year were I would get 55 yards per punt and some games where my average would be much less, so I really want to focus on consistency,” he said. “I want my kickoff to be much better this year. I have been hitting much bigger kickoffs since last season, so I am excited to see improvements this year,” he said.
If Winkle can make those improvements and the rest of the team also takes a step forward, he believes they’ll have another successful season.
“We want to continue the strong K-M football tradition that we have always had,” he said. “We have a strong group of seniors this year that I believe will do something special this season.”