Former WVU Punter Kozlowski Shows Off for NFL Scouts - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Former WVU Punter Kozlowski Shows Off for NFL Scouts

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Photo: WVU Sports Communications Photo: WVU Sports Communications
MORGANTOWN -

Scott Kozlowski is hoping he just kicked his way back into football.

The former West Virginia punter was in Detroit Friday for the NFL Super Regional Combine to show off his legs in an effort to impress the pro scouts in attendance.

Kozlowski averaged 44.4 yards per punt on 64 attempts in his senior season for the Mountaineers, but after that year, he took a break from competitive football.

After graduating from the team, Kozlowski dove right into work toward graduating with a masters in industrial relations. He stayed around the facilities as he worked with WVU's academic counselor, Sandy Cole-DeMent, and continued to lift and train in Morgantown.

His main focus was on his education, but the love of the game had never left.

He tried accompanying fellow WVU punter Gregg Pugnetti to his pro day in 2011, but was told that he couldn't participate in the workouts due to the NFL lockout.

After graduation, he was able to return home and put his full attention back on the field.

"I just finished in August, so I've been back in Florida since then with the nice weather, I've been kicking with my camps, coaching other special teams players who are in high school getting ready for the college level," says Kozlowski.

Eventually he received an invitation to a regional combine held in New Jersey at the New York Jets' facility and finally the opportunity to show off what he had been working on. After performing for a number of NFL representatives, he returned home and waited.

After five days, his phone rang. The eyes that had been on him in New Jersey were apparently impressed, so much so that he was invited to participate in the super regional combine in Detroit.

Only 160 athletes were invited to the super regional and Kozlowski was one of just four punters in attendance. Making it this far was an accomplishment in itself, but his goal was not close to being met.

Stepping inside the 65,000-seat Ford Field, Kozlowski realized just what was at stake with his next few punts. Scouts from all 32 NFL teams were there with him and he would only be given eight opportunities to make an impression.

"I think I did pretty well," Kozlowski said Friday after the drills had ended. "I definitely finished in the top two, but the one guy who kicked just as well as I did already has NFL experience. He's been on and off of teams. He punted at Fresno State when I came out in 2010, he was at Tampa Bay for 13 games and then he kicked for Detroit, so he has some rookie experience."

That punter, Robert Malone, was a first-team All-WAC selection in his senior season before testing the NFL waters. Competing alongside him puts Kozlowski in good company.

The former Mountaineer says he hit multiple punts more than 50 yards with hang-times that topped four and a half seconds while also pinning each of his three pooch punts inside the 5-yard-line.

Scouts on the field do not share their own times with the athletes, though, so he is still uncertain if they saw exactly what he did.

"You don't really get to hang around," he says. "They said the coaches were going back to the hotel to meet and talk about everything because [Sunday] is the wide receivers and stuff."

In the meantime, Kozlowski was sitting in on meetings and taking the infamous Wonderlic Test, which he says he answered 37 of 50 questions on – but again, he was not told his results.

Kozlowski believes in the years since he graduated, he has come a long way as a punter, especially in the sense that NFL teams want to see.

"Oh yeah, 100 percent," Kozlowski says of his improvements since college. "I had to do the roll punts, so everything was to the side and basically a missile kick. Now that I can do my full three-step, which is basically a two [step] and a jab, you get so much more momentum, my flexibility and keeping my leg straight – I finally get to punt my own style versus fitting what Rod [former WVU coach Rich Rodriguez] or Coach Stew's [former WVU coach Bill Stewart] rugby style."

With a masters degree from West Virginia University, Kozlowski has set himself up nicely for a future outside of football, but still, his goal remains a chance to secure or a job playing professionally.

"That's what I'm aiming for," he says. "A whole bunch of family members and friends on Facebook are asking what's going to happen now and I'm like basically it's a waiting game now."

He has already waited two years, but the coming days or weeks as he sits by his phone hoping it rings will feel like an eternity compared to that.

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