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Appalachian State's Luke Coll gets some kicking lessons from ASU football players


Appalachian State’s Coll hones kicking craft after televised field goal flop


This past Nov. 25, Appalachian State baseball coaches received a frantic group text.

“Are you watching this?” student assistant Hayden Cross wrote.

“Watching what?” head coach Kermit Smith shot back.

Unbeknownst to Smith, his freshman pitcher, Luke Coll, was on national TV.

Coll, a Michigan native, was back home on Thanksgiving break, and he turned up on ESPN’s College GameDay in Ann Arbor, where he was lining up for a field goal.

Make that kick, Coll was told, and he would get a check for a cool $100,000.

Unfortunately for Coll – who was selected at random for the GameDay promotion prior to the game between No. 2 Ohio State and No. 3 Michigan – his 33-yard field-goal try came up about 28 yards short.


“The ball barely got off the ground,” Coll admitted. “I was pretty nervous, and I was boxed in with fans all around. Plus, I had no experience as a kicker or a soccer player.

“After the kick, my buddies were telling me, ‘You should be on a private jet right now, going on vacation (with your winnings).”

The irony of the story is that Appalachian State and Michigan have history – just ask any college football fan.

It was on Sept. 1, 2007 when App State defeated No. 5 Michigan, 34-32. It was the first time in college football history that an FCS team had ever beaten an FBS Top 25 team. Based on that upset, App State became the first FCS football squad ever to get votes in an Associated Press poll.

Coll, a 6-1, 170-pound righthander who is set to start this season in the bullpen, was just 2 years old when App State shocked the world of college football.

However, growing up in New Boston – just 30 minutes east of the University of Michigan – Coll has heard plenty about the game throughout the years.

“Every time there’s a big upset,” said Coll, who grew up rooting for Notre Dame and not Michigan, “they show App State on SportsCenter.”

Irony, part two: While Coll was at the Michigan-Ohio State game, Smith was on the App State campus, where the Mountaineers’ football team was hosting Georgia Southern. And, at that game, App State just so happened to be honoring Armanti Edwards, the newly inducted College Fooball Hall of Famer quarterback who led that magical win over Michigan 16-plus years ago.

Irony, part three: Coll was wearing an App State jacket when he missed that kick so badly.

Coll was there with five of his buddies — Tyler Toth; Derek Anderson; Wyatt Marentette; Gavin Muzzy; and Aidan Witt – who all gave their friend a well-deserved hard time.

But there’s more to the story.

When Coll returned to the App State campus, Smith was ready.

“I wanted to poke fun at the situation,” said Smith, who is getting ready for his eighth season running the App State program. “That’s how my mind works.”

Smith’s fun-loving mind cooked up a surprise as the cameras were rolling while App State kicker Michael Hughes gave Coll lessons on his craft.

By the end of the session, Coll had successfully made a 33-yard field goal.

“I have a new appreciation for kickers,” Coll said. “I can see how hard it is, especially on live TV.”

Had he been coached before the field goal, Coll said, he might have made the kick.

“I think I could’ve at least gotten the ball in air,” Coll said. “I could have given myself a chance.”

Smith gave Coll credit … sort of.

“His kick (on GameDay) was brutal,” Smith said. “He needed some redemption.

“He did get better (after the lesson). But I don’t know if you can say he was actually good.”

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