Belleville West grad Austin Seibert breaks NCAA records at Oklahoma
Austin Seibert is proud of the blue-collar, hard-working approach to life developed with the help of his family in his hometown of Belleville.
It is a lifestyle which has served Seibert well both on and off the football field.
As a senior at Belleville West in 2015, Seibert was ranked as the No. 1 high school punter in the nation by Kohls Kicking and Punting Camps and the No. 1 placekicker in the nation by ESPN.
A former soccer player turned football kicker, Seibert’s national exposure earned him scholarship offers from many of the top college programs in the country. He eventually choose to attend the University of Oklahoma where he would shatter every school placekicking record and break several conference and national records as well.
Earning his college degree in communications in 2018, Seibert is still kicking. And if he has his way, he will be kicking in the National Football League for years to come.
“It’s been the dream and my goal since I started kicking when I was with the (Belleville) Little Devils many years ago. I played several positions when I was growing up, including quarterback,” he said. “But I played soccer and I always had a strong leg. When I started kicking ... I just fell in love with it. I’ve shown what I can do at every level. It doesn’t matter where I go. I have no preference.. I just want the chance to prove I can kick in the NFL.”
Now three months after completing his college career, Seibert will see if he’s impressed the scouts enough to warrant being picked in the NFL draft which began Thursday in Nashville.
Round one was Thursday with rounds 2-3 on Friday. The final four rounds of the seven-round draft are scheduled for Saturday. The 5-foot-9, 213-pound Seibert is listed as the No. 4 ranked kicker in the draft by Walterfootball.com behind Cole Tracy of LSU, John Baron II of San Diego State and Matt Gay of Utah.
Tracy is projected as a fourth-sixth round draft choice while Baron and Gay, are projected as 6-7 round choices. Seibert projects as a seventh-round choice or an undrafted free agent signee.
A total of six kickers (punters, placekickers) were chosen in the NFL draft a year ago.
A starter from his opening game as a freshman to the Sooners loss to top-ranked Alabama in the Orange Bowl last December, Seibert’s career as a college kicker was one of the best in college football history.
The Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year in 2018, Seibert ranks first in school and Big 12 Conference history in points with 499. He also ranks first among FBS kickers in points. and first in FBS history in career extra points (310) and extra point attempts (315). In his 54 games in a Sooners uniform, Seibert connected of 63-of-79 field goal attempts (79.7 percent) with a career best of 51 yards.
In his final two years, Seibert made 34-of-40 attempts.
Also one of the top punters in the Big 12, Seibert averaged 41.7 yards on his 179 college attempts. But of all Seibert’s accomplishments, one stands out to him — Oklahoma won four straight Big 12 Conference championships and advanced to the College Football playoff semifinals three times.
“Honestly, the records are nice, but what counts is that we had a lot of success. I’ve got four (Big 12 championship) rings because we worked hard and won,’’ Seibert said. “Every time I stepped on the football field, I wanted to represent my family, my school and city of Belleville the best I could.’’
Some NFL scouts and insiders have questions about Seibert’s ability to be successful from long range. Seibert made just four of nine field goal attempts from 40-49 yards during his final three years with the Sooners. He was also just 1-of-3 from over 50 yards in his career.
Seibert’s dad, Mark Seibert, has no doubt his son has the leg strength and ability to kick in the NFL.
“Austin has always had a strong leg. He’s kicked 70 yard field goals in practice and his percentage on touchbacks on kickoffs was the best in the nation ,’’ Mark Seibert said.
“I just know how much time and home much work he has put into kicking. From the day he started kicking when he was with the (Devils), he just loved it. I just want to see him get a chance to show what he can do and it doesn’t matter what team. If he gets picked up and given a chance, there’s no doubt in my mind that he can kick in the NFL.’’
Seibert also disputes those who question his ability to make the long-range field goals in the NFL.
“This isn’t meant to sound cocky and no disrespect towards any of the other kickers but I’ve got the strongest leg in the draft,’’ Seibert said. “I’ve led the nation in touchback percentage the past two years,’’ Seibert said. “What would it mean to play in the NFL? Well, I’ve worked a long, long time for a chance.. I just want a chance to get to an NFL camp and show what I can do.
“Also, if you get drafted or sign as a free agent and make an NFL roster, you can make a nice living. For me, it would allow me the chance to help my family out. That’s really what I want to be able to do.’’