January 29, 2012

Rebels land Alabama all-state kicker

Andy Pappanastos doesn't know just yet whether he'll begin his college career later this year or in January 2013.

The kicker from Montgomery (Trinity), Ala., does, however, know where that career will commence.

Pappanastos, a three-time all-state kicker who broke the Alabama record for most field goals in a career, committed to Ole Miss on Sunday. He will either sign with the Rebels on Wednesday or grayshirt and wait and begin his career in January.

"The visit was great," Pappanastos said. "This was my first time on campus. Basically, we fell in love with it immediately. We had heard great things, and it lived up to that. I'm just excited. I'm glad to have the process over. I know where I'm going and I'll be there."

Pappanastos nailed 17 field goals as a senior. As a junior, he converted a 50-yard field goal. He also recorded touchbacks on 80 percent of his kickoffs. The 5-foot-11, 180-pounder said Ole Miss coaches told him over the weekend they want him ready to handle both duties in 2013. Kicker Bryson Rose and kickoff specialist Andrew Ritter will be seniors at Ole Miss in 2012.

"They want me to grayshirt, but they said that's not set in stone," Pappanastos said. "We'll see. …Kickoffs are something I'm putting extra work into them. Wherever Ole Miss needs me, I have to be ready for them."

Pappanastos, who had offers from several schools, including Western Kentucky, said he would have a ceremony of sorts at his school Wednesday regardless of whether he signed a national letter-of-intent. In other words, his decision is final.

"Honestly, I can't say enough," Pappanastos said. "All of the assistants, it was incredible the relationships they're building with players here. Coach (Hugh) Freeze is a class act. He's a great guy. My parents trust him completely."

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