By TYLER JAMES - Follow me @TJamesNDI
South Bend Tribune
8:25 PM EDT, October 24, 2012
Before every field goal, Michael Farkas and his kicking coach, Nick Kaczynski, have a go-to saying to calm Marian's junior kicker: "It ain't nothing but a thing."
But getting tickets to the Notre Dame game against Stanford as a recruit, that was something.
After reaching out to the Irish coaching staff, Farkas was rewarded with an opportunity to unofficially visit the campus for a game day. A Notre Dame fan himself, Farkas took full advantage of the offer.
"It was incredible. After the win, going on the field it was just electric," Farkas said.
He spotted Doug Flutie, Hines Ward, Jimmy Clausen and Vince Vaughn all nearby before the game -- not quite the company that the 2011 Class 3-A first-team All State kicker was accustomed to.
"Just being part of it was great," Farkas said. "And then singing the song on the field after they won, it's hard to explain how awesome it was."
Farkas, who is preparing with his Marian teammates for Friday's second-round sectional contest against visiting Glenn, has just started to feel out the recruiting process in his junior year. Iowa, Wisconsin and Temple have all been keeping his mail-carrier busy this fall with recruiting information. Earlier in the season, Farkas also made visits to Indiana and Illinois.
He's come a long way from the day in his eighth grade year at South Bend St. Joseph when he was watching his step-brother practice and booted a football back to the team.
The coaches of the St. Joe-St. Anthony combined football team asked Farkas if he'd like to be their kicker. The soccer player obliged and hasn't regretted it since.
Realizing his potential as a punter and a kicker after his sophomore season at Marian, Farkas quit soccer to focus on football. He's worked with former Dallas Cowboy punter Filip Filipovic and now trains with Chris Nendick as part of the Chris Sailer Kicker program.
On Sundays, Farkas travels to Chicago to work with Nendick and he has started to see results. His career long in-game field goal is 40 yards, but he's made a 60-yarder and two 57-yarders in practice.
He's averaging 45 yards per punt this season and has missed just one field goal, a 54-yard attempt in the rain against Mishawaka. His 30-yard field goal in the final minute against Washington marked his first true game-winner.
It doesn't matter if it's punting or kicking, he just wants to boot the ball in college.
"I love them both," Farkas said.
He credits Kaczynski with helping keep him relaxed enough to come through for the Knights. Even if the magic comes from a silly, six-word phrase.
"It helps me stay calm and think of it just like practice," Farkas said. "Saying that gets me settled down and in a good mood."
The improvement of the 6-foot-3, 172-pound kicker has caught the eye of some college coaching staffs, but he'll need to be patient with the recruiting process. D-1 programs don't always offer kickers scholarships, and if they do, it generally comes late in the cycle.
"I've gotten the advice that kickers are usually recruited last at pretty much every college and they're offered last if a college offers kickers," Farkas said. "They tell me to be patient, keep working hard and good things will happen."
Farkas' national signing day will come in February 2014. By then, the Irish could be looking to add a scholarship punter or kicker.
Punter Ben Turk is in his last season of eligibility and senior kicker Nick Tausch has one year of eligibility left if he and the coaching staff want him to return for the 2013 season.
By the 2014 season current starting kicker Kyle Brindza will be entering his senior season. The opportunity could be there, but only time will tell if Farkas' admiration for the Irish develops into a mutual relationship.
Staff writer Tyler James:
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