Vernon Hills graduate Szmyt finalist for kicking award at Syracuse
Andre Szmyt is in a rhythm all of his own.
Over the last several weeks the Vernon Hills alum has made himself an integral part of the Syracuse football program, not only emerging as the team’s starting kicker but as one of its most reliable weapons.
Since winning the job five games ago, Szmyt has converted on 13 of 14 field goal attempts and 26 straight extra points.
Szmyt was in even rarer form during the Orangemen's recent 27-23 loss against third-ranked Clemson, connecting on three field goal attempts, including a career-long 51-yarder before 80,000 screaming Tiger fans.
“I just block it out,” Szmyt told syracuse.com. “Walking out there, it’s cool to see all those people. But when it’s time to kick, I block it out.”
Szmyt was recently tabbed as one of three Lou Groza Award “Stars of the Week," during an opening-season stretch where the Orangemen won four in a row and the 6-foot-1, 195-pound freshman converted their first field goal attempt in two seasons.
In all, Szmyt scored 11 of Syracuse’s 23 points against Clemson and over the team’s first five games led the country with a field-goal average of 2.6 per game.
Vernon Hills coach Jason Czarnecki said his entire coaching staff is proudly keeping an eye on Szymt at Syracuse.
“I can say we are all definitely proud of him,” Czarnecki told the Chicago Tribune. “When Andre was kicking field goals against Clemson last week, all the coaches were texting each other with excitement. He’s definitely making the Vernon Hills football program, the high school and the community proud.”