At this time last year, Henry Darmstadter was kicking field goals for Georgetown.
Now, Darmstadter is the starting kicker for Maryland. But how he got there was not easy.
Darmstadter joined the Terps after graduating from Georgetown this past May with a degree in economics. During his senior year, the two-time all-conference kicker made 27 of 37 field goals, which also featured a long of 49 yards. Although he had a successful career at Georgetown as the all-time leader in field goals made and field goals percentage, Darmstadter wanted more.
“At the end of the season last year, I started putting together a list of schools that I was interested in potentially kicking at for a fifth year.” Darmstadter said.
When he sat down with his head coach, Rob Sgarlata he reached out to a number of schools, including Maryland, in hopes of finding a new team.
With Georgetown head coach Rob Sgarlata and Maryland special teams coordinator Pete Lembo being former teammates at Georgetown, Maryland seemed like a good fit for Darmstadter.
But there was one problem. Maryland already had a commit from Jonathan Doerer, a three-star kicker from Charlotte, NC.
So Darmstadter continued his search for a new home, hoping to find one before graduation.
The Terps were set with Doerer as their kicker for the 2017 recruiting class, until he flipped his commitment from Maryland to Notre Dame in late January.
Soon after this, special teams coach Pete Lembo reached out to Darmstadter, offering the possibility of joining the Terps for the 2017 season.
“I met Coach Durkin and talked to Coach Lembo a lot,” he said. “From there, it sort of evolved. We talked about the school, because for me it was also important to be able to get a decent education out of this. I didn’t want to just come here and play football. I wanted to be able to use this to get myself a master’s to sort of propel my career a bit,” Darmstadter said.
Darmstadter joined the Terps as a walk-on in the summer and battled against last year’s starter Adam Greene and sophomore Mike Shinsky.
This battle was won by Greene, as he appeared in Texas and UCF game, but did not kick well going 1-3.
With Greene’s struggles, Darmstadter had his chance against Minnesota and made the most of it.
In the final three seconds against Minnesota in the first half, Darmstadter nailed a 51-yard field goal, giving Maryland a 17-10 lead. This field goal was clutch and Maryland went onto win the game 31-24.
“I know I had the distance from there. When I hit it, I said, ‘OK, I know I’ve got the distance.’ But I looked up and it looked like it was going straight, and then it hooked a little left, and then it came back straight, so I said, ‘OK, we’re good,’” Darmstadter said.
This 51-yard field goal was a new record for Darmstadter, and his kicking trainer could not have been more proud.
“I’m so excited for him because this is the testimony of if you believe in your heart and you’re willing to do the work the only one that can stop you is you,” kicking trainer Paul Woodside said.
Woodside has known Darmstadter for over 10 years, dating back to when he was a early teenager.
“As a 13-year-old he was beating out college kids in a kicking competition,” Woodside said.
As soon as he saw Darmstadter kick, Darmstadter knew he was going to be good.
As good as he was, Darmstadter was overlooked by a lot of college coaches due to his height and size.
Woodside trained Darmstadter at Before U Kick, an organization that develops kickers and punters.
Alumni from this organization include Maryland alum Nick Novak, pro-kicker Chris Blewitt, and UNC alum Nick Weiler along with many other division one kickers.
“Henry is a first class man and I love doing what I do with athletes,” Woodside said.
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