Kicker Cade York could be the next Evan McPherson

If Cade York is called up next week, he believes he will owe Evan McPherson a thank you.

A year ago, McPherson left Florida after his junior season, was drafted in the fifth round by the Bengals, and quickly became one of the NFL’s top clutch kickers in his rookie season.

Not only did McPherson hit 28 of 33 field goals for an 84.8 percent success rate, but he also kicked the Bengals into the Super Bowl with a winner against Kansas City in the AFC Championship game. And the week before, he kicked a 52-yarder on time to give Cincinnati a 19-16 division playoff win. He was 14-to-14 on field goals in the postseason.

This spring, many scouts believe that York, coming out of LSU and following in the footsteps of McPherson, who left college a year early to enter the draft, is the best collegiate kicker in this draft class.

“I’d happily agree,” York told the Post over the phone this week. “I’d like to think I’m pretty confident about being drafted. It’s been a while since a kicker wasn’t drafted. I’ve done everything I could do so far. Now it’s just the waiting and I have to be patient and know it’s out of my hands.

NFL draft
Cade York

“Sometimes you start thinking about where you’re going to be. I wouldn’t call it stress. It’s more the unknown. Because no matter what happens, I will end up playing professional football at the age of 21 and earning money from it. It doesn’t get much better than that.”

York took note of what McPherson accomplished as a rookie last season and it boosted his confidence. He knows McPherson well, having played against him in the SEC and shares the same kicking coach, Jamie Kohl, and has consulted with him on occasion.

“That was awesome,” York said of McPherson’s magical 2021 season. “Honestly, it probably helped increase the draft supply of all future kickers because it showed that when you get a draft pick for a top spend [college] kicker, maybe you can find someone like that to take you to a Super Bowl.”

York finished a stellar career at LSU, where he made 54 of 66 field goal attempts (81.8 percent) and was 164-to-168 on PATs. In 2021, he was 15-for-18 in field goals, had five yards from 50 or more and made all 39 of his PAT attempts. In 2020, he was 18-for-21 and making sixes from 50 yards or more.

Perhaps York’s most memorable moment in college came when he smashed his way into the LSU record books with a game-winning 57-yard field goal in thick fog to defeat the Tigers 37-34 over No. 6 Florida on Dec. 12 lift. 2020

York sounds like a kicker who doesn’t feel pressure. He dismisses the added pressures that come with stepping into the NFL, which is far more cutthroat than college and can be a transient world where job security is fleeting.

“There is additional pressure [more] than college, but you’re playing on the same field with same-sized posts, so it should be the same as college,” he said. “But there is more pressure from outside. I’m pretty confident about handling it. I know it’s probably going to be harder, but I’m not one to shy away from a challenge.

Evan McPherson
USA TODAY sports

“I’m pretty excited about it. Making money as a 21-year-old by kicking a ball seems like a pretty great life to me, and it’s worth dealing with the extra stress that comes with it.”

York is only the fourth kicker since 2000 to drop out of school early for the NFL. The other three are Sebastian Janikowski, who has been kicking in the NFL for nearly two decades, Roberto Aguayo, who has only played in the NFL for a year, and McPherson.

“There wasn’t much more I could do to make a name for myself,” York said of his early outing. “I thought I was the best field goal kicker that came out. I definitely want to have a long career. I know this is a long term goal with a lot to achieve. I want to build a team first and then try to establish myself as one of the better kickers in the league sooner rather than later.” Kicker Cade York could be the next Evan McPherson


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