Between the Uprights

Elkins High School kicker/punter waits for an official invitation from a major football program.

By Evan Moore | 10/18/2010

Even though Cory Broughton is one of the most highly recruited football players to ever attend Elkins High School during head coach Greg Hott’s 23 years coaching, he spends most of the time on the sidelines.

As a kicker, Broughton is accustomed to waiting for Hott to call on him, but he is still getting used to the same treatment from college recruiters. ProKicker.com currently ranks Broughton first nationally in the punter/kick-off specialist and kick-off specialist categories while ranking him second as kicker/punter combo. Despite this, he is still waiting for an official offer to play at a Division I college.

“The colleges are looking at kickers, but they pick the kickers last,” Broughton said. “Since they pick the kickers last, I have to wait. I’m still waiting to get a scholarship, or I’m still waiting to go to a Division I school.”

According to HighSchoolSports.net, Broughton has scored 25 points for the Tigers this season, which puts him on track to top the 30 he scored last year. Elkins still has four games left to play during the regular season and is currently 3-3.

Broughton has punted 18 times achieving an average slightly over 35 yards a punt, which is almost identical to last season. His longest effort was a 53-yard punt the first game of the season. No kickoff statistics were available for this season.

Stats Graphic Even though Broughton is still waiting for a football program to give him an official offer to play, he has received attention from several schools including the University of Alabama, Louisiana State University and West Virginia University.

Generally, these larger schools invite him to attend football camps to demonstrate his skills. The camps that Broughton has attended have both energized and humbled him.

“It kind of made me want to get better because I had seen all of these good kickers there,” Broughton said as he recalled the first camp he attended. He didn’t expect a large turnout because the camp was only open to kickers, but he was surprised to find 150 other athletes to compete with.

While attending a Ray Guy Academy kicking camp in Huntington, W.Va., which boasts 18 alumni currently active on NFL teams, Broughton displayed his ability and earned several top rankings among the nation’s best kickers. ProKicker.com bases their rankings only on the player’s performances at these camps.

Aware of Broughton’s potential, Hott moved him to the Varsity squad as a freshman, which is rarely done on the Tiger football team. “The thing I’ve seen in three years is a young man that lacked confidence but has really turned around,” said Hott.

“He’s become a very vocal team leader.”

Hott recalled Broughton’s sophomore year when he was called upon to kick a game-winning field goal as time expired against Buckhannon-Upshur High School. The pressure was multiplied by the long-time rivalry between the schools.

Broughton missed the kick but was redeemed on a second attempt due to a defensive penalty. Broughton made it, to win the game and finish the season on a high note. In the locker room following the game, Hott was surprised to discover that Broughton never believed he was going to make the first kick.

To Hott’s delight, the confidence that Cory lacked as a sophomore is more than accounted for now that he is a senior. Broughton approached him twice this season during games, with guarantees that he would make the kick in situations where he was needed. Cory put three points on the scoreboard in both situations

Although Broughton works hard, he says that his teammates have played a major role in his confidence.

“I also had one I missed,” Broughton said referring to a kick that he missed in overtime that ended a game against North Marion High School in a loss. “I had my teammates by my side to keep me lifted, so I wouldn’t keep my head down and go out there the next game and just do horribly.”

To his teammates’ credit, Cory kicked the game-winner against Buckhannon-Upshur the next week.

Chris Broughton, Cory’s father, has acted as a guiding hand throughout his development as a kicker even though it has been a while since he could keep up with him on the football field.

“When Cory was ten or eleven, I could go out in the backyard and kick with him, hold my own and a couple of times beat him,” said Chris. Things changed during Cory’s middle school years when he could consistently outkick his father.

“I was tickled to death,” said Chris, with a proud smile. Chris now tries to mentally prepare his son for the high-pressure situations that kickers are often confronted with. According to Cory, some of the pressure comes from living in a small town that is eager for him to succeed.

Kicking Graphic “It’s kind of tough because the fans know who I am, and they know I have the potential to go to a Division I school,” said Broughton referring to the Tiger faithful. Even though he feels pressure to live up to the high expectations, Broughton insists he is able to use it as another motivating factor to improve his game.

Broughton also says he wouldn’t have it any other way. “I’m from Elkins and I grew up with these football players since Pop Warner,” said Broughton, thinking back to his days in the local youth football league. “I played with most of them since I was little. We hang out a lot, and I just know that it wouldn’t be the same with another football team.”

Broughton is currently hoping to kick for West Virginia University even though no official offer has been made. He is listed on the Mountaineer’s recruiting prospect list.

Wherever Broughton attends school, his family and neighbors will certainly be there to support him. “I don’t know how many people I’ve had come up to me and say, ‘We want Cory to go to a close school. We want to go watch him kick,’” said Chris Broughton.

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    Cory Broughton has worked hard to develop his skills as a kicker and is now working towards playing at a major football program in college.

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