Alabama may have found its kicker for the 2018 season.
Austin Jones, a graduate transfer from Temple, announced Monday night that he will play his final season of college football at Alabama.
Jones was the Owls’ top kicker in 2014, 2015 and to begin 2016. Over that span, he connected on 50-of-67 field goal tries, including 33-of-40 over the last two seasons — including a span of 19 straight.
However, Jones suffered a torn ACL on a kickoff early in the 2016 campaign, which gave Aaron Boumerhi a chance to grab hold of the job for the Owls for the rest of 2016. That carried over into 2017, and Jones opted to pursue other options.
Once he arrives in Tuscaloosa, where he will reportedly be a walk-on, Jones will compete with redshirt freshman Joseph Bulovas, a scholarship player, for the starting kicker role vacated by Andy Pappanastos. Pappanastos, who beat out Bulovas in preseason, connected on 18-of-25 attempts as a senior and infamously hooked what would have been the game-winner in the College Football Playoff title game against Georgia.
Pappanastos’ miss forced overtime, where the Tide won its fifth title in nine years on a touchdown pass from Tua Tagovailoa to DeVonta Smith.
Things have been shaky at times for the Tide at the kicker position in recent years, so Nick Saban clearly wanted some competition if Bulovas isn’t ready to seize the role. Though he played in a lower-pressure environment in the AAC, Jones should be able to provide that.
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