Welcome to the official countdown to kickoff! Each day through September 4th we’re highlighting a member of the Iowa football team whose number corresponds with the number of days remaining until football returns to Kinnick Stadium. You can find each of the previous players highlighted in the Countdown to Kickoff stream here. You can also find the full Iowa roster here.
Up next is #96, kicker Lucas Amaya!
Lucas Amaya – RS Sophomore
Muskego, WI (Muskego)
6’3”, 200 lbs
2021 Projection: Backup Kicker
Kicker Lucas Amaya is a little known quantity for most Hawkeye fans at this point. The Muskego, Wisconsin native walked on to the Iowa program in 2019 after turning down scholarship offers from South Dakota and Minnesota-Duluth. At the time, Amaya told HawkeyeReport, “The atmosphere and the culture is just amazing. The coaching staff at Iowa makes every player feel like family and that’s what I love about it.”
But Amaya joined behind All-American kicker Keith Duncan, who was the rightful Groza Award winner in 2019 and returned for another very good season in 2020. As such, Amaya took a redshirt year his first year on campus and now enters the 2021 season as a redshirt sophomore with four years of eligibility remaining if he so chooses thanks to the extra COVID year all NCAA athletes are being afforded.
So what is there to know about the Wisconsin native? For starters, he’s a southpaw. The lefty garnered plenty of attention in kicking circles as a prep. He was ranked as the 2nd best kicker in the Midwest for FG kicking by the Kohl’s Kicking Academy. As a high school senior in 2018, he attended the Midwest Showcase Camp where he finished 17th with a big ball score of 104.1.
The Academy noted his strong showing on kickoffs with big balls of 71 and 72 yards respectively in two senior year events with hang times of 3.31 and 3.48 seconds respectively. The Academy also noted Amaya was picking up punting at the time. He likely won’t be asked to do that at Iowa given what we’ve seen from freshman phenom Torey Taylor, but it’s always nice to know the Hawkeyes have another capable body at the most important position in football.
Ultimately, Kohl’s ranked Amaya as the 54th best kicker in 2019 and assigned a 4.5 star rating to him. He was also named a Classic 8 All-Conference kicker twice as a prep and was the Journal Sentinel Special Teams Player of the Week. As a senior, Amaya made eight of 11 field goal attempts with a long of 44 yards.
Entering the 2021 season, Caleb Shudak is the presumed starting kicker. Shudak was Iowa’s kickoff specialist the last two seasons while Duncan was the primary field goal kicker. With Shudak now listed atop the depth chart, it will be interesting to see if Amaya can make a move for handling kickoff duties.
Either way, he’s likely to have a shot to push for a starting role in 2022 when Shudak graduates.