Last Wednesday, UConn added some depth to their kicking game as placekicker Noah Iden will join the program for training camp as a preferred walk-on (PWO). A native of Rhode Island, he will join redshirt junior Michael Tarbutt as the second placekicker on the roster for the upcoming season. Iden, a former soccer player, recently converted to football over the last two years, but it’s not for a lack of interest in the game.
“I played soccer my whole life when I was growing up,” Iden said over the phone earlier this week. “But I grew up around a lot of football families. Joe Trainer was at URI for awhile [head coach], he’s at Villanova now [defensive coordinator]. He was a very close family friend of ours, so we were pretty much all around football families. They’ve really helped me to give kicking a shot. It’s a good way to get to school. All my friends played football, so my junior year in high school, I switched over, made the change to football and started kicking. It all just kind of clicked, went really well and I just kept pursuing it.”
What drew him to UConn?
“Special teams coordinator Eddie Allen coached with Joe at URI,” he said. “I work with a couple of kicking coaches and one of them I work with in Connecticut sent him my film.”
Allen liked what he saw and brought Iden to campus, a trip that solidified that UConn was the place for him.
“The school itself, it’s a beautiful campus,” he said. “The way it’s laid out is really nice, it’s a big school. I loved the Business school which is what I plan on going into. When I toured with the coaches and went through their football facility, that really helped me make my decision. They have some great facilities over there, all top of the line stuff. It just showed me how dedicated they are to getting their players better in what they want to do. That was something I liked a lot.”
Despite understanding what goes into kicking from his soccer days, there were certainly things technique wise that Iden needed to iron out in order to become consistent in the new role.
“Coming from soccer, kicking, you have a lot of the basics down already,” he confirmed. “Once I switched over to kicking, started working with coaches, I started to make a lot of the technical changes I needed to make, just to be fundamentally sound with the football. I learned a lot about what I needed to do technique wise and what I needed to change from how I kicked before with a soccer ball to a football. The natural motion was already there, but a lot of the technique was worked and honed in over the last two years.”
“Going into my junior year, I started working with a coach in the summer and everything clicked,” he continued. “It was going really well for me right away and I knew that if I worked on it, for sure it was something I could take to a higher level.”
His leg has also gotten stronger, becoming more comfortable from a longer distance as he continues to hone his game.
“My long in-game in school is 48-yards,” he said. “I’d say comfortably, 50 and in right now.”
Despite also punting in high school, Iden expects to serve as a placekicker here at UConn, especially with both Brett Graham and Luke Magliozzi both eligible for another three and four years respectively.
“I did both in high school, but I believe Coach Allen plans on bringing me in just as a kicker,” he confirmed.
Iden will continue training and fine-tuning his technique before he enrolls for the start of training camp, with the first practice on Wednesday, August 1st,
“I’m going to continue working with my coach in Connecticut through the summer,” he said. “We’ve been working every week. Our normal stuff is every weekend and I work at home every day. I plan on continuing that and hopefully getting in touch with the UConn specialists now to see if we can do anything, get together and train over the summer as well.”
Depth and competition at each position is critical and now, with Iden on board, the same holds true for the Huskies at the all-important kick spot.
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