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January 13, 2012

Virginia punters receive national recognition

ASHLAND, Ky. - The inaugural Ray Guy Prokicker.com High School All-Americans include some of the nation's top punting, kicking, kickoff and long-snapping prospects. Included are two Virginia standout punters!

First-team selection: Thomas Meadows (6-foot, 170, senior), Goochland, Va., Goochland High School, Purdue commit. Averaged 41.2 yards per punt for Goochland High School, the Division II Class A state runner-up. He had 13 punts inside the 20 and allowed only 14 return yards. He was first-team district, first-team region, All-Metro and participated in the Chesapeake Bowl where he punted five times for a 46-yard average.
Meadows credits his early experience with Prokicker.com into making him a top-notch punter.

"They really teach the techniques," Meadows said. "I took a different approach than most kids my age did. Most kids my age went out and kicked the ball. I wanted to learn how to do it the right way. I wanted to establish my form. In my opinion, and in Rick Sang's opinion, I've got some of the best form of anybody my age."

Meadows will compete for the punting, kickoff and placekicking jobs when he gets to Purdue this summer.

"It depends on how I do in the offseason but I could be doing all three (for Purdue in the fall)."

Third-team selection: Mitchell Ludwig (6-foot, 170, junior), Abingdon, Va., Abingdon High School. First-team district and regional punter, second-team kicker; VirginiaPreps.com AA First-Team All-State Punter and VirginiaPreps.com AA underclassmen First Team All-State Punter; set five school kicking and punting records; one state of Virginia record submitted (single game six punts for 50.33 yard average).

Players were selected after much vetting from the Prokicker.com staff, who watched and coached the players during camps, and also by how the players performed on the field during the 2011 high school season.

"Our staff has personally watched these players and worked with these players during camps," said Prokicker.com founder and camp director Rick Sang. "We've seen them and know what they can do."

There were four All-America categories - punting, kicking, long-snapping and kickoff specialist. The last category is believed to be the first of its kind in receiving All-America postseason recognition.

"There are a lot of facets to special teams and we feel like this is an important one that sometimes gets overlooked when it comes to being recognized as the best," Sang said.

Selecting the first All-America team with the Ray Guy Prokicker.com brand was something that Sang wanted to make sure was done as accurately and fairly as possible. Prokicker.com rankings and ratings weighed into the selection process but only because that meant staff members had either worked with or watched these honorees perform.

"We're proud of what these young men have accomplished for their high school teams and look for each one of them to play at the college level," Sang said.

Eight different states were represented: Georgia (two), Texas (two), Florida (two), Kentucky, Virginia (two), Arizona, South Carolina and Arkansas.

Ray Guy, the former All-Pro punter for the Oakland Raiders who is considered the greatest punter in NFL history, was proud to lend his name to the inaugural Ray Guy Prokicker.com High School All-Americans.

"These young men have proven that they're the best of the best," Guy said. "I've seen many of them personally in camps and know the work ethic that goes with being a great kicker or punter. These guys have that something special, that 'it' factor, that separates them from the pack. This is just a steppingstone for many of them. We look for them to do great things at the next level."

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