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Kicker Jakson Wine recruited by U of L

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By Sam Draut

North Oldham’s Jakson Wine took an unofficial visit to the University of Louisville over the weekend. The senior is ranked by Prokicker as the nation’s top kickoff specialist and fourth-best placekicker in the country.

Wine arrived on campus Saturday morning and spent time visiting the football offices, weight rooms and locker rooms before eating breakfast with other recruits and talking with U of L recruiting coordinators. He talked with Pete Nochta, Louisville’s Director of On-Campus Recruiting, and Dave Boller, Director of High School Relations, among others, before watching Louisville’s noon game against NC State that the Cardinals won 54-13.

“It was awesome, I have been there three times now,” Wine said. “It is really nice and I like it a lot.”

After the game, Wine spoke with Louisville special teams coach Tony Grantham about his season that officially ended last Friday. Grantham told Wine he likes his leg strength and potential as a kickoff specialist.

It is still pending whether Wine will be offered a scholarship or preferred walk-on spot by Louisville.

Next week, Wine will visit the University of Virginia and he has taken trips to Charlotte, Illinois and Western Kentucky.

Wine said his top three schools at this point in the recruiting process are Louisville, Illinois and Western Kentucky. Illinois has already used up a scholarship on another kicker, so Wine could potentially play for the Big-10 school as a preferred walk-on.

While Louisville’s recent success makes the program an attractive destination, Wine has a particular connection with the university as well. Both his father and mother attended U of L. Robby Wine was a Cardinal basketball player for Denny Crum from 1993-96 and Jakson’s mother was a cheerleader.

“I have been a Louisville fan my whole life,” Wine said. “That definitely plays as a factor, but I have to keep my options open because if it doesn’t work out I have to have options at other schools.

“It would be great to go there. It is close to home. It is a great program. It is a good situation if it works out.”

College coaches have been drawn to Wine’s ability to send the ball deep on kickoffs, but he also was North Oldham’s placekicker. While North Oldham struggled to an 0-10 record this season, which afford few chances for Wine to kick field-goals, he believes if given the opportunity, he can make field-goals up to 60-yards.

Wine spent the summer months attending different kicking camps, including the Chris Sailer camp to spread his name around college recruiting circles. He has used videos posted to Twitter and Hudl highlights to spread his ability to coaches as well.

In college, Wine will only kick, but he spent the second half of this year playing wide receiver along with his special teams’ duties. Wine ended the year with over 300 receiving yards and four touchdown catches. Showing his versatility and athleticism to college coaches isn’t the worst thing in the world for Wine.

“I think that is a good thing for them to see,” Wine said. “If it all breaks down, it is nice for them to see that I am athletic enough to make that tackle. It is a good thing to be a football player and be physical.”

As for being the top-rated kickoff specialist in the country, Wine said it was great to be ranked there, but the elite level of 20 or so kickers that he is in is truly a toss-up based more around preference.

Though he would like to make a decision by December, Wine thinks realistically he won’t know where he will go until the end of the school year.