Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

November 16, 2013

Freshman walk-on to handle kicking

Staff reports
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLACKSBURG, Va. — With the dismissal of Cody Journell earlier this week, the Virginia Tech Sports Information Department announced on Friday that the Hokies plan to debut a new kicker today against Maryland.

True freshman Eric Kristensen, a walk-on from Ann Arbor, Mich., who made it through student tryouts in September, will become the 11th true freshman to play this season for the Hokies. Kristensen said the plan was for him to kick extra points and any field goals within 42 yards, and Michael Branthover will handle anything longer than that.

Also a prep soccer player, his career long in a high school game was 46, and he has been successful from 63 yards in practice.

Kristensen originally had offer from Siena Heights, an NCAA school in Michigan, but decided to enroll at Virginia Tech, and inquired about possibly playing for the football team.

“I have some family friends who went to Virginia Tech and I’ve always been interested in the school, mainly for engineering,” Kristensen said. “When I visited down here, I talked to Coach Jim Cavanaugh, who told me straight up that I’d have to make it through student walk-on tryouts by kicking in the stadium in front of Coach (Frank) Beamer.

“They invited me back and I figured I would either handle kickoffs or redshirt. Mitchell Ludwig did such a great job on kickoffs that I thought I’d sit out this year, but now things have changed and I’m ready to roll.”

Kristensen's parents, Daniel and Jo-Anne, booked a last-minute flight and should be in the stands on Saturday.