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Dumping Them Out: High School Long Snappers

Welcome back to a special late night edition of Dumping Them Out. I thought I might try to start posting these later in the evening. Evening Boob GIFs before bed seem to make more sense than mid day Boob GIFs. Not really. I was just hungover from darts last night and didn't feel like doing shit today.

I was however scrolling Twitter earlier and came across a high school football prospect's account that kind of cracked me up. I've never considered the extremely niche market of football player who focuses solely on long snapping. There are dedicated long snappers out there. So I went down a small rabbit hole of high school long snapping recruits. I feel like I shouldn't post their accounts because they're just high school kids, and I am sort of poking fun at them. Which I really shouldn't be. They're just kids who are dedicated to what they do. And if they can somehow manage to get a scholarship out of it then clearly the work was worth it.

But there is something funny about it. Having "4 STAR LONG SNAPPER" in your Twitter name. Having a whole mess of long snapping highlights. All of which are just the exact same extremely uninteresting thing. "Let's see I wonder what's gonna happen in this one? Oh he snapped it directly to the punter." 

Their tapes from practice are my favorite. Just like the game highlights, they are all exactly the same. "All right here we go. He has the football. He's set up for the snap. I wonder if the ball is going to hit the target in that center of that net set up 10 yards away. Yep, sure did. Great snap." I don't know what these highlight videos even prove. I guess the speed of the snap is important. But it's not like they're posting their bad snaps. Even the shittiest long snappers in the world can cut a highlight tape of perfect snaps that will blend right in with the best of them. At least with skill position players, their highlights can demonstrate specific strengths. There's really nothing to a long snap aside from whether or not it gets to it's intended target. Long snap recruiting could be, and probably should be, done 100% on paper. What percentage of total snaps got to the target, and how quickly did they get there.

I also couldn't help but notice that when they snap the ball into the practice net, there's usually someone standing by it. After the snap, he give the snapper an obligatory, "Good snap", then tosses the ball back to him. But if you have a second guy there, why wouldn't you just be snapping the ball to him? Having someone line up as the punter has to be better game simulation that snapping into the net, right?

I found one particular kid who took a trip across Europe and made it his goal to long snap a football in as many different cool locations as possible. That was actually kinda funny. I'm not sure if the videos were intended to be humorous, but that kid was my favorite.

Do you think high school long snappers are respected by their teammates? Do they consider them a part of the team as much as anyone else? Oftentimes they don't even respect kickers. Kickers just have one job. Kick the damn ball. And half the time they manage to fuck that up. Plus, everybody who has ever played sports thinks deep down that if they had just dedicated their life to kicking footballs from a young age they could easily kick in college."

Long snappers are all of that times 10. I don't want to say that anyone can do it… but honestly I'm pretty sure anyone can do it. Not that it isn't an important part of the game. A team needs a reliable long snapper. It's just so repetitive. They're not even allowed be hit for a full second after the snap. If you're one of these kids out there flexing your long snapping prowess, bragging about being a top recruit in the nation, then you sure as fuck better not miss one. Air mailing a snap for a dedicated long snapper has to be cut wrenching. If you want to make it as a snapper in the pro's, then you're truly only allowed a handful of misses in your career. 

I will say, there are a shocking number of legitimate football camps for long snappers out there. One kid in particular looks like he's been to about 10 of them already this offseason. I guess that's probably what you have to do to get noticed as a long snapper. I can't imagine what there is to do at these camps other than snap the football over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again. I'm sure they work on technique and stuff. Maybe learn some tips and tricks on how to get the ball to the punter or holder faster. How to put the right amount of spin on the ball so it's easily receivable. And I guess they do have to cover punt returns afterward. I'm probably downplaying how much value is put on how quickly the long snapper is able to get down the field, and his ability to make a tackle. That's definitely important too. But still… being a dedicated long snapper is sort of hilarious. Especially if that's the ONLY thing you do. Shoutout to all the long snappers out there. Hopefully I never hear your names on TV some day (because if I do it probably means you just fired a ball into the stands.

Fun Long Snapping + NFL Fact: George Burman first long snapper of all time. He was drafted by the Bears in 1964 in the 15th round. The NFL used to have 17 rounds. I did not know that until today. Imagine trying to cook up a 17 round mock draft. That would be nightmare, but someone out there would do it. Even watching the late rounds of the draft as it is, is painful. 17 rounds is just cruel.