Alexandria High School sophomore Daniel Jackson is getting his season kicked off on the right foot, but his kicking dream started shortly after a Minnesota nightmare.
"2015 (season), I think it was, Blair Walsh missed his game-winning field," said Jackson. "As a kid, I was nine at the time, I thought, 'Oh, I can make that kick.' I tried kicking it. I tried many times, and I couldn't kick it. I kept practicing. I sent a letter to Blair Walsh. He responded, and I got some personalized kicking gear, like a football from him."
Now, seven years later, he kicked the game winner for the Cardinals in Week 2 from 35 yards out.
"That's a once-in-a-lifetime experience," said Alexandria kicking coach, Joel Monroe. "I kicked for 10 years. I never had the opportunity to have one at the buzzer like that. To make it? That's something you remember forever."
Monroe kicked for the Gophers from 2004 to 2008.
"He has a phenomenal work ethic," said Monroe. "He has a nice mix of talent and work ethic, and the right attitude for it. Usually, it's about, 'Okay, Daniel, how many have you kicked? And how many more are you going to kick? Let's pick a number so that we don't overdue it today.'"
Jackson may be following in his coaches footsteps. In June, the soon-to-be sophomore was offered a preferred-walk-on spot by Minnesota Gophers head coach P.J. Fleck.
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