August 26, 2008

Ritter looking for Ole Miss offer

Andrew Ritter has an offer from Army, but the kicker from Jackson (Jackson Academy), Miss., isn't quite ready to commit to being all he can be just yet.

Instead, Ritter is hoping that a childhood favorite team comes through with a scholarship offer that would enable him to make some of his kicking dreams come true.

Ritter will be in Oxford Saturday night for Ole Miss' season-opener against Memphis, his second trip north on Interstate 55 in the last couple of months. In July, Ritter was one of the standouts at the Rebels' elite camp.

"After the senior camp, I talked to Coach (James) Shibest and Coach (Houston) Nutt and they gave me a preferred walk-on (invitation)," Ritter said. "They gave me a spot on the team. They told me they might give me a scholarship, but they haven't made that decision yet.

"I'm definitely looking for that scholarship. If all I got was that walk-on (invitation) and I didn't have a scholarship from anywhere else, I'd definitely take that walk-on, but I'm looking for a scholarship."

Ritter could help a college program in several ways. He had four kickoffs in a recent game, the shortest being 68 yards and the longest 77. Last season, Ritter was 3-for-6 on field goal attempts, with a long of 47. Two of his misses came from 55 yards out.

"I might be able to develop into a punter, also, but I'm definitely a better kicker than a punter," Ritter said. "I worked pretty hard this summer on getting more distance," Ritter said. "I know with them moving the college (kickoff) line back to the 30, if I wanted to kick in college, I needed to work on my distance. I've really worked hard in the weight room and worked hard on my form.

"I've really worked on my accuracy. Last year, I was playing both ways and I was getting really tired and it caused me to be inconsistent on my field goals. I worked on getting in the best shape possible to be able to have the strength to kick those field goals and it's really paid off. I'm a lot more accurate since last year and I'm a lot more consistent."

In addition to the offer from Army and the invited walk-on invitation from Ole Miss, Ritter is hearing from LSU, Alabama, Vanderbilt and Georgia Tech. Army would have to be considered his favorite right now, as the Cadets have issued a prestigious scholarship offer, but Ritter isn't ready to head off to West Point just yet.

"I'd like to visit and see how much I like it," Ritter said. "I'm definitely not committing right away. That's a pretty huge commitment. I'm really thinking about it and talking it over with my parents and trying to see how the season goes and seeing what comes of it."

What he obviously hopes comes of it is an offer to a major BCS-caliber program. And one school in particular is at clearly at the top of his list.

"(Ole Miss) would probably be my No. 1," Ritter said. "I've grown up with most of my family going to Ole Miss. Also, I would love LSU. I would love to go to Alabama. I would love to go to Vanderbilt. I would really love to go to a school and play. If I were to receive offers from all of those, I would go visit all of them to make sure but right off the top of my head, I think I'd probably say Ole Miss. I'm from Mississippi and that kind of plays a role in it and I have a lot of friends that go there.

"They've struggled the past couple of years; there's no doubt about that. I met the new coaching staff and I was impressed right off the bat. The facilities are unbelievable and I really believe that Coach Nutt is going to turn this program completely around. It seems like the whole coaching staff is tremendous. I was very impressed."

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