Brookwood coach Mark Crews thinks this first-year wonder can play college football

Some coaches are surprised to hear that this is the first year of high school football for Brookwood’s Erick Yang.

Yang is an overnight sensation for the Broncos, rapidly developing into one of the state’s top kickers within the short span of three months.

“Are you serious that he’s never played football before?” asked Central Gwinnett coach Todd Wofford.

“That dude can boom it. He is, by far, the best high school kicker that I’ve ever seen because of his length strength. He attacks the football, and it just explodes off his foot.”

Against Central Gwinnett, Yang booted three kickoffs out of the back of the end zone, including one that sailed through the goalposts.

Yang says he had never seen Brookwood’s football team play in a game — even as a fan — until he was wearing the Broncos uniform last August, kicking off against Walton at the Georgia Dome in the Corky Kell Classic.

“It was pretty exciting and nerve-racking at the same time,” Yang said.

Yang, who is one of the Gwinnett school’s top soccer players, went out for the football team as a senior because he heard they needed a kicker. He says he never really focused on kicking a football until tryouts this past summer.

“I kick a football the same way I kick a soccer ball. I’ve been playing soccer my whole life, so it was an easy thing for me,” Yang said.

Brookwood coach Mark Crews knew he had something special after observing only a few minutes of the tryout. With his future teammates watching on, Yang made six of seven field goals from distances ranging 25 and 45 yards.

“Eric has been kicking the football seriously for about seven to eight weeks,” said Crews in reflection. “In my 35 years of coaching, I’ve never seen someone kick it as far as he does.”

The 5-foot-9, 150-pound Yang blasts 60 percent of his kickoffs into the end zone, with Crews estimating “about a third” of them floating across the end line before they land. He’s 5-of-9 on field goals, including a 45-yard kick against Archer that would have been good from 60. Yang has converted 29 of 30 extra points.

“The kickoffs are huge because we play against teams with some awful good return guys,” Crews said. “That’s a big part of people’s games, and when you can take those returns out of the game, that’s big.”

For Brookwood, it’s double the emotional lift to score a touchdown and then line up for the ensuing kickoff, with Yang leading the way. “When the return guys are waiting for the ball to make a big play, and Erick kicks it 5 to 6 yards past the end line, that’s like an exclamation point on your score,” Crews said.

What is also unique about Yang is that he can kick with either foot. He is naturally right-footed and has made 60-yard field goals in practice. With his left foot, he can make 45-yarders. He has exclusively kicked right-footed in games, with the exception of a kickoff against Central Gwinnett that landed around the 15-yard line.

Crews thinks Yang has enough raw talent to earn a college football scholarship. Yang had dreams of playing soccer at the next level, but is open to opportunities in his new sport.

“I never knew football would be so much fun,” Yang said. “Yes, I’d love to play college football. I just find football more exciting than soccer. There are more people at the games, and I love the adrenaline rush.”

10 comments Add your comment

300

October 13th, 2010
9:53 pm

great kid, good teammate, what a weapon for our squad. Glad to have him on the team. Keep kicking Eric, another valuable piece to the puzzle for the broncos.

Jeff

October 14th, 2010
8:04 am

Great to hear that another kicker is getting the attention they should. If Coach Crews wants to help his chances he needs to kick off a 1″ Tee and block or the ground. Since he is a soccer player the ground should be a natural swing. Use him in pressure situations; practice doesn’t make a recruited kicker. Pressure situations on game day and succeeding! Good luck from a kickers father.

Fan

October 14th, 2010
9:11 am

This kid is unbelievable. He is new to football but his dad has trained him and his brother’s their whole life to kick with left and right. We just never thought he would leave our soccer world. Good luck Erick whoever picks you up will have an amazing athlete with an amazing personality.

Chattahoochee Fan

October 14th, 2010
12:13 pm

Cobb Co. football

October 14th, 2010
1:56 pm

Chattahoochee fan
You could have just given the kid some props instead of talking about your “#1 kicker”. Don’t put too much into being ranked by any one organization(Sailor, Ray Guy, Kohls, Rivals, etc.) because there are a lot of them. There are always kickers out there that are better, and depending on who ranks them there are several #1s. To be ranked by one of these organizations only means that you attended their competitions and performed well, that is it. I am not saying that the Hooch’s kicker is not really good, because he is, just be careful about the whole “#1 in the nation thing”. To put this in perspective there is a Junior kicker at Mceachern who you probably never heard of and is not ranked #1 by anyone, but is arguably as good or better. Go to nickstgermain.com and see if you agree.
On another note just want to tell the Brookwood kicker good job. It is tough to kick on that stage with only a few months of practice. The other guy was right about using at least a one inch block because after the season is over, if you are serious about college, you will have to kick off of the ground at all competitions. Colleges will want to see your kickoffs 70 to 75 with 4.1 to 4.3 hang time (for D-1). You are not far off, I saw your first kick in the dome (68 yards 3.9 hang time) just need to get more consistent. Good luck the rest of the season and its great to see a kicker get some recognition.

Southside Panther

October 15th, 2010
12:40 am

Ryan Nowicki…Starr’s Mill High School kick 95 % of his kicks through the endzone and kicks 45 yard FG routinely. Check him out.

r.t. dewart

October 15th, 2010
1:05 am

attention CMR, sign this dude, red shirt, then… the sky is the limit.

r.t. dewart

October 15th, 2010
1:10 am

Walsh is nearly a perfect kicker… sign, or i should say ‘offer’ this guy a.s.a.p !!! Walsh will be gone before we know it!!! Don’t sleep on it, Move !!!

Holland Bulldog

October 19th, 2010
5:59 am

The dogs should sign this kid. Blair could help him, for one year, then he could tae over in 2012!!!!!

m h

October 4th, 2011
8:19 pm

what happen to him now? what college?