The typically-unflappable Sam Sloman had a moment.
After kicking a field goal in front of NFL scouts at Miami’s 2020 Pro Day on Monday, Sloman spun around and saw everyone’s eyes pointed toward him. He realized he’s fighting for a shot at professional football.
“When I turned around after a field goal and all those people were watching me, I was like, ‘That’s really, really sweet,’” Sloman said. “That’s something I never really thought would happen.
“I was like, ‘This is real. This is the real deal right now.’”
He wasn’t nervous, though. He went back to drilling 61-yard field goals that would’ve been good from at least 65.
Nothing out of the ordinary for Sloman, a man who was in the running for the 2019 Lou Groza Award, given annually to the best collegiate kicker in the country.
“I was more nervous for our games this year than I was for this [Pro Day],” Sloman said.
Last season, he converted 26 field goals on 30 attempts and missed only one extra point (34-of-35). He booted kicks in big moments all year, including four in the RedHawks’ Mid-American Conference Championship victory over Central Michigan.
But he lists his longest kick — a 53-yarder to give Miami the lead at Ohio University — as his favorite.
“Into the wind, rivalry game, lot on the line,” Sloman said. “I don’t really remember the kick that much. I just remember it going through and thinking, ‘Thank God.’”
That’s the kick Sloman has advertised to the NFL teams he’s talked to. Prior to Monday, he had met with the New York Jets, Carolina Panthers, Tennessee Titans, Cleveland Browns and Detroit Lions.
“He can do all the things they [NFL teams] need him to do,” Miami head coach Chuck Martin said. “Some guys are great in college, but they don’t have the leg. He’s got the leg. Some people are great in college, but you’ve got to get it up a little quicker than college, because there’s just more length in the NFL and more inside push. Well, he’s done that.”
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Martin recognized the rarity of Sloman, a kicker, being his team’s 2019 Most Valuable Player. Sloman hopes NFL franchises value that, too.
“I’m hoping really good,” Sloman said of his NFL chances. “I’m expecting to hopefully end up somewhere, at least a rookie minicamp opportunity — hopefully, make a team or sign a contract going into summer.”
All he wants is a moment — one opportunity he can boot through the uprights.