Former Mustang Aims For Shot At NFL Career
By Ed Pierce // May 29, 2012
Prolific Kicker Continues In Pro Ranks
BREVARD COUNTY • MERRITT ISLAND, FLORIDA – From his very first field goal attempt for Merritt Island High School in 2004, it was apparent that Kyle Dougherty had a golden toe.
Blessed with the ability to kick accurately and for long distances, Dougherty started for three seasons for the Mustangs and has gone on to fashion a remarkable career as a college kicker at Southern Illinois University and now as a professional playing for the Evansville Rage of Arena Football’s Continental Indoor Football League.
Soon the NFL may be beckoning too.
Relatively unknown outside of Florida in high school, Dougherty made fans sit up and take notice for his play in the 2006 Brevard All-Star Prep Football Game.
In that annual matchup of Brevard’s top seniors, he hit field goals of 32 yards, 27 yards and 36 yards, connected on three of four extra point tries and put six of his seven kickoffs into the end zone.
During his playing days for the Mustangs, Dougherty carried a 3.68 grade point average, served as the team’s backup quarterback and made his parents, Dennis and Andrea Dougherty of Merritt Island, very proud.
“I can tell you Kyle was a very dedicated and committed athlete who worked hard at his sport and became very successful kicking a ball,” said Merritt Island High School principal Gary Shiffrin. “He also was a great kid.”
He followed his display at the 2006 Brevard All-Star Game with another impressive performance as the second best kicker in the 2007 One-on-One Kicking Combine and then was second overall in the 2007 National Kicking and Punting Competition Expo in San Antonio, Texas.
For many those achievements would be significant, but Dougherty was just getting started.
In his freshman season kicking of the Southern Illinois University Salukis in 2007, he led the Missouri Valley Conference and was third in the nation with 108 points. He was fourth overall among college kickers in field goals, second in field goal percentage, was fourth overall in point after touchdown percentage and also booted a 44-yard field goal against Illinois State.
In 2008, it became clear that Dougherty was one of the top kickers in America. He topped SIU with 85 points, connected on a 40-yard field goal as time expired to lead the Salukis past Northern Iowa and drilled a 52-yard attempt through the uprights against Illinois State. Then in 2009, Dougherty’s 19 made field goals broke a 26 year-old school record that had stood for 26 years and twice he kicked three field goals in a game that season.
For his senior season at Southern Illinois in 2010, Dougherty was a Division 1 FCS All-American and went on that year to break the school record for field goals in a career with 56.
For his college career from 2007 to 2010, Dougherty racked up 368 points, placing him fourth overall among all players in NCAA football during that time.
Undrafted by the pros in 2011, Dougherty, 23, signed to play for the Evansville Rage of Indiana in the Continental Indoor Football League.
“It is one of the many indoor football leagues under the Arena Football League,” Dougherty said. “We are basically a feeder system into all the higher leagues.”
The Rage wrapped up the 2012 season a few weeks ago with a record of 6-3 and Dougherty has appeared as both a kicker and a backup quarterback.
“The adjustment from playing college football to pro football has been rough,” he said. “It takes a mentally strong individual to do this. I have received countless No’s about playing for teams all over the place. There are so few spots available for kickers and it has really taken a toll on me from all the rejections.”
He praised the Rage for giving him a shot this spring.
“Coach Mike Goodpaster and the Evansville Rage have given me the opportunity to make a name for myself at a professional level and to help me get up to the highest level possible,” Dougherty said. “I have learned a lot in this season and developed into a more well-rounded athlete through the help of Matt Bertsch that has been training me, and my own progression learning how to handle different situations. I am really looking forward to furthering my career in professional sports.”