As we conclude our summer series of the Lowcountry’s top high school football players by position, here's a look at the guys who operate with little fanfare or publicity. That is, until they mess up.
Placekickers, punters and long snappers can go unnoticed in most high school games. Placekickers are in line for some glory if they can convert a game-winning field goal but, for the most part, the attention is paid to the high profile position players who have more of an impact on the game.
Long snappers truly can be forgotten performers, again unless a bad snap results in disaster. Though listed in depth charts and lineups, no one bothers to look up the long snapper in the program until something bad happens.
Summerville High School special teams coach Chris Collins was a long snapper in high school at Myrtle Beach. He has been a member of the national staff for Prokicker.com, working with long snappers from around the country. His son, Cole, graduated from Summerville last year and is at Coastal Carolina preparing for his freshman season.
“It’s a craft and you have to continue to work on it,” said Collins, who is in his fourth season at Summerville. “It’s something where you have to be 100 percent every time. You might get five chances in a game and be great on four of them, but one bad snap can change the entire game. I always tell the kids at these camps, ‘you know you are successful when no one knows your name.’ But there is definitely pressure.”
The Lowcountry is fortunate to have several long snappers who rate high statewide and nationally. In fact, depending on the rating service, the Lowcountry has the top senior, junior and sophomore long snapper in the state.
In terms of snap times — the amount of time it takes for the ball to get from the snapper to the punter — Collins says a “good” time would be about .80 seconds, with the excellent times hovering in the .74 to .77 range. Anything under .70 is considered top-tier talent.
“We are very fortunate to have some of the best in the entire country right here in the Lowcountry,” Collins said.
Beaufort High senior Toby Strawderman ranks as the top senior in the state by prokicker.com with an average snap time under .70 seconds.
Wando junior Mack Gresham is ranked as the top junior by the Chris Rubio service with an average time of 0.68 seconds. Gresham is ranked 18th nationally in the 2021 class.
Gresham does not fit the mold of most snappers. He stands 5-9 and weighs 165 pounds. He also is a starter in the Wando secondary.
“I’m definitely one of the smaller guys,” he said with a laugh. “I love snapping. I love competing and I like the pressure. For me, I know I put in the work to be as good as I can be so I don’t really let the pressure get to me. I just want to make sure I stay under the radar and don’t give the people in the stands a reason to know me."
Oceanside Collegiate sophomore Zack Champagne is ranked tops in the state by Rubio with an average time of .75 seconds. He, like Strawderman at Beaufort, also is the starting center on the offensive line.
Northwood Academy senior Clayton Stancil recently competed at a Prokicker.com camp in Tennessee and came away ranked as the second-best senior snapper in the state behind Strawderman. He also is now ranked 10th nationally and is receiving interest from Division I teams.
As for the guys who kick the football, arguably the top five Lowcountry placekickers include Evan Hayes of Bluffton, Brayden Gregory of Summerville, Trevor Weldon of Hilton Head Prep, Chris Haynes of Oceanside Collegiate and Jarren McCoy of Bishop England.
McCoy also rates as one of the area’s top punters, along with Summerville’s Brody Hopkins, Ashley Ridge’s Blaise Dampier and Nathan Newman of Philip Simmons.
Top 5 long snappers
1. Toby Strawderman, Beaufort, Sr.
2. Clayton Stancil, Northwood Academy, Sr.
3. Mack Gresham, Wando, Jr.
4. Zack Champagne, Oceanside Collegiate, So.
5. Aaron Chase, Summerville, Jr.
Top 5 placekickers
1. Evan Hayes, Bluffton, Sr.
2. Trevor Weldon, Hilton Head Prep, So.
3. Brayden Gregory, Summerville, Jr.
4. Chris Haynes, Oceanside Collegiate, Sr.
5. Jarren McCoy, Bishop England, Sr.
Position breakdown series
May 29 – Quarterbacks
June 5 – Wide receivers
June 12 – Running backs
June 19 – Offensive line
June 26 – Defensive line
July 3 – Linebackers
July 10 – Defensive backs
July 17 – Specialists
July 24 – Lowcountry Preseason Top 10 teams