Leigh Tiffin – PK – 6-1 – 198 lbs. – Red Bay, AL – Muscle Shoals HS – 2 Varsity Letters
A lot of Bama fans were prepared to give up on Leigh after the debacle that was the 2006 Arkansas game. Leigh missed kick after kick that would have put Alabama in a position to win the game, ultimately missing an extra point in OT that allowed Arkansas to take the victory. Fortunately the combination of great resolve and mental toughness kept Leigh from giving up, and he ended up having a very good 2007 season.
Leigh’s father Van Tiffin is one of Alabama’s most popular players, best remembered for a 52 yard last second field goal to beat Auburn in 1985.
A 1986 All-American, he is still the Alabama record holder for longest FG (57 yards), PATs (135), and PAT percentage (100%). So while having his father available to lean on for advice likely helped Leigh fight through those 2006 struggles, it also likely added quite a bit of pressure.
Leigh hasn’t quite reached the lofty standards set by his father, and considering he has 2 years left with the Tide it is unfair to expect that of him. But his 2007 season gave Bama fans hope for the future. He made 25 of 34 FG attempts (73.5%) and missed just once from inside of 30 yards. And like his father, he was perfect on PATs.
2008 Prospectus: Another of Bama’s contributing walk-ons, Leigh will, barring injury, be Alabama’s place kicker in 2008. There really isn’t much competition, despite the fact that Alabama has Freshman Corey Smith on as scholarship player.
There is room for Leigh to improve in 2008. He was only 3 of 6 in kicks between 30 and 39 yards, and that percentage needs to go up. His 10 of 15 performance from outside of 40 yards, including 2 of 2 beyond 50, is acceptable. His career long is 51, and it would be nice to see him increase the long end of his range.
The biggest area of improvement for Leigh is kickoffs. With the NCAA moving kickoffs back to the 30 yard line last year, there were not nearly as many touchbacks throughout college football – the intention of the rule. Having a kicker that has the ability to reach the end zone on a consistent basis is a huge weapon. There are other candidates for kickoff duties, though Leigh is probably still Bama’s best bet.
His 111 points scored in 2007 is in the top 5 in school history. If he duplicates that in 2008 he’ll move into the top 5 in career points in Bama history. Whether he is able to accumulate that many points will likely depend on how efficient Bama’s new offense is at capitalizing red zone opportunities into TDs rather than FGs. Last season saw Leigh attempt only 2 more PATs than FGs, and that is a number that will hopefully be much higher in 2008.
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