Fans of Arizona football can hopefully fondly remember the days of Zendejas, McLaughlin, Peyton and Miller. They were kickers and punters that made Arizona special teams play truly special. Since the graduation of Peyton, who punted and kicked field goals, Arizona has not had a kicker that finished with an overall kicking percentage of above 70, which is about the average point.
From the days of Larry Smith through most of Dick Tomey’s years, Arizona always had a kicker that could make most of his field goal attempts. To top it off, the coaches and the fans could count on them making crucial field goals or coming up with a key booming punt (thank you Josh Miller). For the last four or so years, Arizona football fans have not been able to count on anything from the kickers.
With Danny Baugher starting to come on, and Nicholas Folk still a red shirt freshman with a lot of potential and a booming leg, the future is again bright for the special teams unit at Arizona. Even though the potential is there, special teams are so important to a team that the Arizona coaches went out and got a commitment from one of the best kickers in the state of Texas.
Jason Bondzio, Sr., Place Kicker from Humble High School in Humble, Texas.
Special teams coach Jay Boulware has had his work cut out for him in this his first year as special teams coordinator. He has an on again off again journeyman senior punter, a sophomore punter that is just now starting to kick like he did in high school, a senior place kicker that is at best serviceable and a red shirt freshman place kicker with a booming leg that has missed his only attempted field goal. Instead of waiting for the youth to grow up, Boulware went out, offered, and recieved a commitment from one of the best kickers in the state of Texas, Jason Bondzio.
Bondzio is the only special teams player nominated for the Houston Area Offensive player of the year award this year, which is impressive. Coach Boulware used the current Wildcats kickers’ missed field goals against TCU and UCLA, that would have given Arizona chances to win each game, as a reason for Bondizo to show he is needed at Arizona. “Coach Boulware told me about them missing field goals late in the TCU and UCLA games” said Bondzio.
Bondzio is a great student and committed to Arizona even though he has never been to the state, much less Tucson.
“I have never been to Arizona," Bondizo told me. "My grandparents live in Hobbs, New Mexico and that is a few hours away I guess. I will be making an unofficial visit there on November 8th and I have scheduled my official visit for December 12th,” commented the all-Texas kicker.
Being from Texas, he knows that Arizona has many Texans on their roster and he knows one of them.
“I know Wilrey Fontenot, this is his first year there,” Bondizo said. “He said he really likes it a lot. I have not been there but the atmosphere that the Pac-10 provides is great and Arizona is everything I was looking for in a University. Everyone tells me that I would really like it there. I love to snowboard and I guess I would be like an hour away from the mountains.”
Jason says he is solid and is looking forward to making both of his trips to Tucson in the coming weeks. He would like to major in something in the medical or engineering fields. He has no other offers yet, but he said “about 10-20 schools are sending me letters, and 5 or so are recruiting me hard, calling me every week.”
Hopefully with the addition of Bondzio, Arizona’s special teams can become ‘special’ again.