From a special teams standpoint, the Penn State recruiting class of 2016 saw the Nittany Lions pick up a critical kicking/punting duo in Alex Barbir and Blake Gillikin, respectively. Both specialists were rated in the Top 10 nationally as placekicker and punter. While we’re all familiar by now with Gillikin’s accomplishments as punter last season, it’s easy to forget about Barbir given that he redshirted as a freshman. So, to re-fresh your memory, here’s a video of him nailing a 71-yard field goal:
On top of that, Alex put 78 of his 85 kickoffs into the end zone his senior year of high school, making him the heir apparent to Joey Julius. While we all certainly hope for Joey to complete his treatment before the season kicks off, we can rest assured that even if Joey is not quite ready to return to the field against Akron on September 2nd, Alex seems more than capable of stepping right in and booming the vast majority of his kicks into the opposing end zone, denying the opponent an opportunity at a potentially momentum-shifting kick return.
Unfortunately, because Alex did not see any game action last year, we don’t have any photos we can (legally) use of him rocking his #90 jersey to celebrate 90 days until Penn State football, so the photo of him above will have to suffice.