Los Angeles, CA (U-WIRE) -- Already his first attempt, already his first miss.
It was supposed to be right on the mark for Troy Van Blarcom, a signature on paper. Although it likely won't end up costing him or the USC football team much in the long run, he reacted the way any proud kicker would as he watches a simple extra point just go wide wrong.
"He's extremely disappointed," Ron Van Blarcom, Troy's father, said Tuesday.
He was referring to the way his son took the news that he wouldn't be able to officially make USC his choice on Wednesday's national signing day because he wasn't yet academically cleared.
"He didn't take it well. It's all right. He'll get through it," Van Blarcom said.
To do so, Van Blarcom must "get his grades up, or something ... they haven't processed his transcripts yet," his father said.
USC coach Pete Carroll assured the Van Blarcom family this week everything would work out and Troy would be kicking for - who else? -Troy when the 2005 season gets under way.
But until then, what an interesting footnote: it is a kicker, not a meathead middle linebacker, a too-cool-for-school star receiver or a not so inquisitive quarterback, who is being held up after signing day because of qualifying problems.
Every year, there are at least one or two recruits, if not more, in a college football program who have trouble qualifying.
Every year, they are never a kicker.
Get a closer look at Troy Van Blarcom, however, and it's as decisive as the opening kickoffs he regularly smashed over opposite endzones while at Orange Lutheran High - he is not your average kicker.
He is 6-foot-3, 220 pounds.
He power cleans nearly 300 pounds.
He missed half of last season because of a knee injury he sustained - not in a soccer match, nor in a karate class, not even on a field goal attempt gone spastic.
He was playing receiver for the scout team.
Hey, when you're 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds (Van Blarcom's playing weight last season), you don't get to peruse the sidelines when there is a high school football practice taking place.
"Coach didn't want me to be just standing around and kicking the whole time," said Van Blarcom, who converted seven of his nine field goal attempts, 76 of his 81 extra point attempts and had touchbacks on roughly 65 percent of his kickoffs in two years as the starting kicker at Orange Lutheran.
He's a standout who stands out even more when you throw him in with a handful of other teenage kickers, most of whom can't power clean 300 pounds, or power clean period.
Bigger, stronger and better, Van Blarcom was offered a scholarship by Carroll the same day he first worked out for the USC coach at a high school football camp at Howard Jones Field last April.
As one spectator put it, Van Blarcom "was putting short field goals into the McDonald's pool (behind the field) with ease," not that he didn't already have Carroll's attention.
"He came to a game in my junior year to scout another player," Van Blarcom said.
"On one of my kickoffs, I hit it down toward the back of the opposite end zone. My dad told me after the game, 'You were about five or six feet away from hitting Pete Carroll.'"
Van Blarcom was courted by Arizona State, Alabama and Missouri, among others, after winning former UCLA kicker Chris Sailer's national kicking competition twice.
He became the first USC recruit of the 2005 class to commit orally.
Yes, not that hefty middle linebacker, that flashy receiver or quintessential quarterback. Yes - if your toes can grasp it - the kicker.
"It was cool to be one of the first," Van Blarcom said. "The hardest part was just waiting all year to get there."
And now that wait will be a little longer. The news of Van Blarcom officially becoming eligible is expected to come before the Trojans begin fall camp in August, assuming he holds up his end of the bargain at Orange Lutheran, a private school in Orange with a challenging college prep curriculum.
But maybe this bit of unexpected added pressure is just what was needed to help him prepare for what will be the biggest kickoff of his career.
Because once the grades do go up, once the transcripts are eventually cleared, Van Blarcom will instantly be the frontrunner to become the starting kicker for the No. 1 team in the nation, the two-time defending national champions setting out to make history in 2005 by adding a third.
This is a season in which you don't want to miss - be it on extra points, kickoffs or field goals.
"It's going to be tough to adjust right away; it's a little sooner than I was hoping for," Van Blarcom said.
"But that's fine. In high school, you kickoff from the 40 (yard line), not the 35 like the college game, and the hash marks for field goals are a lot more narrow in college football."
"I've already been working on those types of adjustments," Van Blarcom said.
Of course, size does matter just a little bit in college football, even if Van Blarcom's isn't quite fit to a tee.
"You look at him and think he's a linebacker," said longtime recruiting analyst Greg Biggins, who rated Van Blarcom this season as the nation's No. 1 kicker.
"He's not the little outcast kid who goes out there with an oversized jersey and the one weird-looking facemask with one crossbar running across his helmet."
No, not Van Blarcom.
Now, if he can just make it in, you know one thing will be clear.
(C) 2004 Daily Trojan via U-WIRE