K is for Kicker: Punter anticipates the game defining moment

Charlotte, N.C , sophomore Jesse Roy is a kicker on WKU’s football team. “I knew my senior year of high school that if I wanted to kick in college I had to send my stuff out there,” Roy said.

Maciena Justice

It’s kickoff time at Smith Stadium, and the pressure to deliver a strong punt down the field rides on Jesse Roy.

The Charlotte, N.C., sophomore said the only thing he can hear is his foot hitting the ball because he is so focused.

“Kicking the ball creates a sense of accomplishment,” Jesse said. “Being on the field is a special feeling, because you know everyone is watching you. You’re doing what you do best.”

Jesse has been playing football for six years, the last two being on WKU’s football team as a place kicker/punter. But he got his start playing backyard football as a kid.

“In order to kick off, we would kick the ball using a shoe as a tee,” he said. “As we started getting older, I realized that I was decent at it and could go somewhere with it.”

His sister Hannah Roy, a senior at at Appalachian State University in North Carolina, said Jesse has always played sports, including soccer and hockey.

He played football at Charlotte Catholic High School, which Hannah said was very focused on football.

“Every Friday night we were at the games, even in middle school,” she said.

Hannah said her brother has been good at every sport he has tried.

“Once he decided football, my dad nailed two boards to the swing set so he could stand by the house to practice kicking,” she said.

His hard work paid off during the 2011 football season. He kicked off a total of 47 times, averaging 58 yards per kick, according to the WKU Sports website.

Jesse said he loves kicking when there’s a tie between teams.

“The first moment was last year when I kicked the game winner in overtime at Louisiana-Monroe,” Jesse said. “It was the first time I’ve ever done that.”

He said the win was a redeeming factor for him since he had missed a short kick in the fourth quarter.

Another memorable moment for the place kicker was a big hit on a kickoff during a game against Troy.

“The hit was my favorite because no one realized it was me until I stood up,” he said. “It got everyone on the sideline fired up to see the kicker making a big hit.”

This season, he’s served as backup kicker to Murray freshman Garrett Schwettman. The kickers share jersey number 56.

“None of us will be on the field at the same time, so it won’t matter if we share a number,” Jesse said.

One of his favorite moments off the field was a team dodgeball tournament and cookout over the summer. He is also concentrating on earning his civil engineering degree.

Until graduation, Jesse plans to keep kicking for the win.

“There’s nothing better than stepping on the field on game day,” he said. “It feels good when you watch the ball come down, you listen to the crowd react, and you know you kicked a good ball.”