Kyle Loomis has always had a talent for kicking, but it wasn’t until he was in the eighth grade that his leg got put to use on a football field. His uncle, a former player at Washington State, suggested he make the transition from soccer to football.
“They basically set up a football on a tee in our backyard and had me kick it a couple of times. Then I went out in ninth grade and I kicked and punted and it went really well,” Loomis told Portland State Vikings productions.
And now he has been unanimously nominated by The Sports Network as a Football Championship Subdivision Preseason All-American. Last season, Loomis led the nation in punting with a 46.5 average, a PSU record. He received All-American nominations from the Associated Press, the American Football Coaches Association and Walter Camp Football Foundation, among others.
Back in July 2008, these accomplishments would have seemed like a remote possibility. Loomis was not on the football field. He was not in the weight room. From 2008-12 he was in the Army, and before that he hadn’t kicked for PSU, but for Oregon State, where he won the Sun Bowl over Missouri and stifled former Duck and now NFL star kick returner, DeSean Jackson.
It was during his stay in his hometown of Roseburg, Oregon, after being honorably discharged from the Army because of ankle problems, when he realized he still had a talent for punting the football.
He had agreed to help a family friend practice kicking.
“So we started hitting some footballs together, and after a week or so I realized, I can still punt a pretty good football. And I’m pretty sure I can still do it at a pretty high level with a little practice,” Loomis said.
After realizing that the five-year eligibility rule did not apply for those who went on a mission or joined the military, he emailed Nigel Burton who, before becoming the head coach for PSU, coached cornerbacks for the Beavers while Loomis was
Considering that it takes most high school players time to adjust to the speed of collegiate football, what Loomis has accomplished after a seven-year hiatus is more than merely surprising—it’s remarkable.
The Vikings’ first home game will be on September 6 against Western Oregon—and will be held at Hillsboro Stadium to avoid any conflict with the September 7 Timbers game—and one hopes that Loomis’ considerable punting talents won’t need to be utilized too often.