Lane Kiffin was named head coach on December 7, 2019 and was tasked with rebuilding an Ole Miss program coming off of a 4-8 season. He quickly assembled an impressive coaching staff and focused his efforts on the recruiting trail. Among the new coaches is former Houston Cougars special teams coordinator Blake Gideon who came to Oxford in the same role. In his short time as a Rebel the former Texas Longhorn safety has been instrumental in securing some big-time specialists.
Five-star Jackson Academy kicker Land Gebhart joined the list of commitments on April 9th.
I’m super excited to say that I have committed to The University of Mississippi!!! Thank you @Coach_Gideon for this awesome opportunity! Can’t wait to get to work!#HYDR #HottyToddy #GoRebs pic.twitter.com/HAmpXDv292— Land Gebhart (@landgebhart) April 9, 2020
Gebhart, an MAIS 1st Team All Conference player, hit 7-of-11 field goals (three were blocked) in 2019 hit an in-game career-long of 43 yards and boots his kickoffs 78 yards down field.
Off the field, Gebhart is a class act and was the Student Body President in his senior year. I took some time to get to know Ole Miss’ next leg. My questions are in bold:
Before we dive in, can you explain where the name “Land” comes from?
My full name is Leland Dean Gebhart IV. My grandfather goes by Dean, and my dad goes by Leland. We didn’t want me to have the same name, so we took off the L E and I go by Land.
How did you get started with kicking? Obviously it worked out.
Kicking had always been something I really admired. I always liked watching kickers.
I went out to Hibbett’s in 8th grade and bought a holder to start up as fun hobby. I began kicking for my high school as a freshman, but I got really sick and missed a chunk of that season. When I came back there was already a different kicker in there.
Going into 10th grade I wasn’t sure I wanted to play football at all. I love the game and we didn’t have a kicker that year so I thought ‘well I can still do this.’ I went 4-for-4 in my first game and I realized I might actually have a shot. Later that year, I went to a Brian Jackson kicking camp with a lot of JUCO guys and I ended up winning the camp. That’s when it actually hit me that I could kick on the next level.
About a year later, I went to a Chris Sailer camp and I ranked 32nd in the nation after that. I played my 11th grade year but I got injured and didn’t play as much I would have liked.
Then I went to Sailer’s main camp called ‘Vegas’ with over 500 kickers. I ended up winning and scoring one of the highest point systems they’ve ever had. I left with a five-star ranking.
What did the recruiting process look like? Was it always Ole Miss?
I didn’t have an offer from Ole Miss before the coaching change. I was being recruiting by Mississippi State, Memphis and some other schools. I wasn’t super close with Ole Miss but when the coaching change came, I reached back out. As a kicker, you really do have to look out for yourself. At one point I sent 50 hand-written letters with a drive of film.
My coach at Jackson Academy connected with Derrick Nix once we figured out that he was fully back on the staff, coach Gideon contacted me shortly after and we stayed in touch over the spring. We talked the other day and he offered me a PWO spot. I knew that was it because I really have been an Ole Miss fan my whole life.
Is there a first memory as a Rebel?
I think the first game I went to was that seven or eight overtime game against Arkansas, so I’ve always been here.
Do you have a typical practice routine?
I’ve never practiced at the college level, but in high school, we would run the team period at the beginning— which I didn’t like because I wasn’t warm. I start with some dry leg swings, 5-10 one-steps and then full swings. I’d only add 1 or 2 kickoffs to be sure I didn’t overload or tire out. It’s about being ready when called upon.
Who are some of the guys you look up to in the kicking world?
Justin Tucker, Dan Bailey and Stephen Gostkowski.
Your instagram is plastered with a picture that says “get this money.” Why?
10th grade year we were heading into the playoffs and there was this random meme on Instagram. My holder came up and showed it to me as a funny haha. I said ‘bet’ and posted it as a good luck charm. We ended up winning, and everyone told me to keep posting it so I did for every game of my 11th and 12th grade year. Should we keep the trend going?
Which sports teams do you root for outside of the Rebels?
This may not go over well in Mississippi, so I will give a backstory for each.
I grew up a Minnesota Vikings fan because my dad grew up watching Fran Tarkenton, so I was raised into the Vikings culture. Skol!
He was also a Mets fan, so I took on that fandom as well— and I think they’re going to be a wild card team this season. For basketball, I didn’t really watch any NBA. When I wanted to start getting into the league I literally googled ‘worst team in the NBA.’ The Timberwolves had the worst record and I picked them so nobody can call me a bandwagon fan.
With all the free time in this COVID-19 world... What are you doing to pass the time?
Well, I’m definitely in my video game prime right now. I’ve been playing a lot of Call of Duty: Warzone and Fortnite. I’m also a big baseball player and I’ve been hitting and throwing the ball around just in case our season comes back.
It stinks because I was having a really good year and batting .400 at the break. I was like ‘this is it baby, I’m having my year!’ and then Corona came in and said nah.
I’m sure you’re also binging some Netflix right now. Can you give me a top-3 shows?
The Office is a definitive number one. All American is pretty good, and I like Last Chance U.
If you had to eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Steak. Filet. Medium rare.
What’s the last song bumping in your headphones before game time?
I’m a big jokester so I like to listen to some funny songs to stay loose, but the last song would be Enter Sandman.
What condiments you put on a hot dog?
I’m not a big hot dog guy. Actually, I think the last hot dog I ate was when Ole Miss was in Omaha in 2014. But if I was eating one, probably some chili cheese.
Take your time and think this through... Is a hot dog a sandwich?
No, it’s not. It’s just not a sandwich. You can’t just say ‘yeah, this hot dog is a sandwich’— no. A sandwich is a sandwich and a hot dog is a hot dog.
If you had a slogan for yourself, what would it be?
That’s easy. Get this money.