It didn’t take long.
Just thirty minutes after Ole Miss’ 2021 class lost a valuable piece when Oxford, Miss. kicker Jack Tannehill announced he was re-opening his recruitment and backing off his commitment to Lane Kiffin, special teams coach Blake Gideon added another.
Five-star kicker and punter Cade Costa announced on Twitter a short time after that he was ending his recruitment and was verbally committing to the Rebels. The Mandeville, La. native chose Ole Miss over offers from Air Force, Army, Louisiana, Penn, and UConn and heavy interest from Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia Tech, LSU, Louisiana Tech, Memphis, Rice, Rutgers, Tulane, and Virginia Tech. His other suitors may not seem as flashy on the surface, but Costa was/is a rising name in the special teams world and was being recruited by the top schools with a vacancy at the position.
As a three-year starter at Mandeville High School, Costa has made three game-winning field goals for the Skippers as well as being named 5A All-District and All-Parish honors as a junior. The three-sport star and No. 7 kicker and No. 57 punter in the country per Chris Sailer Kicking sports a 4.1 grade point average and a 30 ACT score.
Kicking guru and professional instructor had this to say about Costa:
Caden is a fantastic high school kicking prospect. He is big time athlete with a powerful leg. Caden does a tremendous job on field goal. He hits a pure ball off the ground and has 55+ yard range. His kickoffs are strong. Caden drives the ball 65+ yards with 4.0+ hang time. He is also a capable punter. Caden is a competitor that kicks with great confidence. He has all the tools to take his game to the next level and dominate. I look forward to seeing what the future holds for Caden. He is a fine young man that is always a great pleasure to work with. Caden continues to prove that he is a scholarship pick! Big things ahead. Excellent prospect.
Costa is no slouch and the staff moved quickly to remedy the issue of adding an impactful kicker after losing one. It’s not a five-star defensive tackle, but the dude has a leg on him and then some.
How does he fit in?
When Lane Kiffin took over as head coach in December, it was less than a month after the 2019 Egg Bowl and it was clear that the Rebels needed consistency between the uprights. Luke Logan will finish up his eligibility this fall, making the kicker position wide open for 2021, and prior to Costa’s commitment, it seemed as though Kiffin and his special teams coach Blake Gideon sured up their future by adding five-star Land Gebhart to a kicking room with Matt Luke commit Tannehill.
Tannehill was rated the No. 28 kicker in the nation by Chris Sailer— but it would appear as though the staff has other plans and brought in the No. 7 kicker in the nation instead. As a punter, Costa ranks No. 54 while Tannehill is unranked.
Gideon took a page from Beyonce’s playbook and said “partner, let me upgrade you!”
For starters, Costa stands 6-foot-1, 190 pounds. The average height of the 34 kickers with at least 10 field-goal attempts during the 2017 NFL season was about 6-foot-0. He has a compact, lean-muscled frame and a howitzer for a leg.
Kicking is an art and Costa paints a beautiful picture.
An elite kicker is fluid through contact and lets momentum and technique do all of the work. His approach is smooth, the plant foot stands firm and the right foot swings swiftly through the ball without losing balance. He has the mechanics and the range comes with it.
While his placekicking is one thing, Costa also has serious distance on his kickoffs. At the Hammer Kicking Academy earlier in July, Costa recorded the longest kickoff of the camp at 76.3 yards with a hang time of 4.21 seconds.
In 2019, Ole Miss averaged 55.54 yards per kickoff with a net average (accounting for the distance of opponent returns) of 41.61. As a junior in high school, the newest Rebel commit was booting it well out of the end zone.
Gideon and Kiffin saw the vacancy in their future and filled it with the guy they wanted. Expect Costa to compete for the starting spot from the minute he steps foot on campus.