Ole Miss football’s special teams group is under new leadership and coach Blake Gideon isn’t messing around. On Tuesday night, the Rebels landed a commitment from five-star kicker Caden Costa. In his three years at Mandeville High School, the 5A All-District and All-Parish honoree knocked down three game-winners and hit an in-game long just shy of 50 yards.
Costa is rated the No. 7 leg in the nation per Chris Sailer Kicking and boasts a 4.1 GPA. We spoke with the Skippers kicker about his rise to the top and how Ole Miss became his future. My questions are in bold:
Let’s start at the beginning... Why did you first get into kicking?
It all started in 8th grade. I was a big soccer player my whole life, and my junior high football coach came out to one of my soccer games and saw that I could hit the ball pretty far. He asked me to join the football team to be a kicker and play a little receiver.
I started playing in eighth grade and started my freshman year of high school.
When did you know it was something you could pursue on the next level?
I knew right away during my freshman year. I noticed that I was competing with other people in my district and realized I may have a career if I dedicated myself to getting better.
What does your practice/training routine look like?
I’m a pretty big weight room guy.
275 #ForTheBrand @PatMcAfeeShow pic.twitter.com/5XuvS9w4qY— Caden Costa (@CadenCosta13) April 24, 2020
I train pretty hard with a private coach, and a lot of that stuff is directed toward kicking. At the same time, I’m going out to the field almost every other day to do some drill work and get some kicks in.
It’s form focused when I go to the field and I push myself to be the best overall athlete I can be, which I think really helps a lot.
Do you have a highlight from your kicking career thus far?
I hit a game winner this year against Ponchatoula. That was pretty hype.
Lane Kiffin and Blake Gideon have only been at Ole Miss for about six months. How did the Rebels get on your radar? Can you walk me through the recruiting process?
One of my training coaches is based out of Houston, so he knew coach Gideon and had a good relationship with him. I’ve always been on his radar and when he got to Ole Miss, he reached out to some of my coaches. That’s when our relationship really started.
And then when coach started hitting the recruiting trail, he was letting us know that he expected to have a scholarship available at the kicker position. So, right from the get-go there was a scholarship opportunity. I started sending him my film, he got in touch with all of my top coaches, and that’s when it solidified that I was the top guy.
That was a few months ago, and we stayed in contact while coach Gideon figured out everything on his end. It’s been a weird process, but it worked out. I continued my recruiting process and going to camps, and coach Gideon appreciated the fact that I was still competing even though I knew the offer was coming. I’m glad we got it done.
Can you tell me anything about what Gideon is looking to accomplish? What did his pitch look like in comparison to other schools?
I think the big thing was the opportunity to get in there and play. After Luke Logan graduates, there won’t be a scholarship kicker on the roster. Being able to compete with the guys above me for the starting spot is something that other schools can’t offer right away.
What ultimately sold you on Ole Miss?
The potential for playing time was a big factor, but also the school in general. It’s only five hours from my house and going to Ole Miss is something of a dream. I think it fits my personality well and when the offer came, I was all-in right away.
Have you made it to Oxford yet?I
I actually went there for a soccer camp when I was younger, but I haven’t been for an actual visit for football or anything.
What is your goal for the next 12 months?
I want to keep putting in the same work that I have been doing and not get complacent. I think that’s what will ultimately give me the best chance when I get in there as a freshman.
Kickoff Workout 5/27/20: All 70+ yards and 4.0+ hang going both directions pic.twitter.com/4MEeyacTX3— Caden Costa (@CadenCosta13) May 29, 2020
It’s been working to this point, so I have to keep on the same grind.
Who are some of the kickers you look up to?
I’m from New Orleans, so Wil Lutz is definitely up there. I think he’s clutch and I admire his mindset. Every kick is the same and he’s out there to do a job.
That’s the same mindset I try to keep when I get on the field.
Do you have a go-to pump-up song?
Respect The Game - Meek Mill.
What would you choose if you had to eat one meal for the rest of your life?
If you could ask your four-years-from-now self a question, what would it be?
Did you do everything you could to reach your potential?
Have you been binging any show on Netflix during this down time?
Outer Banks and Ozark.
Is a hot dog a sandwich?
No, it has a closed end on one side.
What would Caden Costa’s slogan be?
Everything happens for a reason.