Red-hot Reid untouchable at ESU practices

EMPORIA, Kan. (WIBW) -- Red means stop. Red means do not tackle.

For the Emporia State Hornets, only quarterbacks wore red - that is until Reid Buckingham showed up on campus.

"It wasn't much of a discussion," ESU head coach Garin Higgins said. "I was like, 'Look, nobody's going to touch this guy. He's going to have the same rules and regulations as our quarterbacks.'"

Buckingham, a senior from Lawrence, has one job: deep snapping.

"I'm 99.5 percent sure that he's the first deep snapper that I've ever had that that's the only job that he did," Higgins said.

He started snapping in his freshman year of high school. From there, he went to camps and continued to improve.

"It started after I went to the doctor for a yearly physical and he pretty much said I was done growing," Buckingham said. "It probably took a good two or three years to really get consistent with it."

Buckingham only plays on extra points, field goals, and punts. You won't notice him unless he makes a mistake.

"I'd say my junior and senior of college was when I really started to embrace the anonymity," Buckingham said. "No one really knows who your are until you mess up, and if no one knows who you are, that means you're doing a good job."

"Special teams is one-third of the game," senior punter Justin Marcha says. "He contributes to almost all of one-third of the game."

His name won't usually show up in the box score (he does have seven career tackles - six assisted, one solo), but his importance can't be overlooked.

"The last four years, having Reid be mister consistent, he's never had a bad snap," special teams coordinator Nathan Linsey said.

It may look simple, but deep snapping is a science.

"As you get better and you try to perfect your craft, it can definitely be very technical," Buckingham said.

He says it should take about 0.7 seconds for the ball to travel from his hands to the punter's.

"Right at about seven-and-a-quarter yards is where I can put the laces up... so [the holder] doesn't have to spin the ball [on a field goal attempt]."

Buckingham is hoping a successful college career could lead to an opportunity in the NFL.

"I'd be lying to you if I told you it wouldn't be extremely exciting to get an opoportunity to play at the next level."

He knows he'll need to improve if he wants to make it.

"[The NFL guys] are putting it in a shoe box every time."

"From the standpoint of just his snapping, he definitely has the potential to do it," Linsey says. "He's going to have to work on the protection side of it, udnerstanding those schemes because it's totally different at that level."

You can find Buckingham wearing No. 48 for the Hornets - but he hopes you barely notice him.