INDIANAPOLIS –Growing up as a soccer player in the football country that is Texas did not last long for Purdue kicker Carson Wiggs.
Late in his high school career, the art of kicking a football outweighed that of a soccer ball and now the chance to play in the NFL awaits the former Boilermaker.
"(My) senior year when I was getting recruited, I realized football was working out for me and I had a chance at the college level," Wiggs said. "The NFL crept into the back of my mind and it got bigger every day."
Upon his arrival in West Lafayette in 2008, Wiggs became Purdue's placekicker from day one and thrived in that role for the last four years.
Wiggs ended his career on a high note in helping Purdue to its first bowl appearance and victory since 2007. The Boilermakers topped Western Michigan, 37-32, in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl.
The Texas native will go down as the most accurate kicker in Purdue history at 73.7 percent (56-of-76) and also has the longest field goal in school history, a 59-yarder.
Before Wiggs attempts to make an NFL roster later this summer, he is busy finishing his degree at Purdue. He is taking 12 credits in the spring semester.
Wiggs is continuing to work with Purdue special teams coach J.B. Gibboney and has been pleased with his progression during the off-season.
"I can tell where the ball is going as soon as I hit it, without even looking up," Wiggs said. "It's all about feel. I kick Monday, Wednesday, Friday and I'm feeling better than I've felt in four years."
This off-season has already been a busy one for Wiggs. He was one of two kickers invited to the Senior Bowl where he made three field goals.
One of the strengths that Wiggs would bring to NFL teams is one of the strongest legs of any kicker in the draft. In addition to the 59-yard boot, he had a 55-yarder, two from 53 yards and a 52-yarder. Those are the five longest field goals in Purdue history. Wiggs even hit a 67-yarder during the Boilermakers' 2011 spring game.
Even with a field goal percentage at the top of the Purdue record book, Wiggs alluded to the fact that it could have been higher if he did not routinely attempt field goals from 50-plus yards and beyond.
The highlight for Wiggs' career at Purdue came during his sophomore season when the Boilermakers shocked perennial Big Ten power Ohio State.
During the 26-18 victory, Wiggs connected on four-of-five field goals, including his favorite kick in a Boilermakers uniform.
"They were ranked (No. 7) and we knocked them off that year," Wiggs said. "I had a couple pressure kicks and a 55-yarder against the wind to put us up by two at halftime. It was a huge momentum swing for us, and I think that's one of the kicks I'll remember the most."
One of the unique aspects that Wiggs has in his repertoire is that he did some situational punting during his career at Purdue. In 2011, he punted 23 times and produced 17 kicks inside the 20-yard line. Additionally, he had 24 touchbacks on 71 kickoffs. The number of touchbacks dramatically increased from his previous three-year total of 19.
It remains to be seen where Wiggs will continue his football career next fall, but the opportunity to hear his name called in late April is something he cherishes.
"It just blows my mind that I could get drafted. Watching those guys in New York get drafted, obviously I'm not going to be there, but just seeing that kind of situation that I have a chance to be in a similar shoes that they are is very exciting."
LOOKING AT THE 2012 NFL DRAFT'S KICKERS/PUNTERS
THE LAST FIVE
The last five kickers/punters drafted by the Colts:
2009: Pat McAfee, P, seventh round, West Virginia
2005: Dave Rayner, K, sixth round, Michigan State
2004: David Kimball, K, seventh round, Penn State
1999: Hunter Smith, P, seventh round, Notre Dame
1998: Tim Vesling, K, twelfth round, Syracuse
THIS YEAR'S DRAFT
An alphabetical list of kickers/punters expected to be selected in the 2012 NFL Draft (*-denotes underclassman):
Brian Anger (P), California
Randy Bullock (K), Texas A&M
Drew Butler (P), Georgia
Derek Dimke (K), Illinois
Eric Folk (K), Washington
Shawn Powell (P), Florida State
Brad Nortman (P), Wisconsin
Brian Stahovich (P), San Diego State
Blair Walsh (K), Georgia
Carson Wiggs (K), Purdue
Note: The content in this story and in the series of draft-eligible players that appears on Colts.com in no way reflects the position of the Indianapolis Colts.