By Tyler Devine
In addition to signing 24 players to national letters of intent on Wednesday, the Iowa Football team also bolstered its special teams by adding two kickers and a punter as preferred walk-ons for next season.
Kickers Keith Duncan and Caleb Shudak will join the team next season as preferred walk-ons, along with Kansas City punter Jackson Terry. Duncan is from Matthews, N.C., while Shudak is a Council Bluffs native and the son of former Iowa State kicker Jeff Shudak.
Iowa also appears to have added another punter for next season with Ron Coluzzi announcing on Twitter on Thursday that he will play for Iowa next season. A native of Naperville, Ill., Coluzzi played his first three seasons at Central Michigan where he was redsirted in 2012.
Shudak, meanwhile announced on Twitter on in late January that he had committed to the University of Iowa as a walk-on and future Civil Engineering major. He earned second-team all-state accolades for Council Bluffs Lewis Central High School as a senior last fall.
“I just went with what felt right and presented the best opportunity for me,” Shudak said.
Duncan, who passed up scholarship offers from other schools, was impressed by the new Iowa football facility and the personable nature of Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz and his staff during his visit to Iowa City last week.
“I’m really excited I can call the University of Iowa home,” Duncan said. "It was a really tough decision because my other offers were scholarships. But after looking back at my visit I know that I chose the right place. Coach Ferentz and his staff are great people,
they really care for everything involving Iowa. The indoor field, weight room, players lounge and Kinnick Stadium are all top-notch.”
That’s not all that Duncan likes about Iowa.
“My favorite part about Iowa are the die-hard fans," he said. "(They are) the best in college football."
With the graduation of two-year starter Marshall Koehn and no other real experience in the kicking game between redshirt sophomores Mick Ellis and Miguel Recinos, the starting position battle is wide open.
Shudak and Duncan both feel they can compete from day one.
“I’m as confident as ever,” Shudak said. “I’ve worked extremely hard and now being able to focus only on kicking will allow me to get better and better.
“I’m certainly going to give it my all,” Duncan said. "If you are an FBS-level kicker, you have to have some talent. Right now, I’m gaining weight and mass to try and increase my kickoff and field-goal distances.”
Shudak has kicking in his blood. His father kicked for Iowa State from 1987-90 and has been an integral part of Caleb’s success.
“He’s played a huge role,” Shudak said. "He knows how to train and be successful. He’s really helped me develop the mental side of my kicking. He knows what it takes to compete at a high level and he’s been helping me reach that point.”
Shudak has set high goals for himself at the collegiate level and hopes to follow in the footsteps of former Iowa star kickers such as 2002 Lou Groza Award winner Nate Kaeding.
“I want to help the team get to four more bowl games, get my degree in Civil Engineering and at some point in my career win the Lou Groza Award,” Shudak said.
Duncan, too, has high hopes on and off the field.
He helped raised money for children’s cancer research during high school through the “Kick-It for a Kid” program. The proximity of the new UI children’s hospital to the Iowa football facility should be very convenient for Duncan.
“One of my goals is to be perfect on field goals from 50 yards and in and be all-Big Ten," Duncan said. "I also want to get involved with some of the kids at the children’s hospital right across the street.”