In continuing with highlighting some of the best service academy athletes, here’s a list of some of the best players to grace SA special teams, in no particular order, in the last decade plus.
Before the long snapper was drafted by the New England Patriots in 2015, Cardona was the second Navy freshman to start at long snapper in the program’s history with a 30-21 record. Cardona recorded 10 special teams tackles during his time with the Patriots and he’s appeared in Super Bowls LI and LII, both wins for New England.
Moehring first saw the field as a sophomore, racking up a Navy record 65 extra points that season. He would go on to have one of the most prolific kicking careers of any Midshipman in history, finishing his time in Annapolis as the all-time leader in extra points with 141 and most points ever for a Navy kicker with 222.
Groomed to be one of Navy’s best punters, Beltran began his athletic career in soccer. He was the first plebe to start at Punter since 1992. Beltran averaged 41.8 yards per punt on 157 punts in his Navy career, making him third all-time.
In 2018, Koehnke collected 32 extra points and 11-12 field goals for a team-best of 59 points. Last season, he was 13-13 on field goals and 92.7 percent on extra point attempts for Air Force. Earlier this year, Koehnke reported a meeting with the Indianapolis Colts, ahead of this week’s NFL draft, but regardless of the end result of his NFL career, he’s definitely worth noting on this list.
Though Conant didn’t appear with on the field with the Falcons until his junior year, his stats land in the school’s history books. In his career starts, he connected 81-82 PATs and 30-34 field goals, including a game-winning 39-yard kick against Colorado State. At 88.2 percent for his career, he was named fourth in the academy’s single season record list. He was also a semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award, given to the top Division I kicker, and was the MWC Special Teams Player of the Year his senior season.
Add Austin Cutting to the now growing list of service academy long snappers finding their way on an NFL roster. After snapping for the Falcons his final three years in Colorado Springs, he was selected as a long snapper by the Minnesota Vikings in the 2019 NFL draft.
Strebel falls just behind Conant in all time highest career field goal percentage at Air Force with 85.4 percent, having made 41-48 in his career. However, he never missed a PAT, connecting on a staggering 131-131 in his time at Air Force, and he totaled the most-ever points with 254. He also broke the previous record in the Mountain West for consecutive field goals with 22.
Even as a junior, Warzeka was tallying up a long list of honors. He tops program history as a kickoff returner with a career average 27.9 and was third in Air Force history with 1,006 kickoff return yards. He was also fifth in the MWC in all-purpose yard with a 103.8 average.
As a junior, Hall led the team in rushing with 784 yards was the first halfback to lead the team in rushing since 1994. Hall was named an All-American return specialist. Although he went undrafted in 2008, he was later signed to the Philadelphia Eagles in 2010. During his NFL career with the Eagles, San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs, he totaled 15 receptions for 144 yards and two touchdowns. Hall is currently a wide receivers coach for the Buffalo Bills.
Now, you might notice something could be missing from this list. In a look at the top special teams from service academies in the last 10 years, Army hasn’t had the most explosive performance. Though this is sports and you can feel free to disagree and let us know who’d be your Army pick for this list. In the meantime, check out our other “best of” highlights in service academy athletics, from linebackers and offensive units to wide receivers.