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For the first time in three seasons, a new guy will be lining up kicks for the Buffalo Bills.
On Thursday, Stephen Hauschka saw a three-year tenure with the club come to an end. Since the team used a draft pick on rookie Tyler Bass (sixth round), it’s not all that shocking.
Still, Bass wasn’t just going to be handed a job. He had to earn it, and Bass did.
Unless the unexpected happens, the Bills will have Bass, at minimal, lining up kicks for them when they open their season against the Jets.. And hopefully much longer than that.
But before he boots any sort of ball in a game for Buffalo, let’s get to know the man behind the foot.
Here’s seven things to know about new Bills kicker Tyler Bass:
How’d we get here?
OK so, the basics to start. Who is Tyler Bass?
Bass found his way to the Bills, as mentioned, by the 2020 NFL Draft. The Bills surprisingly used a late-round pick, a sixth rounder (No. 188 overall) on him. Bass played for Georgia Southern in college.
Entering the weird COVID-19 offseason, Bass had to battle Hauschka for the Bills’ starting placekicking job under these circumstances. Despite no preseason, Bass won. En route to doing so, Thursday was a big day.
During the ninth day of training camp practices, Buffalo took to Bills Stadium and had a scrimmage. Bass did much better.
Hauschka had two kicks… both extra points. He missed one. Bass on the other hand? Not only did he hit both of his extra-point attempts, he went 2-for-3 kicking with makes from 41 and 43 yards while missing from 55 yards out.
Despite that miss, that’s the thing that attracted the Bills to Bass and his skills. He didn’t miss that kick short, he has the big leg, and now the team will hope he just brings the consistency to the pros along with it. During his college career, Bass went 54 of 68 on field-goal attempts (79.41%) with a long of 50 yards during his four-year career.
Grandma knows best
So how did Bass first turn to football? Because of his grandmother, naturally.
Kickers are a different breed. Typically they grow up playing a different game, the one called soccer. Bass was no different. He was kicking around the pitch, but he told The State, a newspaper in his home state of South Carolina, it was his grandma, Rebecca Lusk, who encouraged and even helped out his career.
Via The State:
One of those Bass credited in his journey was his grandma — or “meemaw” — Rebecca Lusk. She encouraged her grandson, who played soccer, to go out for the football team. Lusk also took him to practice when needed, brought him snacks and even retrieved balls that Bass kicked.
Bass said Lusk never missed one of his games at Georgia Southern despite battling breast cancer.
That’s some above and beyond grandparenting. Bass was eventually named the high school kicker of the year, too.
Interesting Heath Farwell twist
So why did the Bills covet Bass enough to draft the kicker? Well… maybe some fate? If you recall, the COVID-19 pandemic hit as the NFL Draft was rolling around. In March, a month prior to the draft in April, the situation got serious for everyone and the NFL.
In a flash, NFL teams recalled their college scouts and coaches traveling to pro days and prospect workouts. But it just so happened that Bills special teams coordinator Heath Farwell was actually still in Georgia and even with pro days being canceled, Farwell was still able to attend Bass’s workout. Not only that, Farwell was the only special teams coordinator that made it there to meet him in person… the two even managed to go out for a meal, a standard protocol pre-draft.
Farwell described earlier this offseason how that was a difference maker.
“I really got an opportunity to understand what he’s about, understand the competitor that he is, the mindset, the toughness, how smart he is as a football player. Not just as a kicker, but the understanding of the game in general.”
The first way you might have got to know Bass was through a few trick shot videos. A good way to see what a guy is made of, right? Well let’s dust them off again.
In December 2018, Bass shared two kicks he made. A 50 yarder and another from 60. The twist? He barely even moved when splitting the posts:
Put in the extra effort
Remember how Josh Allen caught all that attention for getting his teammates together for workouts in Flordia? Well, the Bills specialists did the same and Bass was included.
According to the New York Times, who was going to a feature on the Ferguson brothers, which includes Buffalo’s long snapper Reid Ferguson…Bass, along with then-Bills punter Kaare Vedvik met up in Georgia with Reid and his brother, now-Dolphins long snapper Blake Ferguson, to do some offseason workouts. Bass would drive two hours from South Carolina to get there.
It’s said that Vedvik actually ended up moving closer to the Fergusons place to make it easier, but the article never never indicates that Bass did anything other than just drive two hours to get workouts in during the middle of a pandemic earlier this offseason. Sounds like he made multiple hours-long commutes just to get in some work.
Sounds like Bass will fit into the process and culture that the Bills have touted since Sean McDermott’s arrival, certainly.
Bass won’t get to play in front of NFL fans for a long time. At least, not a full stadium’s worth. Maybe that makes it a good year to be a rookie kicker?
Anyway, Bass is still proven as a clutch guy with all eyes on him. He won the Camellia Bowl for Georgia Southern on a 40-yard field goal as time expired, lifting them to a 23-21 win over Eastern Michigan.
Check it out:
Ronaldo or Messi?
We can’t not round this up without some fun, right?
As mentioned, Bass, a kicker, played soccer. Not a surprise. What is?
Well, let it speak for yourself, look at this freakin’ free kick he curled into the top corner during his high school days:
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