Sade within range of NC State scoring mark
Posted August 12
Updated August 14
Raleigh, N.C. — The routine is the same every time – get a line with an arm gesture, pick a spot in the background, realign the shoulders and double check the spot of the ball. From there, it's all a blur.
North Carolina State kicker Niklas Sade is on the verge of becoming the school’s all-time leading scorer, yet he says he doesn’t even remember his biggest moments – like his 43-yard game-winner over Maryland as a sophomore.
“Usually I don’t remember,” Sade said. “I’m so in the zone that everything around me is just blocked out.”
Sade is coming off a junior campaign in which he recorded 88 points -- good for the sixth best single-season scoring output by any Wolfpack player in history. With a career total of 250 points entering 2014, he now needs just 63 points to pass Ted Brown on the Pack’s all-time career scoring list.
“I’m not thinking about it going into the season,” Sade said. “It’s pretty great I am in a situation I can do something like that for the program, but I am going to go into the season and take it one kick at a time.”
The situation that Sade is in, however, almost wasn’t. The Wakefield High School product was one of just six true freshmen in the nation to start every game as a placekicker and posted a respectable 11-for-16 mark on field goals. Then, he fell victim to the sophomore slump.
In 2012, Sade was just 13 of 23 on field goals, including 5-for-14 on kicks over 38 yards.
With the dismissal of Tom O’Brien following that season and the hiring of Dave Doeren, Sade knew he had to get back on track if he wanted to keep his job.
“With Doeren coming in, I kind of put myself in his shoes,” Sade said. “If I was looking at the stat sheet and saw a kicker with the percentage I had on field goals, I would be worried. I wanted him to trust me, and I wanted my teammates to trust me.”
Sade retained the kicking duties and proceeded to hit his first seven field goals in 2013 – including a career-best four in the opener against Louisiana Tech. Confidence had been restored.
“Just being comfortable knowing that anywhere coach puts me on the field I can make that field goal,” Sade said.
He finished the season 19-for-23 and hit better than 50 percent from over 38 yards en route to earning team MVP honors and becoming a semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award honoring the nation’s top kicker.
“(I take pride in) how much I put on myself after my sophomore season and being able to recover like that and showing how I can play,” Sade said. “I (want to) play to my potential and even work off of that to get better this year.”
That resilient attitude and dedication to hard work has also been noticed by transfer quarterback Jacoby Brissett.
“There’s going to be more than one game that he’s going to have to win the game for us,” Brissett said. “I know just by watching him throughout last year and through the summer, the reliability of Sade, you can’t ask for anything better. I feel like at any time he can change the game for us and pretty much win any game.”
Sade has started all 38 games over the past three seasons and already holds the school record for extra points with 121. His long snapper, Scott Thompson, came to the team with Sade and has started every game of his career, too.
Sade was named to the Lou Groza preseason watch list and hopes to bring that trophy back to the Raleigh.
“I know Marc Primanti won the Lou Groza, and I want to be on the wall with him,” Sade admitted.
If the hardware does come home, he won’t need to remember any one kick, the statuette will remember them for him.