With a record-setting junior season at New Waverly, Adrian Zamudio had already solidified his place as one of the top high school kickers in Texas.
Now, after a prolific performance at the 2020 Kicking World National Showcase in Austin last month, Zamudio has carved out a spot among the best in the country.
120 kickers from 30 different states were selected for the invite-only event, with 90 accepting the invitation. Zamudio, kicking in just his second showcase, won the field goal competition for the Class of 2022 and finished third overall. He was perfect on all attempts from 35 to 55 yards, before coming up a yard short on the 60-yard attempt.
“It was a really cool experience for me to be kicking with some of the best kickers in the country,” he said. “I just had to go out there and do what I've always done in practice.”
Zamudio hopes to use events like this, as well as his senior season at New Waverly, to secure a scholarship at the college level — a goal that came into vision about a year ago.
“That's my dream, and I've been working hard for it,” he said. “I've been working hard in the classroom too and getting my grades right so that I can compete at the next level.”
New Waverly head coach Dean Schaub, who coached a Division I kicker earlier in his career, notes that Zamudio is a special talent that adds a rare advantage for the Bulldogs.
“The other kid I coached ended up going to San Diego State, but Adrian is further along than he was as a junior. I think he'll be one of the best we've seen in this area in a long time. It's very rare to have a good kicker. Usually you just have a guy that can just kick a PAT,” Schaub said.
“We saw Franklin (in last month’s Class 3A, Division II title game against Canadian) ... and they were at 56 yards with a second left on the clock. They threw it deep, but I was joking with my coordinators that we would have Adrian kick it in that situation. It's rare to have it, and it's exciting to have it.”
After missing out on the playoffs during his freshman and sophomore seasons, Zamudio helped the Bulldogs reach the postseason for the first time since 2016 as a junior. He was 30-for-30 on PATs for the season, while connecting on 11-of-13 field goal attempts — including a school-record 51-yarder during a first-round playoff game against Waskom.
“It's been a really good experience,” he said. “We've been through some tough times over the past couple years. Last year we were short by one game to make it to the playoffs, but this year we really had a special team. Everybody bought in and worked hard during the summer so that we could get to the playoffs.”
As the Bulldogs look to build off last fall’s postseason run, Zamudio‘s status as a potential all-state kicker likely won’t go overlooked by opponents.
Regardless of what other teams dial up, however, Schaub plans to fully utilize his special teams star.
“It's another facet of the game that teams have to prepare for,” the coach said. “I'm sure teams are going to do more field goal block next year ... but I know for us, anytime we're in the 30 or 40s, we're going to kick it.”