Patience & Experience Make Jake Pinegar, Barney Amor, & Chris Stoll Potential NFL Contributors
Three significant contributors to Penn State’s special teams unit are moving on to the next level.
Kicker Jake Pinegar, punter Barney Amor, and long snapper Chris Stoll are all pursuing NFL careers with the upcoming NFL Draft. While the nature of their positions makes it unlikely that any of these three will be drafted, it’s worth taking a look at what they’ve done in college and what they could do in the future.
Pinegar hasn’t had the smoothest route through college football. After being a three-year starter, Pinegar lost his job to Jordan Stout in 2021. Still, Stout’s success — and Pinegar’s subsequent failures — seem to have only made Pinegar better.
Pinegar committed to Penn State as part of its recruiting Class of 2018 when he was the No. 13-ranked kicker in his class. With the departure of Tyler Davis before Pinegar arrived, the freshman was able to compete for the starting kicking job. He won.
In his first season with the Nittany Lions, Pinegar immediately showed just how impressive he was. While his field goal percentage didn’t jump off the page at 66.6%, Pinegar nailed 16 field goals and 53 extra points. He was also one of the Big Ten’s most prolific scorers, leading the conference with 101 points that season.
Pinegar continued his role as a starter his sophomore and junior seasons. While his point total never matched that of his freshman year, Pinegar recorded 11 field goals and 56 extra points in 2019 and nine field goals and 27 extra points in his nine games in 2020.
The 2021 season did not fare as well for Pinegar. There were questions surrounding his abilities to hit field goals from long range, and eventually, his abilities to hit field goals from anywhere. Pinegar appeared in just two games that season.
Despite the setback, Pinegar didn’t give up. Stout left Penn State for the NFL after the 2021 season, while Pinegar stuck around. As a result, Pinegar had one of his more consistent seasons as the team’s field goal kicker. He made 12 of his 16 field goal attempts and drained 57 extra points, his highest single-season total in college. He also knocked down a career-long 50-yard field goal against Maryland. At the conclusion of the season, he was given an All-Big Ten honorable mention by the media.
After the 2022 season, Pinegar announced that he would forgo his final year of college eligibility and declare for the NFL Draft. He finished his career at Penn State with the second-most points scored in school history (337), the most extra point attempts converted (190), the fourth-most field goals made (49), the fourth-most field goals attempted (67), and the seventh-best field goal percentage (73.1%).
Pinegar’s success at the professional level remains to be seen. He’s struggled from distance, and his career-long field goal of 50 yards isn’t exactly eye-catching. While Pinegar holds some impressive records from a program that has churned out a number of NFL kickers, he hasn’t gained much attention nationally. Based on his position and this year’s selection of kicking prospects, Pinegar is expected to sign a contract as an undrafted free agent.
Amor spent just two years at Penn State, but he made his mark on Penn State football.
Penn State is the second program that Amor punted for, as he spent time at Colgate from 2017 to 2020. Amor didn’t immediately see reps for the Raiders and sat on the bench from 2017 to 2018, but when he was handed the reins to the punting job, Amor didn’t disappoint.
In his third year with Colgate, Amor appeared in all 12 games as the team’s starting punter. He averaged 42.1 yards per punt, the most in Colgate history by any punter with more than 40 punt attempts. Amor also placed 17 punts inside the 20-yard line, an impressive statistic for someone with little-to-no college experience.
The COVID-19 pandemic was not kind to Amor, as Colgate canceled its entire 2020 season. Just one year after breaking out for the Raiders, Amor couldn’t take the field. Still, he had two more years of NCAA eligibility left. After finishing two degrees at Colgate, Amor transferred to Penn State after James Franklin lured him to Happy Valley over an offer from USC.
Amor arrived at Penn State in 2021, and like Pinegar, backed up Stout that season. One year later, he secured the starting punter job, along with a scholarship, and didn’t look back.
Despite having just one season as one of Penn State’s fourth-down specialists, Amor established himself as one of the better punters in school history. His punting average of 44.3 yards per punt is the second-best in program history. Of Amor’s 54 punts, 21 dropped inside the 20-yard-line.
Amor’s successes didn’t go unnoticed. He was named to the watch list for the Ray Guy Award, which is presented annually to the best punter in college football. He was also given an All-Big Ten honorable mention by coaches.
The nature of his position will likely keep Penn State’s pillow connoisseur from hearing his name called in the NFL Draft. That being said, Amor’s two seasons of punting in college may be enough on their own to land him a professional contract.
Stoll hails from Columbus, Ohio, but instead of going to Ohio State and choosing the Big Ten school in his backyard, he enrolled at Penn State as a walk-on. After arriving at Penn State in 2017, it took Stoll some time to make an impact on the field.
Stoll didn’t appear on the field in any of Penn State’s games from 2017-18, as he sat behind scholarship long-snapper Kyle Vasey. When Vasey left the Nittany Lions for the NFL after the 2018 season, it was Stoll’s time to step up.
Stoll appeared in all 13 of the Nittany Lions’ games in 2019, helping Pinegar and former Penn State punter Blake Gillikin make their marks on special teams. Along the way, Stoll recorded a few tackles on punt coverage. At the conclusion of the season, Stoll was presented with the Outstanding Run-On Award.
During the 2020 season, Stoll solidified his position on the team, starting in all nine competitions. He was also no longer a walk-on, as he was presented his scholarship in preseason camp by Micah Parsons. And after Gillikin was replaced by Stout, Stoll continued to assist his new punter. That year, Stout averaged 41.5 yards per punt with help from Stoll’s snaps.
Before the 2021 season, Stoll was named to the watch list for the Patrick Mannelly Award, an award given annually to the nation’s best long snapper. Stoll earned a nomination during the season for the Bulsworth Trophy, which is awarded annually to the best college football player who started their career as a walk-on.
Stoll continued to impress during the 2022 season. After being named a team captain at the start of the season, he started all 13 games for Penn State. Even while the Nittany Lions lost Stout to the NFL Draft, Stoll was still comfortable in his position. Stoll’s efforts didn’t go unnoticed in 2022, as he won the Patrick Mannelly Award and the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award.
With his accomplishments in 2022, it’s likely that Stoll will sign an NFL contract before the start of the 2023-24 season. However, it’s unlikely that Stoll will hear his name called at the NFL Draft, simply by the nature of his position.
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