As Alabama football prepares for senior send-off, can Will Reichard make NCAA history?

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Will Reichard is on the doorstep of college football history, but at least publicly, he’s not sure exactly how close he is to making it. Alabama football’s fifth-year kicker is already the SEC’s all-time leading scorer; he accomplished that against Arkansas several weeks ago. Now he’s just 22 points away from the NCAA all-time record of 530 owned by former Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds.

“I don’t really know how many points I am away from it,” Reichard said. “I think when my career’s over I’ll really care about it, but right now, I’m not too concerned about it honestly. I’m more focused on being able to play well this week and kind of continue to prepare to play well and continue to practice well, continue to grow.”

FBS career points leaders

Player Team Pos Pts Years

Keenan Reynolds




Kenneth Dixon




Will Reichard




Montee Ball




Austin Seibert




Growth was one of Reichard’s biggest reasons for returning to Alabama for a fifth year. He noted before the season that one area he wanted to focus on before a professional career was efficiency on kickoffs. In 2022, only 49 percent of Reichard’s kickoffs resulted in touchbacks. That number has improved to 58 percent, and those that are returned rarely net positive results: Alabama ranks second in the SEC and 13th nationally in kickoff return defense (15.8 yards per return).

“Over the offseason, I’ve continued to try to get stronger and continue to try to get my leg faster, which kind of allowed me to hit the ball a bit better on kickoffs,” Reichard said. “That was kind of the point of emphasis, worked on a little bit of the technical aspect in my kickoff, trying to get through the ball a lot better. I think that’s really helped.”

On field goals, Reichard has been as reliable as any in college football this year, connecting on 15 of 17 attempts — which pushes his career mark to 83.7 percent, fifth best in SEC history. He’s tied for the national lead with eight made field goals of at least 40 yards. He has, however, missed two in a row, 43- and 47-yard attempts against LSU, though he noted he knew immediately what he did wrong: plant foot was too tight, hips were too open and both kicks were pushed right. He’s been working on fixing those technical issues to begin a new streak.

Reichard’s next opportunity will be a special one, as he’ll kick in Bryant-Denny Stadium for the last time on Saturday against Chattanooga (11 am C.T. on SEC Network+) for No. 8 Alabama’s senior day.

“I think after (the Kentucky game) was over kind of the rest of the weekend, these last couple days, I’ve kind of thought about it a little bit,” Reichard said. “It’s a little sad that it’s gonna be my last time at Bryant-Denny. But super thankful to have been able to play here for the last five years, it’s been a huge blessing. Really thankful for coach Saban giving me the opportunity to do so and I’m really excited to run on that field one last time.”

Senior send-offs?

In total, Alabama will honor in alphabetical order: Jonathan Bennett (RB), Chris Braswell (LB), Jermaine Burton (WR), Zarian Courtney (WR), Darrian Dalcourt (OL), Justin Eboigbe (DL), Robert Ellis (TE), Kyle Flood Jr. (LB), Jaylen Key (DB), Trezmen Marshall (LB), Jase McClellan (RB), Caleb McDougle (DB), Seth McLaughlin (OL), Malachi Moore (DB), Will Reichard (PK), Quandarrius Robinson (LB), Charlie Skehan (TE), Jordan Smith (LB), Tim Smith (DL), Adam Thorsland (TE), Bennett Whisenhunt (LB), Roydell Williams (RB) and Sam Willoughby (WR).

All participants except for Dalcourt, Key and Reichard have eligibility to return for an additional year due to the COVID-19 waiver in 2020. A few players with decisions to make, including McLaughlin, Moore and Williams, were noncommittal when asked this week about using that waiver or leaving for the NFL. It’s an expected response, as players don’t want to make themselves a headline during a game week, but it’s worth noting that some names could return and go through the ceremony twice — as Dalcourt and Reichard are doing after being honored last year.

Two players with senior eligibility will not participate — defensive backs Trey Amos and Kristian Story — likely signifying a fifth season for both in 2024.  They would be welcomed returns: Alabama could lose both starting cornerbacks Kool-Aid McKinstry and Terrion Arnold to the NFL Draft, and Amos has been a solid third corner this season, allowing eight catches allowed for 83 yards and one touchdown in 172 coverage snaps, per PFF. Should Moore enter the draft, there would be a pair of safety vacancies (along with Key leaving). Story’s experience would help mitigate those losses.

Senior day brings about two initial thought processes. The first being that the college season has flown right by. The second is appreciating the growth of the senior class and their journeys, from McLaughlin, the lowest-ranked player in the 2020 recruiting class, to blue-chip prospects like Braswell who have contributed heavily to the program.

Braswell in particular is a good program story. He arrived with high expectations, as most Alabama recruits do, and waited until his senior year for a full-time role as a starter. He has taken advantage of that opportunity. The same can be said for McClellan and Moore, who have always had a role but received a full workload at their respective positions and answered the call. Others like Eboigbe, Williams and Marshall (in his first year in the program after transferring from Georgia) have battled injuries during their careers, returned to the field and made their marks. Jermaine Burton had an up-and-down initial campaign as a transfer last season, returned this year and became a consistent impact player.

“I think it speaks volumes of their commitment to the program and seeing that if they do the right things, they’re going to have success,” Saban said. “I think that one of the big things that we try to get guys to understand is, we have good players on our team. So you’re going to have a better chance to develop because the competition in practice is actually going to be beneficial to your development. And I think that if guys can stay focused for the long term in terms of what they’re trying to develop and improve… I’ve never been asked once (by an NFL team) how much a guy played as a freshman. Never, not once. Everybody wants to know what you develop into.”

There’s still much to accomplish for this year’s group of seniors: finishing the regular season strong, the SEC championship game and beyond. But there’s value their careers can bring to the next wave of Alabama players on the roster. More often than not, leaning into the routinely used term “process” can net the desired outcome.

“Just take your time,” Braswell said. “Learn the plays, you know. Just because you don’t get on the field that doesn’t mean that you’re not good. Take your time, learn the system and your time will come.”

(Top photo of Will Reichard: Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images)

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