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Sunday, December 04, 2022

Local kicker Nick DeAngelis uses TikTok to take down the Detroit Lions Ford Field Showcase

202204091014Tms Mngtrpub Sports Local Kicker Nick Deangelis Uses Tiktok 2 Ny5

Ramsey, NJ native Nick DeAngelis, a former Penn State walk-on kicker, used the viral power of TikTok for a chance to boot up field goals at the Detroit Lions’ Ford Field on Saturday.

He garnered 46,800 fans with a video of him splitting the overhead, and he lobbied for a chance to kick NFL teams into their stadiums with captions like “Trying to get day 7″. [an] The NFL team will let me make a video in their stadium.”

The Lions’ social media team recently responded and agreed to accommodate: So @ndeangelis04, as he’s known on TikTok, will launch from Ford Field Turf on Saturday.

“I’m looking for a host anywhere,” DeAngelis, 25, said on the phone Thursday. “In the past, people used to say that I would not be able to play Division I, that I should leave. I will not give up. I just need someone to see me once.

Saturday’s performance is not a test with the Lions. But DeAngelis hopes that one day his one kick will open the eyes of the right pair and fulfill his dream of playing in the NFL.

Atlanta Falcons kicker Youngho Koo (Ridgewood, NJ), a former Southern standout from Georgia, was memorably on the national radar in 2016 doing a backflip with a viral video of Koo as he tried to score a field goal without a holder. Had it.

Koo signed a five-year, $24.5 million contract extension with the Falcons in March.

“That’s how I’m modeling it,” DeAngelis said. “There were videos of him kicking and then flipping. You just need to get your foot in the door. That’s all I have to do.”

The Lions confirmed to the Daily News that its social media team had arranged a tour of DeAngelis’ stadium on Saturday. Detroit’s social media team responded to one of DeAngelis’ recent videos with a message from his official account: “Maybe we talk in a couple of weeks?”

Then the team followed another: “DMs are now open.”

DeAngelis eventually connected via direct text with someone from Detroit’s social team to confirm his visit. But surprisingly, he paid his own way and flew to Detroit on Friday afternoon without any further assurances that it was real.

“I just need one person to see me,” he said, explaining why it’s worth it. “Hopefully some of it will come.”

DeAngelis isn’t just doing this for himself. His father Adam is battling cancer. He says that his father, his mother Christina and his brothers are his biggest supporters and the causes he is fighting for.

“My dad talked to the schools, did everything he could to make my dream come true,” said DeAngelis, who coaches and trains some local athletes. “My mom kept me positive and never let me leave.”

DeAngelis had played mostly basketball and some football throughout his life until the spring of his junior year at Ramsey High School. Then one day, classmate Anthony Popolo, a linesman and long-snapper on the soccer team, asked for help in catching the snap.

DeAngelis bound and then took shots at some field goals, only for a kick.

“I teeed the ball on my shoes and I was kicking, making them from 50 yards,” he said. “We took the video, sent it to my high school coach, and I played senior year.”

He became a first-team All-League, setting a school record for field goals (7-of-9) and converting all of his 38 extra points. Now he’s kicking at Ford Field.

“Once he made the commitment, it was totally ahead,” Popolo, 24-year-old, who plays at Division-III Juniata College (PA), said in a phone interview on Friday. “We went to a lot of showcases and trainers together and they took advantage of that.”

After initially committing to Monmouth as the favorite walk-on, DeAngelis kicked off near home in Division III William Paterson for two years in college. He then transferred to Penn State and was one of three walk-ons on James Franklin’s 2017 Nittany Lions roster.

It was the 11-2, Fiesta Bowl winning Penn State team of the Saxon Barkley that reached No. 2 nationally and No. 8 in the country. However, DeAngelis had to sit out that season as a transfer, and from 2018 couldn’t take enough credit from Patterson to be eligible.

Then the pandemic struck in his 2020 draft year. At that time DeAngelis’ agent told him that he would speak with the Lions. Nothing materialised. But DeAngelis did not give up.

He coached Gary Zuner’s annual special teams camp in Arizona in 2020 and attended the Hub free agent camp in Los Angeles last October. He has worked with professionals including Ku.

However, like his own bust on TikTok, nothing fueled his talent.

“It used to be that you shared your game tape [the highlight application] Huddle,” said Popolo, an underwriter at Webster Bank in Manhattan. “But now social media has become such a tool in so many ways. Coaches are on it… It’s unbelievable. [Nick] He is so worthy because of his work ethic, perseverance, timing.”

Who knows if Saturday’s performance at Ford Field, plastered on DeAngelis’s TikTok page for the world to see, will prompt an NFL team to call him in for a workout. Crazy things have happened.

“I always say that if I ever make it, we’ll make a movie,” DeAngelis said.

He looks very good in it.

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