USU’s Eberle shutting out distractions as he kicks his way to the top

LOGAN – He is just a sophomore, but Utah State football fans have got to be feeling good about their starting kicker. Dominik Eberle has hit all 23 of his extra point attempts, and out of 14 field goal attempts, has missed just one. It could even be argued that the only miss wasn’t his fault; his 38-yard attempt against BYU was blocked.

With just one miss, Eberle’s season field goal percentage is at 92.9 percent. If that holds, it will be the highest single-season percentage of any USU kicker with a minimum of 10 attempts, ever. The current record was set by Russ Moody, Jr., when he averaged 86.7 percent in 1988.

For someone that is having so much success, it can be strange to think that Eberle never planned to play football. He didn’t ever watch it, and that it wasn’t until high school that he could even name a collegiate or professional football team. Eberle grew up in Nuremberg, Germany playing soccer, and he was getting good at it.

Then his father accepted a job in California, and the Eberle family left Germany.

“I was actually pretty high up in the soccer academies and such in Germany,” he said. “It hit me hard moving to the states, but I also saw the optimism of ‘OK, maybe I can achieve a dream here.’”

His American football journey started his freshman year of high school. He was kicking a ball with a friend, who was impressed that he kept kicking it over a very tall fence.

“He just told me, ‘Hey, go for it,’” Eberle said, “and then after my sophomore year I fell in love with it.”

Eberle kicked all through high school and was recognized with California Interscholastic Federation all-Bay League first-team honors in both his junior and senior seasons. He decided Utah State would be a good fit both athletically and academically, so when former special teams coach Dave Ungerer offered him a chance to walk on, he immediately accepted.

The first few years at USU weren’t easy. Without a scholarship, Eberle had to balance his studies and football practice while earning money working at Elements Restaurant. He spent his first year at USU as a redshirt before getting limited field goal attempts during the 2016 season.

He finished last season with three makes on five attempts. Then, during the offseason, he made up his mind that he was going to work even harder. He took to Twitter to fans and followers know they wouldn’t be hearing from him through social media.

“Real talk. The fun is over,” he wrote. “I’m going to be off every social media until Jan 1, 2018. I’m dedicating every single minute of my time to football. I’m going to be the greatest ever, nothing is gonna stop me because I know the best version of myself will be just that. Hold me to it, my teammates, friends, and family deserve nothing less.”

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”und” xml:lang=”und” dir=”ltr”><a href=””></a>

— Dominik Eberle (@theDEbbz) <a href=””>February 12, 2017</a></blockquote>

He later explained that Twitter was a distraction, that he felt he was holding himself back by comparing himself to others.

“I took that time off and focused on myself, my technique and really thought about what I value in kicking,” he said. “That eventually led to me thinking if I don’t think about social media I won’t compare myself.”

Eberle increased his efforts to reach his goal of earning both a scholarship and a starting spot. Head coach Matt Wells called Eberle a “tremendous worker.” Special teams coach Mark Tommerdahl agreed. He said Eberle demonstrated a good mentality and a tough mindset.

“He would come to practice and then leave to be a waiter,” Tommerdahl said. “He has paid his dues.”

The scholarship offer finally came in August. As Tommerdahl put it, the award came “the old fashioned way.”

“He earned it,” Tommerdahl said.

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“It was a feeling of relief and a mindset of hard work does pay off,” Eberle said. “My whole family was very proud and very happy. I’d always told them that was the first goal I wanted to accomplish.”

Now that Eberle has earned the scholarship, he said he wants to keep improving his game and making sure he is contributing to the team in some way every week. His kicking coach is Brad Bohn, who set multiple USU kicking records as a player from 1997 to 2000. Eberle’s long-term goal is to break those records.

“We always joke about that,” Eberle said, “but it is something I take pretty serious.”

If he keeps his current streak up, breaking those records aren’t too far out of reach.

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