NFL

Matt Gay Ready To Join Buccaneers

May 1, 2019, 4:39 PM
Place kicker Matt Gay #97 of the Utah Utes high fives holder Mitch Wishnowsky #33 after kicking a 2...
Place kicker Matt Gay #97 of the Utah Utes high fives holder Mitch Wishnowsky #33 after kicking a 26 yard field goal against the Arizona Wildcats during the first half of the college football game at Arizona Stadium on September 22, 2017 in Tucson, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

TAMPA BAY, Fla. – Now that it has sunk in, former University of Utah kicker Matt Gay is ready to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and begin his NFL career.

Gay was selected in the fifth round, 145th overall pick and the second specialist to be drafted, next to fellow Ute Mitch Wishnowsky, who was taken in the fourth round by the San Francisco 49ers.

The Lou Groza Award winner was the fourth of five Utes to be drafted, being picked after Marquise Blair in the second round and Cody Barton in the third round, both to the Seattle Seahawks. In the seventh round, offensive lineman Jackson Barton was picked by the Indianapolis Colts.

Two players from other schools in the state of Utah were selected, including Sione Takitaki in the third round by the Cleveland Browns and former Utah State running back Darwin Thompson to the Kansas City Chiefs in the sixth round.

“I am extremely excited for this opportunity and I cannot thank the Buccaneers enough for drafting me,” Gay told KSL Sports. “I love Tampa and my wife actually lived there for a couple of years as well, so it’s very fitting. It means everything to be a Buccaneer and to be where you are wanted. I’m excited to get down to Tampa and get to work and to help win games for this organization,” he added.

Drafting a specialist early in the draft is rare. Normally they go undrafted or in the sixth or seventh round. Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht was asked about taking Gay in the fifth round.

“He is a big guy with a big leg and he is also accurate,” Licht mentioned. “He kicked at Utah but he is also good at sea level. We liked him as a person, he is a very confident guy. We have exhausted everything we can to try to find a kicker and will continue to. We have drafted some, we have signed some undrafted free agents, free agents, gone to Denmark, so we like this guy,” he stated.

Licht was pleased to see that Gay was both powerful and accurate with his kicks.

“Usually strong legged guys that can kick from a far distance usually has some accuracy issues, but this guy [Gay] does not.”

Gay will report to Buccaneers rookie minicamp on Thursday.

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