Ross Krautman kicked the Orange to several wins during his first three seasons. But on Saturday, Syracuse's training camp kicked off with the news that his football career is over. The redshirt senior will retire from football, coach Scott Shafer announced. Krautman's 2014 season is over before it even began.
"I just want to say thanks to Ross," Shafer said. "Ross is a great kid, one of my favorites on the team, so I really appreciate the effort that he put into his time here at Syracuse and he’ll be missed."
Krautman was recovering from surgery for a chronic hip injury, which kept him out of the last 11 games of last season. The NCAA granted Krautman a medical hardship waiver for a fifth year of college eligibility. He was pursuing a comeback but continued to have hip pain and discomfort even after his surgery. He didn't play in spring practice and missed the spring game. Shafer didn't reveal when the decision was made to disqualify Krautman, only saying that it came "a short while back".
"He had some legitimate issues that we had to get fixed," Shafer said. "We were really hopeful that we were going to get him back, but until you swing that leg as hard as you can like you have to when you’re kicking, you don’t know."
Krautman, a three year starter for Syracuse, is one of the best kickers in team history. As a freshman, he tied a team record with 18 made field goals. Then his hip started to get worse. Krautman tried to hide the pain, but his declining field goal accuracy was an indication of his declining health.
Last season without Krautman, Syracuse's kicking game struggled. Ryan Norton converted 10-of-15 attempts, including a missed 45-yarder in the Texas Bowl. Norton was also charged with underage possession of alcohol and resisting arrest back in October. He missed the spring game because of an undisclosed violation of team rules.
Norton takes over the role as starting kicker, but Cole Murphy and Alex Hodgkinson will also be in the running for the job.
Said Shafer, "We lost a great kicker, so the next man up better be ready."