It may not be a new sight to see the name “Cantele” on the back of a jersey trotting out to attempt a field goal on Saturdays at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. But if you think that the Wildcats are sending out the same Cantele as they have been the last few years, then you don’t know Jack.
After a successful high school golf career, Jack Cantele decided to follow in his brother Anthony’s footsteps and kick at K-State in college.
“Growing up, until about my
sophomore or junior year of high school, I thought I was going to play golf in
college, I never really thought seriously about football,” said the sophmore. “It wasn’t really until
Anthony transferred from Missouri State to Kansas State and switched sports
from soccer to football that I really took an interest in that.”
Jack had good reason to think about playing golf over football. He earned all-state accolades his junior and senior seasons while at Kapaun Mt. Karmel in Wichita, and held the second-lowest round in Kansas high school history with a 5-under par 67 his junior year, in 2010.
However, the more he played golf in high school, the more burnt out on the sport he became, and he began to think about the prospects of playing football in college. He was an all-state selection in football his senior season and tallied 15 field goals and over 50 touchbacks in his three years of high school football.
“I started to think about and work on it, getting help from other people, including Anthony,” he said about kicking. “As I got better and had a good senior season I made up my mind to K-State, which was really the only school I wanted to come to.”
The turning point, though, was when Cantele saw how much his brother loved K-State and constantly heard him rave about the team and playing in front of such a great crowd. Growing up watching college football on Saturdays, Cantele never though he would be a part of it all, but here he is on the big stage.
“When you get the chance it
seems a little bit silly not to take that chance,” he said about playing at K-State.
This season, his first as a starter, Cantele is 5-6 in field goals with a long of 42 yards, and 25-26 in PAT’s, placing him second on the team with 40 points. He has also served as the team’s primary kickoff specialist, and has eight touchbacks so far in 2013. WIth two and a half seasons ahead of him, Cantele has plenty of time to carve out a solid body of work and maybe even overtake his brother in field goals and points.
Football is not the only thing that takes up Cantele’s time though. He is majoring in civil engineering, another monstrous time commitment on top of the full-time job that is football.
“Honestly, its not as bad as I thought it’d be,” said Cantele of balancing football with such a time consuming major. “You hear a lot of horror
stories about how engineering is so tough and how football and school is tough. It’s only as tough as you make it.”
Cantele credits the culture at K-State for helping him juggle everything and do his best in every facet of life.
“Just the fact that K-State football instills a hard work in you, it
makes you think no other way,” said Cantele.
The success that Cantele has had already shows a bright future for the kicker, especially since he only started focusing on football less than five years ago. But if you find yourself wondering about where his golf game is, it isn’t quite what it used to be.
“Right now?” he said about where his golf game stands. “I don’t know what I could play to right now, I haven’t
played in months. Back in high school I was a plus handicap…I would shoot under par pretty frequently, right around par most of
the time. But right now, if I could go out to Colbert Hills and break 80 I’d be happy, that’s
probably a 50/50 shot for me right now.”
After months of not playing, Cantele could probably still outshoot most of the people reading this, but it is a good thing for K-State football that he has focused on kicking for the last few years.
So whether you see him shooting baskets at the Rec or shooting golf balls towards the green at Colbert Hills, know that Cantele is just scratching the surface of his potential in his time at K-State, and the best is yet to come.