Big Boots: Hillcrest Kicker Provides a Rare Special Teams Weapon

At 6-foot-6 and 205 pounds, Malphurs proves size isn’t just for defensive ends

During the first day of his freshman year at Hillcrest High School, Reed Malphurs caught the eye of football coaches.

Never mind that his background was in soccer rather than football. As one of the tallest kids in his class, he could fit as a wide receiver or defensive end. Three years later, the coaches were right about Malphurs’ star potential. They just had the position wrong.

The 6-foot-6 senior has emerged as one of the top kickers in Texas, with a booming leg that gives the Panthers a special-teams weapon many of their opponents lack.

Early in the 2020 season, after Hillcrest had an opening for a kicker, Malphurs secured the job by nailing a 38-yard field goal on his first try. Later that season, he added a 45-yarder during a playoff game against Aledo.

As a junior, Malphurs improved both his range and his accuracy, culminating in a pivotal school-record 57-yard field goal as the first half expired during a win over Seagoville.

“I was really not comfortable at all. I was freaking out,” Malphurs said. “I took a deep breath, he snapped the ball, and the rest is history. As I kicked the ball, the buzzer went off.”

The next morning, he got a call from SMU, wanting him to visit. Malphurs subsequently began training with local kicking guru Scott Blanton and linked up with some recruiting services.

“He’s truly changed my entire kicking form,” Malphurs said. “I went from barely being able to make 60-yarders to having a [personal record] of 70 yards.”

Malphurs still trains with Blanton multiple times each week, in addition to participating in full offseason workouts with the rest of the football team, at his insistence.

“A lot of it is natural ability, but Reed is one of the hardest workers on the team,” said Hillcrest head coach Jacob Ramon. “He’s a leader on this team because of that work ethic. We’re very blessed to have him.”

This season, he hopes to have an opportunity to break the state record of 63 yards or perhaps even the national record of 68 yards, which has stood since 1985.

College interest has increased too, with Malphurs taking visits to TCU, LSU, Arkansas, Texas Tech, Mississippi State, and others. But he still must explain he’s not a defensive end.

“There’s not too many times you see a 6-foot-6 kicker walking into a college camp,” he said. “It’s just unheard of.”

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