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Athlete Spotlight: Ben Butler, Grovetown

Posted: September 13, 2017 - 12:10am
After his last camp in the summer, Ben Butler was listed as the No. 2 long snapper nationally, No. 1 in Georgia.
After his last camp in the summer, Ben Butler was listed as the No. 2 long snapper nationally, No. 1 in Georgia.

Grovetown's Ben Butler has a football dream he hopes to achieve this season.

The senior center/long snapper wants to run down the field, pick up a fumbled punt and run it into the end zone. For a lineman, scoring a touchdown is something that's a rarity but something he still thinks about.

"I could have the opportunity of running down there, the punt returner drop it and me picking it up for a touchdown," Butler said. "I haven't had that opportunity yet. That's my dream."

Butler has another dream he wants to see come true: be a long snapper for a Southeastern Conference school. For the No. 1-ranked long snapper in the state, it's something he hopes to achieve as well.

"I really want to play for one of those Division I schools," he said. "I think I need to put my name out there more."

The 5-foot-10, 220-pound Butler has been participating in myriad prokicker.com camps in recent years. After his last camp in the summer, he was listed as the No. 2 long snapper nationally, No. 1 in Georgia.

"It feels pretty good. I just have to keep working hard," Butler said about the ranking. "Not a lot of people acknowledge a long snapper - unless they mess up. But it's a good feeling when you do it right."

Butler began playing football in fourth grade. His father and grandfather got him into the sport, and he's continued playing since his elementary school days.

When he first started, he was a fullback. Butler eventually moved to center.

While he enjoyed football as a youth, Butler also played baseball. In eighth grade, the outfielder took a baseball off the eye and decided to focus solely on football

Butler has played varsity for Grovetown all four years. He was mainly the long snapper his first two seasons before eventually settling in at center.

Butler's love for long snapping began in eighth grade when his grandfather took him to a camp. He learned certain techniques to improve his skills.

"It became my passion," he said. "I wanted to do it more and more."

In long snapping, Butler has to send the football back to two different yardages - 7 yards for field goals, 15 for punts. Each snap is important.

Butler practices his craft almost every day. For field goals, he'll warm up and then throw 20 snaps to a target and to a person. For punts, he'll warm up and then work on snaps from 10 yards and then 15.

Butler has become so good at long snapping, his fastest snap is 0.73 seconds. He said the ideal time for high school and college is 0.80 seconds - he added his snap time average is below that number.

In his high school tenure, Butler said he takes pride in Grovetown never having a punt blocked. Also, he has another motive after he snaps to his punter.

"I like the thrill of snapping it back there," he said. "And I also like rushing down and trying to tackle the punt returner."

 

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