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9 MINUS 5 DAYS TO 2017 KICKOFF: Mitch Lochbihler

In which BracketCat counts down the ninth day until the 2017 kickoff with a profile of punter Mitch Lochbihler.

#9 Mitch Lochbihler
Mitch Lochbihler (9) lost the starting punting position in 2014, but he bounced back last season after finding a new niche as a kickoff specialist.

Goal No. 9: ELIMINATE MISTAKES. Don’t beat yourself.

#9 Mitch Lochbihler

Redshirt Senior | 6-6 | 241 lbs. | Charlotte, North Carolina
Mitch Lochbihler
Mitch Lochbihler
Courtesy Kansas State Athletics
  • Position: Punter
  • Previous College: None
  • Projection: Second-String (Punter) / Starter (Kickoff Specialist)
  • Status: On Scholarship

Mitchell Link Lochbihler (b. Jan. 6, 1995) is a punter with a powerful leg who shined late during his junior campaign as the primary kickoff man. He will compete for more punting and kickoff duties as a senior.

Lochbihler was a seriously late addition to the 2013 class. I don’t think he showed up on our radar until midway through that summer, but sure enough, there was a scholarship magically awaiting him. He redshirted during that season, however.

Lochbihler saw action in three games in 2014, punting twice for a 38-yard average.

Considering I thought he would be the wire-to-wire starter, it has to be categorized as a disappointing season, but it also was to Nick Walsh’s benefit.

Lochbihler played in three more games in 2015, punting four times for a 44.5-yard average. Two of his punts landed inside the 20-yard line, and he set career highs in punts (two), yards (97), average (48.5) and long punt (50) against Louisiana Tech.

Last season, Lochbihler finally played in all 13 games, serving as the primary holder for the entire year while also taking over kickoff duties during the final five games.

He totaled 20 touchbacks in his 30 kickoffs (66.7 percent), including a career-best six against Oklahoma State and five more against Texas A&M in the Texas Bowl.

Lochbihler punted five times on the year for a 46.6-yard average, which included two punts of 50 or more yards. He also carded a career-best 54.5-yard average on two punts at Iowa State, the second-highest average in the Big 12 during the 2016 campaign, and was a second-team Academic All-Big 12 performer.

Prior to his arrival in Manhattan, Lochbihler punted and handled placekicking duties at Charlotte Catholic High School under head coach Jim Oddo.

He helped the team to earn a 13-1 record as a senior, earning all-conference and all-county honors; averaged 43.8 yards on 26 punt attempts during his career; and booted kickoffs for a 68.3-yard average and 150 touchbacks.