Position: Kicker, though Spear may believe he's actually a linebacker.
Size: 5'10", 195 lbs.
Recruit Ranking: A two-star recruit at kicker.
2013 Statistics: 15/19 field goals, two field goals from 50+ yards, long of 54 yards, 99 points scored, three tackles.
• 2013 SEC Academic Honor Roll
• 2013 Wuerffel Award Finalist
• 2013 SEC Co-Specialist of the Week (Nov. 30)
• 2013 Allstate-AFCA Good Works Team
• 2013 CFPA Placekicker Trophy Watch List
• 2012 Second Team All-SEC (AP)
• 2012 SEC Specialist of the Week (Nov. 6 and Nov. 26)
• 2012 SEC Academic Honor Roll
• 2011 SEC Academic Honor Roll
Strengths: Well, hitting people, for one:
Carey Spear made Vanderbilt kickoffs a must-watch exchange. While the NCAA's new kickoff rules made touchbacks more common in 2013, Spear was an absolute animal as a junior, launching himself like a missile at opposing ballcarriers. No one at Dudley Field would have batted an eye if James Franklin had found a way to sneak him in for a few plays at safety against Austin Peay last fall.
On top of Spear's potentially sociopathic tendencies to destroy opposing kick returners, the Vandy senior was also one of the 'Dores most consistent weapons in his final two years in Nashville. After struggling to make longer kicks early in his career, he went 2-2 from 50+ yards last fall, peaking with a 54-yarder against South Carolina. He also has a 61-yarder on record from his high school days, so his leg should have enough juice in it to succeed in the pros.
"Murderleg" also developed a reputation for big kicks as his tenure at Vandy wore on. His 2011 miss from 27 yards out against Arkansas may have cost the 'Dores an upset win, but it served as a turning point in his career. He made 12 of his 14 FG attempts in games that were decided by seven points or fewer as an upperclassman and that composure lifted Vandy to a key win over Wake Forest as a senior. His only misses in that span came from 45 and 51 yards.
His kickoff prowess improved in 2013 as well. 46 of his 66 kicks went for touchbacks last season, an improvement compared to his 22-63 mark from 2012. Obviously much of that change came from the NCAA's new rule that moved kickoffs up five yards, but Spear appeared to have an extra charge behind his boots last fall.
Weaknesses: Sometimes Spear's powers cause him to be sucked into an alternate dimension at extremely inopportune times:
Additionally, Spear was good, but not great as a kickoff specialist. As noted above, his touchback numbers while kicking off from the 30 yard line were average. He was pretty damn good as a kicker, but he wasn't totally automatic. In a league with only 30 kickers, he may not be bulletproof enough to find a spot on someone's roster next fall. After making 20 of 24 kicks as a junior, Spear's accuracy dropped and he made 15 of 19 kicks as a senior, ceding his preseason All-SEC spot to Georgia's Marshall Morgan.
Projection: Undrafted. As a kicker, Spear's odds of being picked up in the NFL Draft were already low. If he doesn't play on Sundays, it won't be due to a lack of effort. Spear worked his ass off at Vanderbilt both on and off the field. He filled out every facet of his game to become one of the most reliable kickers in the NCAA. Spear can find a home in the NFL if he finds the right opportunity. He has the leg, the accuracy, and the attitude to do so. Signing with a team that doesn't have a locked-in veteran kicker will be the first step towards getting there.