In depth with UK Football’s Austin MacGinnis


Kentucky kicked Austin MacGinnis misses the game winning field goal during the game against the University of Florida on Saturday, September 23, 2017 in Lexington, Ky. Kentucky was defeated 28-27. Photo by Chase Phillips | Staff

AJ Harris

Austin MacGinnis, the senior kicker for the University of Kentucky football team, went from soccer to football in high school and has shown pure dominance ever since.

MacGinnis only decided he wanted to be a kicker during his freshman year in high school. Growing up in Georgia, he played soccer until he moved to Alabama where there is no soccer team, so MacGinnis gave kicking a football a try.

“My friends [said] why don’t you try coming and kicking a football…They got me to play JV Football and I kicked for the varsity team and then I just fell in love with the atmosphere,” MacGinnis said.

MacGinnis said he knew that he wanted to play football and received an offer from the University of Kentucky in the summer of his junior year. MacGinnis came to Kentucky with high goals and expectations and is now a redshirt senior. 

“I came to Kentucky because I wanted to play in the SEC. I just knew from being around the dominant Alabama and Georgia that the SEC was the best,” MacGinnis said. “I just want to be the best.”

MacGinnis’ practice and game prep isn’t what one might expect of a typical football player. In fact, his routine is more like a baseball pitcher, and how they pitch once every five days. MacGinnis normally only kicks and lifts for two days a week, the other days are treatment days where he focuses on running, stretching, rolling out his muscles and ice baths.

He also does metallization, which is just studying his kicks. When MacGinnis lifts or works out he just does sprints, bench presses, leg extension exercises, leg curls and pull-ups. MacGinnis stops his workout regimen two days before game day and shifts all of his focus to mental preparation.

“I only kick two days a week,” MacGinnis said. “The two days a week I kick I also workout on those days.”

On game day, MacGinnis sticks to his same warm-up regimen that he keeps during the week, as far as pre-kicks go. He also focuses on getting his mind right.

Sometimes one can see MacGinnis practicing his kicks on the sideline during the game. He says this helps him basically to stay in his right mind and prevent him from getting bored.

“I try to focus on my breathing and staying in the moment” MacGinnis said. “Games are long and you can go an hour without kicking so you just got to stay focused because anything can happen and you have to be ready to go at any point in the game.”

MacGinnis is close to breaking UK’s record for all-time career points and has most of the season left to do so. MacGinnis believes that he will accomplish this feat before the season’s end.

“I think it’s cool. It’s definitely something I want now,” MacGinnis said. “Yes, I’ll do it.”

MacGinnis is in his final season as redshirt senior for the Wildcats, and he said he hopes to end up in the NFL.

“I want to try and play in the NFL so that’s my number one focus,” MacGinnis said.