From Pats Camp to PA, Levin Splits the Uprights

Denys Levin is not your average high-school place kicker. Aside from being able to knock down 35-40 yard field goals under pressure on a regular basis, and having a long of 55 yards, Levin also plays baseball. In fact, not only does he merely play baseball, but quite well. A four year graduate of athletic-powerhouse Belmont Hill, Levin spent four years on the Belmont Hill baseball team as a pitcher, where he commanded a sub-two ERA. As if being a talented athlete were not enough, New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Bellichick ’71 was in attendance to witness Levin kick two 45-yard field goals at Belmont Hill’s 2003 homecoming football game. Bellichick was so impressed with Levin’s play that after the game he invited Levins to attend the Patriots preseason camp, along with fellow PG Jerell Smith ’05. In camp Levin was allowed not only to practice with the Pats, but was also given the opportunity to kick with New England hero and NFL kicker Adam Vinateiri. On top of all of this, Coach Modeste told me flat out that Levin was hands down the most talented kicker Andover has seen in his 18 years as head coach. Levin used to be a soccer player, but the summer before his Junior year he had his wisdom teeth removed and thus missed soccer tryouts. This led Levin to try out for the football team. But why a kicker? The majority of us when we fantasize about playing football, dream of being a quarterback and tossing a 60-yard bomb for a touchdown in the dwindling seconds of the game, or being a feature running back and amassing 1700 rushing yards in a season. Most people out there (unless your last name is Vanderjagt) do not dream of being a kicker and sending home the game winning field goal. In fact kickers are looked down upon, and considered to be the guys who are afraid to get hit. I asked Levin some questions to find out more about the talented newcomer to the Big Blue. What made you decide to become a kicker? My dad said no to letting me play any other position, so with my soccer background, I just decided to become a kicker. Football as a sport is a whole lot better than playing soccer. A football team tends to work a lot harder than a soccer team. I really like the team aspect in football; I find that the comradery is a lot stronger, due to the hitting, although I won’t lie I personally don’t do a lot of hitting. Are you the most recognizable PG? “There are a lot of big guys out there, but overall I would have to say I am a close second to Jerell.” How does the team look this year? “We’re a promising group of guys. There is a lot of talent on this squad, its all about winning games now.” How do you feel about football after Andover? “I definitely want to play D1 in college, and then after college I think I will try out NFL Europe and then hopefully get drafted into the NFL from there.” Tell me about being a kicker. “You get a lot of shit.” Why did you come to Andover? “Why did I come to Andover? Well that’s easy it’s a whole hell of a lot better than Exeter. That and Coach Mo is the man.” Levin comes across as very confident, but certainly not cocky. Sure he has a bit of a swagger about him, but wouldn’t you if you were the best at what you do. Does Levin know he is gifted? Absolutely. But does he rub it in your face? Of course not. Levin is a very good humored, nice kid, who also happens to be an absolutely disgusting place kicker. In closing I think lineman, teammate, and good friend Nick Hennessy ’05 said it best: “What can I say about Denys… [pause]…not much, he’s a kicker, I just hope he’s good at baseball.”