Pitt extended a preferred walk-on offer to kicker Ethan Van Buskirk this past Saturday, and the senior out of Central Dauphin High School in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, announced Thursday night that he had officially signed on with the Panthers.
During his senior season at Central Dauphin, Van Buskirk converted 36 of 37 extra-point attempts and made 12 of 17 field goals, with his longest being 49 yards and three of his misses coming from 50 yards out or further. According to Penn Live, he made 10 of his 11 field goals in his junior year and has been “one of the top kickers in the state over the last two seasons.”
In addition to kicking for Central Dauphin, Van Buskirk handled punting duties as well, averaging 30.3 yards per punt in his senior season, with his longest coming in at 43 yards. He also put six punts inside his opponents’ 20-yard line. And on kickoffs, he averaged 57.3 yards and accounted for 18 touchbacks.
Van Buskirk was one of 64 Pennsylvania high school football players to earn a Mini Max award from the Maxwell Football Club in 2017. In addition to that, he made the Pennsylvania Football Writers Class 6A All-State Team alongside fellow incoming Pitt freshmen David Green and Jake Kradel.
Prior to the addition of Van Buskirk, Pitt had two kickers on the roster in Alex Kessman and Jake Scarton. Kessman locked down the role last season, converting 100 percent of his 34 extra-point attempts, but he was less reliable on regular field goals, making 11 of 19. Pitt also has one punter at this point, as Ryan Winslow is no longer in the fold, leaving only Kirk Christodoulou.
With that said, Van Buskirk will add necessary depth to Pitt’s special teams unit at the least and could perhaps compete for playing time.