Williamson County native and Tennessee kicker Brent Cimaglia’s one thing that set him apart from other placekickers in the country is his consistency.
Cimaglia went his senior season at Page High School without missing a single extra point and went 6-11 on field goals.
It’s things like this that have made him an All-SEC kicker and Lou Groza finalist the past couple of seasons playing for the Tennessee Volunteers.
However, all of this hasn’t come without getting used to new surroundings.
“It’s definitely a bigger stage, going from Page to Neyland,” said Cimaglia. “But I was kinda ready for it. My coaches and my dad sat me down when I was getting recruited and there were like, 'It’s gonna be a different stage, it’s gonna be a lot bigger, a lot more pressure.'
"Honestly being an experienced guy now, pressure shouldn't affect anything. The way I train, I train to put myself in those pressure situations. On Saturdays I really don’t feel any pressure thanks to my coaches.”
The relationship between a coach and their players is a very special one for most players that you ask, and that’s no different with Brent Cimaglia and Page head coach Charles Rathbone. Cimaglia still keeps up with Rathbone on a weekly basis and said he's very grateful that his former coach is still a part of his life.
Cimaglia now plays for Jeremy Pruitt at Tennessee. While college is a much different word from high school, the type of coaching Cimaglia has received at Tennessee has not changed.
“When you get to college, it’s completely different,” said Cimaglia. “It’s a business here, but both coaches are excellent coaches. With Pruitt, I think he’s one of the best coaches I’ve had. You can talk to him outside of football, just about life, and it was the same with Rathbone.
"Outside of football [Rathbone] was like a best friend and my second dad. Coming in I was worried about getting all these different coaches, but Pruitt came in accepted everybody.”
As one of the best kickers in the SEC this season, the NFL is definitely in Cimaglia’s future. The NFL has not made a statement on where the combine will be this season, but there is a chance that it could be in Indianapolis, Ind., at Lucas Oil Stadium once again.
“Right now my main focus is this season, getting a degree, and finishing strong,” said Cimaglia. “That is the main goal, to go to the league, but right now the more important thing is getting ready for each game Saturday, and first and foremost, I’m just gonna leave everything up to the man upstairs and to just go ahead with the plan he’s set me on.”
Cimaglia is currently on the watch list for the Lou Groza award which denotes the best kicker in all of college football. Another member of the SEC won the award last season.
University of Georgia kicker Rodrigo Blankenship, who currently plays for the Indianapolis Colts, won the award for the Bulldogs after only missing three field goals in 2019. With Cimaglia’s name of the watch list for 2020, there could be yet another member of the SEC taking home the award, one with WillCo ties.
“My dad used to tell me that, when you do something well and get an award, you celebrate for 24 hours and then you get back to work the next day,” said Cimaglia.
“I’m very honored to receive those awards. To me, it doesn’t matter. I’m playing for something completely bigger than those awards. I play for this team, I play for Coach Pruitt, and for this program. The awards are nice, but I’m not done yet. There’s still a lot of work to be done.”
Tennessee is currently on a bye week, but will play Arkansas on Nov. 7.