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RCB's Preston to play football at Shepherd

by Chris Errington


(June 13) Robert C. Byrd kicker J.K. Preston is making a habit of being in the right place at the right time.

After becoming the starting kicker on his high school team as a freshman after no one else challenged for the job, Preston enjoyed a solid prep career.

Now the Robert C. Byrd graduate is hoping his timing is right for a second time as he heads to Shepherd College for the 1998 football season.

With the Rams' top place kicker from a year ago no longer with the team, Preston is in prime position to take the next step.

"I'm really excited and optimistic about my chances," Preston said.

"I just want to stay positive and focussed. If I do that, things should go all right."

Preston's biggest obstacle may be his size (5-foot-9, 140-pounds) and lack of a booming leg by today's college standards. But Robert C. Byrd head coach Richard Iaquinta says with some hard work, Preston could make a big impact at Shepherd.

"J.K.'s going to have to work on distance (of his kicks) and get into the weight room and gain some strength," Iaquinta said. "If he can do those things, he could be a fine college kicker.

"His biggest asset is his accuracy and versatility."

If the summer is any indication, Preston should be in good shape once Shepherd's practices begin on Aug. 15.

Preston will have to pass the "freshman test" the day before practices start, and to make sure he is prepared, the Rams coaching staff has started him on an eight-week conditioning program.

Preston is expected to weight lift and run four days-a-week to add size to his slender frame.

"I need to be more competitive," Preston said. "They told me if I have a productive season, I'll get a scholarship next year that'll be worth my while."