Football junior kicker Nik Grau has applied for a medical redshirt designation from the NCAA after struggling to recover from a chronic lower back injury.
The NCAA allows a redshirt only if the player has played in 30 percent or less of the current season.
For now, head coach Ken Collums has said true freshman place kicker Zach Lehr will fill the vacancy Grau leaves.
“I have been in a lot of pain so I’ve been rehabbing a lot, limiting my reps and reducing workouts,” said Grau. “I didn’t feel well prepared for the season.”
Grau was a key component to the Wildcats 6-6 record last season. He received second team all-conference honors and multiple player of the week awards.
With 47 extra-point attempts on the season, the Grapevine native successfully completed 46 extra-points during his sophomore year. Last year, Grau was fourth in the conference in field goal percentage (82.4), going 14-17 for the season.
“My team needs a reliable kicker,” Grau said. “With the pain I am suffering from, I don’t feel confident enough to achieve that, so I’m going to give myself a year to heal. It won’t be easy though because I already can’t wait to be back out there.”
Later this year, Grau will have a microdisectomy, which he hopes will repair his lumbar injury.
Losing Grau will have a significant effect on the Wildcat’s defensive game, but the slot is looking to be filled.
Freshmen place-kickers Zach Lehr and Brad Mitchell are in the running to fill Grau’s spot this season.
“They just have to kick them long and kick them straight,” said Grau. “I want to help as much as I can.”