In his debut year at WKU, kicker Brayden Narveson produced one of the most accurate campaigns in the program’s 102-season history. The redshirt sophomore transfer made 13-of-14 field goal attempts and was a perfect 27-of-27 on extra point tries in 2020, scoring 66 total points in 12 games.
Only Garrett Schwettman’s 2015 performance, in which he hit 15-of-16 field goals, was a better single-season percentage by a Hilltopper kicker. That’s pretty good company for Narveson to be listed with, considering Schwettman was a four-year starter from 2012-15 and was recognized on the Hilltopper All-Century Team prior to the 2018 season.
“It means a lot because Schwettman’s such a good kicker. One of my best friends [Caleb Griffin] plays at Illinois under him, and he had been chirping Schwettman this whole time telling him I’m coming for his records,” Narveson said. “It was something I definitely knew about going into the bowl game. I was hoping for a few more tries but all in all, I can’t really control that.”
Narveson ranked among the best FBS kickers in 2020 with a 93% field goal mark, which currently stands tied for third among players with more than 10 attempts. He made 6-of-6 field goals in the 40-49 range and 5-of-5 from the 30-39 distance, while his 53-yarder at Middle Tennessee was the third-longest ever for a Hilltopper.
All and all, Narveson was voted to the All-Conference USA Second Team, while also being named a PFF College Third Team All-American and Chris Sailer Kicking Fourth Team All-American. He was only 1-of-20 FBS kickers to earn a spot as a Lou Groza Award Semifinalist, the first such Hilltopper to do so since Schwettman in 2015.
His only miss was a 50-yard try in the first quarter at Florida Atlantic, but he did bounce back and make attempts of 32 and 49 yards later in the game against the Owls.
“I have to feel like I’m going to make every kick – that’s the job of a kicker,” Narveson said. “You have to go out there and every time you go onto the field you have to know – not just think – you’re going to make it. The one kick I missed was the one time I doubted myself all year.”
It was not a straight path for Narveson to The Hill. The Scottsdale, Ariz., native originally went to Iowa State University out of Desert Mountain High School and redshirted the 2018 season. But after only getting four field goal tries and booting four kickoffs during the 2019 campaign, he decided to enter the transfer portal, landing at the University of San Diego after announcing his commitment to the Toreros on January 2, 2020.
He won all three of the placekicking, kickoff and punting jobs during spring ball, but then the COVID-19 pandemic hit. With San Diego’s fall season in jeopardy, Narveson once again placed his name in the transfer portal on July 6. Over the next few days, he posted 12 videos on social media showing off his field goal and kickoff talents, hoping to earn a walk-on opportunity at an FBS school. Only two even gave him that chance to walk-on – one of those being WKU  – and on July 16 he announced his intention to join the Hilltoppers.
On September 1, only 11 days before WKU’s first game of the season at Louisville, the NCAA granted Narveson immediate eligibility for the 2020 season. All the while, he was competing for the starting kicker job during the Hilltoppers’ fall camp, eventually winning the starting job.
Narveson only had three field goal opportunities through the team’s first five games, but he was always ready when called upon. After hitting his first attempt vs. Liberty of 45 yards, he made a pair from 47 and 53 yards the following game at Middle Tennessee, which were essentially the difference in WKU’s 20-17 victory over the Blue Raiders. For his efforts, he was named Conference USA Special Teams Player of the Week.
That was the first of three wins in which Narveson’s points put the Hilltoppers over the top. He hit on two tries of 32 yards in WKU’s 13-10 win vs. Chattanooga, as well as a 24-yard field goal in the team’s 10-7 win vs. Southern Miss.
“I love being in pressure situations, I live for it. Being a kicker, you’re obviously going to be in those pressure situations here and there, and I think that’s the most fun part,” Narveson said. “Pressure is the chance to show everybody how hard you’ve worked. I take pressure with a grain of salt because a lot of guys would kill to be in the pressure situations that I’m in on the football field.”
He capped the regular season with his best showing yet, going 3-for-3 on field goals and 4-of-4 on extra points in the Hilltoppers’ 37-19 victory at Charlotte and was named C-USA Special Teams Player of the Week for a second time. With a career-high 13 points scored, Narveson became the first WKU kicker to reach that mark since Skyler Simcox had 16 points scored in the 2016 C-USA Championship Game vs. LA Tech.
Narveson could have matched or bested Schwettman’s single-season mark if he went 2-for-2 or better in the 22nd Annual LendingTree Bowl, but there were no field goal opportunities to be had in the Hilltoppers’ 39-21 loss to Georgia State that concluded the 2020 campaign.
So into the offseason the Hilltoppers go. Each player has a different plan and/or philosophy on how to move forward, but Narveson’s plan for continued success is actually to kick as little as possible leading up to spring ball.
“This past offseason was the best – ironically because of COVID – because I was very much focused on not kicking and just getting strong,” he said. “I might kick once or twice all the way until spring, it’s just going to be trying to dominate my legs in the weight room and trying to get stronger everywhere.”
There is no starting spot guaranteed for Narveson for 2021, and he knows that. Whether he or Cory Munson – who was WKU’s placekicker in 2019 – wins the job will be solely up to them.
“That’s just how it is around here – compete, compete, compete – and I love that because I have aspirations to go play in the NFL and those guys are competing on a game-by-game basis,” Narveson said. “It’s good to compete with other people, especially Cory because he’s a really great kicker who has a really bright future as well. It’s really fun competing against him and it makes us a lot better.”
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Bryan Fyalkowski
Associate Director of Media Relations
WKU Hilltopper Athletics


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