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Western alum Karty hopes to turn pro, ready for next level of kicks

By Bob Sutton

Special to The Alamance News

Western Alamance alum Joshua Karty is looking to build on the success of four years at Stanford in professional football.

He has declared for the NFL Draft, giving up his collegiate eligibility to pursue a kicking job.

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“My mentality the whole time was I’m going to try to milk as much as possible out of school and then if the NFL really comes calling and it makes sense to leave early then that would be the decision to make,” he said.

Karty became one of the best college kickers for the past three seasons after a redshirt year in 2020. He excelled in 2022, but decided another college season would be worth it on several levels.

“I had a good season and probably could have declared, and maybe gotten drafted but probably signed somewhere and given an opportunity,” he said. “It made more sense after that year to come back to Stanford and finish my degree. I finished my computer science undergrad major this past quarter. I’m all squared away, turned in my last assignment.”

Now, there’s no turning back. He signed with an agent, using California-based Wasserman Group.

“What made not being in college seem real was signing the actual contract. This is the dream ever since I started out. This is like Plan A. I would have really enjoyed my time at Stanford for a fifth year, but I’m really excited about it.”

– Stanford senior Joshua Karty

 

“What made not being in college seem real was signing the actual contract,” Karty said. “This is the dream ever since I started out. This is like Plan A. I would have really enjoyed my time at Stanford for a fifth year, but I’m really excited about it.”

Karty’s production came in many clutch situations.

“I set some pretty high goals going into Stanford. I reached a lot of them,” he said. “Wasn’t perfect by any means. Have four or five games I’d like to have back. There has been a lot more highlights than lowlights.”

He said his best game might have been in 2022 vs. Arizona State, with Stanford winning 15-14 on five field goals. That came a week after the Cardinal’s 16-14 upset at Notre Dame with three field goals.

Kicking against Cal earlier this season.

Then this year at Colorado, the Cardinal trailed 29-0 and Karty had missed a field goal. A couple of hours later, he drilled a 46-yarder as time expired in regulation to send the game to overtime and then won it with a 31-yarder to complete a stunning outcome on a national televised game in prime time.

“My team gave me an opportunity to redeem myself pretty much in regulation and then again in overtime,” he said. “That victory was by far the most fun feeling I’ve ever had, and I think that my teammates ever had too. It worked out well for us that night and it was a lot of fun.”

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Stanford has had three consecutive 3-9 seasons. That was a sharp contrast to playing for Western Alamance.

“Compared to high school [at western alamance] when you win almost every week, when you’re not winning a lot, the victories are a lot sweeter. Different perspective, for sure.”

– Joshua Karty on high school vs. college seasons

“We were never used to losing,” Karty said.

Those 3-9 seasons were all part of the process.

“I’m not used to losing like that, so it does make all those victories a whole lot more sweeter,” he said. “Compared to high school when you win almost every week, when you’re not winning a lot, the victories are a lot sweeter. Different perspective, for sure.”

 

Come and watch

The Colorado game provided another layer of satisfaction.

Adam Willets, who was a Western assistant coach when Karty played in high school, attended the game. It’s the only time one of his Western coaches saw him kick in college.


Karty credits Western coaches

“Coach [Jeff] Snuffer, Coach [Brian] Vaughn, Coach [Adam] Willets and all my Warriors family back at Western Alamance High School, thank you. My dream began with you.”

– Joshua Karty announcing plans to turn pro in 2024


Willets, a former college kicker at Campbell, and Brian Vaughn gave him kicking guidance at Western under coach Jeff Snuffer.

So when Karty announced his intentions to turn pro, they weren’t overlooked.

“Coach Snuffer, Coach Vaughn, Coach Willets and all my Warriors family back at Western Alamance High School, thank you. My dream began with you,” the statement read in part.

Karty, who’s the son of Burlington’s Joel and Valerie Karty, elaborated on that connection.

“Mentioning those guys in that post, it was kind of a no-brainer for me because they’ve really given me all the opportunities in the world to be who I am today and have success,” he said. “Without the three of them, I probably wouldn’t be here today. That doesn’t take away from all the other coaches that were there, too. Every coach at my high school were all really awesome and really supportive of everything I did and set out to do.”

In the week prior to Christmas, Karty stopped by Western to visit former teachers. He ended up there for hours.

The association to his high school alma mater is important to him. That’s where he was shaped on and off the field.

 

ACC angle

With Stanford joining the Atlantic Coast Conference beginning next summer, that caught Karty’s attention.

“It gave me a second thought, for sure, because we play at N.C. State next year,” he said. “I know 20, 30 people who go to N.C. State.”

The Cardinal also plays in 2024 at Clemson.

“Almost all my high school coaches have never seen me play in college,” he said. “It would have been a really good opportunity for them to come out. So it gave me a second thought for a second, but not quite enough. I’m sad I missed it by one year. It would have been really fun.”

Karty said the much-discussed impact on Stanford athletes regarding the new conference affiliation should be fine for football. He said the team would be on a plane trip for all Pac-12 games except when playing at California.

“The travel is not really that big of an issue, at least for football,” he said, though noting the lifestyle changes for other sports. “For football, an away game is an away game, whether it’s two hours to Oregon or five hours to North Carolina and it’s only a couple days a year.”

 

Anguishing ending

Karty’s final play in college came on a 56-yard field goal attempt with Stanford trailing visiting Notre Dame 49-16 in the regular-season finale.

The kick was blocked. Then it became worse for Karty.

“I was trying to make a tackle,” he said. “I kind of got blocked into the ground by the lead blocker and just kind of landed pretty funny on my shoulder and broke my collarbone pretty nicely. Got surgery on it a couple of days later.”

He ended with a single-season Stanford record 23 field goals. That was the sixth-highest total in the Football Bowl Subdivision. Eleven of his makes were from 40 or more yards. His career percentage of 85 percent is tops at Stanford.

The collarbone broke in two places, with surgery resulting in two plates and seven screws. He said it’s his first broken bone, but he’ll be able to resume regular training in January.

“It’s doing quite well,” he said. “Overall, it’s not a bad injury.”

There were so many good moments on college fields for Karty that going to the locker room with an injury in the final game didn’t add up.

“My last play in college, not quite how I wanted it to finish,” he said. “But it’s a good story.”

Karty received several postseason honors. He was dubbed a first-team All-American by Pro Football Focus and a second-team choice by The Athletic. He also was an All-Pac-12 first-team selection for the second year in a row. Stanford hadn’t had an All-Pac-12 first player in consecutive seasons in 10 years.

 

The coming months

After the season, Karty said it was clear the pro route would be best after discussions with his agent, Doug Hendrickson of the Wasserman Group, and advisors.

Before he returned to North Carolina for the holidays, he flew to Los Angeles to sign with the agency.

Karty will have another game representing Stanford. He has accepted an invitation to play in the Senior Bowl. That game, which features NFL prospects, is set for February 3 at Mobile, Alabama.

So it should be a busy stretch ahead.

He’ll move to an apartment in Charlotte to train under kicking guru Dan Orner prior to the Senior Bowl.

Then it will be back to Charlotte before the NFL combine and Pro Day back at Stanford in advance of April’s draft.

“To be in Charlotte with my trainer, that was an easy decision for me,” Karty said, noting an association with Orner “since sophomore year of high school when I started to take some leaps.”

He plans to go through spring commencement in Stanford.

He hopes his next football stop is determined by the draft.


Photos courtesy of Stanford Athletics

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