Freshman kicker aiming to start for Badgers - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Freshman kicker aiming to start for Badgers

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Out of all the position battles nine days through camp, it seems freshman kicker Rafael Gaglianone has made the biggest statement. Gaglianone drew the louded roar from the crowd at Camp Randall Stadium on Sunday during the team's scrimmage after hitting a 55-yard field goal. Gaglianone has also won the approval of many of his teammates who often greet the native Brazilian with the "Olé" soccer chant during practice.

Both the fans and players have watched Wisconsin struggle kicking the football during the past two seasons. In 2012 the Badgers were dead last in the Big Ten, making just 10-of-18 field goals and 2013 wasn't much better, as they were 10th in the league hitting 14-of-21 attempts. Wisconsin has been waiting for a reliable kicker and now it appears they have their guy.

“He hit it like a 62-yarder yesterday in practice," Wisconsin head coach Gary Andersen said on Sunday after the scrimmage.

“He’s impressed me. Trust me, it’s great the kicks are going through and that’s awesome, but he handles it. The kids razz him a bit and try to get in his grill. We put him in this situation today and the first one he missed and came back and hit them all in a row.”

Gaglianone was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, but moved to Chattanooga, Tenn as an exchange student where he attended high school. That's where Gaglianone got his first taste of American football, a sports he's only played for three-and-a-half years. Like so many other kids growing up in Brazil, Gaglianone started playing soccer from the moment he could walk. His background in soccer, has given him leg strength he's been able to display on the football field.

Gaglianone said the longest field goal he's made in a game is 57 yards, though he's been able to knock one through from 62 in practice with the wind. The freshman is aware of Wisconsin's recent kicking woes and is aiming to be the solution.

"It's a good environment coming in as a freshman competing right away. I want to be that guy to give the security," Gaglianone said.

"I gotta focus on my process and not the end result. Definitely if I'm pleasing the coach then I'm pleasing myself and my teammates. It's great to please the fans out there too. It's just been a great opportunity for me and and I feel like I did a pretty decent job so far."

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