Zach Hintze gained acclaim as a high school student while at St. Mary’s Springs in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, when he kicked a 61 yard field goal in a game. This helped him land a walk-on opportunity at Wisconsin, where he’d go on to be the kickoff specialist for two and a half years, and be damn good at it.
In 2019, Hintze even saw some field goal duties sporadically, going 2-of-3 with a long of 62 years against Purdue in the home finale for the Badgers. This set a school record, and could lead to Hintze to receive some interest from NFL teams. For his career, Hintze had 234 kickoffs with 177 touchbacks, meaning only 57 kickoffs were returned against the Badgers in his 40 career games, which is extremely impressive.
Weight: 190 pounds
40-yard dash: N/A
Vertical jump: N/A
Broad jump: N/A
Short shuttle: N/A
Three-cone drill: N/A
Bench press: N/A
*Height and weight from the 2019 Wisconsin Badgers roster
Summary: Hintze has been one of the premier kickoff specialists in the country (a real sentence you just read). His ability to generate kickoffs at the college level was extremely important for the defensive success the Badgers have had over the past three seasons, as more often than not, opponents were starting at their own 25 after Badger scores.
While it’s been almost unheard of for the last decade or so (the last team I can remember carrying a kickoff specialist in the NFL was the Ravens when Matt Stover was in his late career), there has been an (admittedly) small, niche market for kickoff specialists in the NFL, and Hintze may have something there. His 62-yard make was impressive, and nothing to bat an eye at.
However, I think Hintze’s ceiling is likely as a rookie camp** (might not happen) tryout with the potential to maybe stick around for a training camp as a second kicker for a team with an established veteran place kicker.
Projected Round: Undrafted free agent