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Pipeline: Ex-Gateway kicker starting as Syracuse freshman

Ryan Lichtenstein

5-10, 150

freshman

Approximately 400 highlight tapes later, Ryan Lichtenstein landed a walk-on invitation to kick for Syracuse.

Three weeks into the college football season, the true freshman is the starting kicker for the Orange.

"He's just excited about the opportunity," said Terry Smith, who coached Lichtenstein when he was a three-year starter at Gateway high school. "The whole time when he was going through the recruiting process, all he'd say is, 'I want an opportunity. I want a chance to prove myself.' He's living a dream and showing people he deserves to be a Division I kicker."

Lichtenstein is commonly linked to the 2007 WPIAL championship game when he missed an extra point in overtime. Central Catholic scored on the next drive and converted the game-winning extra point.

There's a catch, though -- that missed kick had more to do with the hold than Lichtenstein.

"The truth is the ball came off the tee, and (Lichtenstein) took it for the team knowing that," Smith said. "He never once said a word about it. He's that kind of kid."

Lichtenstein has moved on from that kick and that game thanks to the help he had from his father and Smith in the recruiting process.

Minnesota and Boston College invited Lichtenstein to walk on, but Lichtenstein felt he had the best opportunity at Syracuse.

He was right.

With the departure of Shane Raupers - who Lichtenstein battled during camp - Lichtenstein earned the starting job and a scholarship.

"I'm excited to get the opportunity to play," Lichtenstein told The Syracuse Post-Standard. "It's a great honor to play at Syracuse. To play college football is a dream come true."

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