John Curtis punter Kody Schexnayder going to Mississippi State as preferred walk-on _lowres

Advocate staff photo by SHERRI MILLER -- John Curtis kicker Kody Schexnayder in action against De La Salle last season.

As a kid, Kody Schexnayder would play his own version of catch with his twin brother Kyle.

Kyle would throw the football to Kody, and Kody would punt it back.

Kody really started taking it seriously when he got to high school at John Curtis Christian School

Even then, he never thought he would end up kicking in the Southeastern Conference.

“I didn’t even dream about being in the SEC,” Schexnayder said. “Back then I was hoping to just go anywhere and play with whoever will let me play. It didn’t matter.”

Schexnayder will head to Mississippi State this fall and plans to compete for a position.

“I am just ready to get to the next level,” Schexnayder said. “As a lot of people know, I’m a competitor and like to compete.”

Schexnayder’s final two choices were Mississippi State and Washington State. He visited both but decided on the Bulldogs.

“Washington State was great, and they treated me well,” he said. “But Mississippi State was the best situation for me. It was better for my family since it is closer, and it was better education-wise.”

It helped that Mississippi State hired former NFL kicker Chris Boniol as its special teams quality control coach. Boniol spent last season at Louisiana College and recruited Schexnayder while he was there. In fact, Kody’s brother Kyle, who played quarterback at Holy Cross High School, will play at Louisiana College.

Schexnayder, who handled punting and kickoff duties at Curtis, was a first-team selection on the Louisiana Sports Writers Association Class 5A all-state team and The New Orleans Advocate All-Metro Team.

He averaged 43.4 yards per punt as a senior, including a career season-best 77 yarder.

“Without question he was the best punter I saw this year,” Curtis coach J.T. Curtis said. “What separates him from a lot of other kickers is that he will kick it 55 yards when the ball is on the 5, rather than 55 yards when the ball is on the 50. I think his ability to perform under pressure and his natural ability and power in his leg is going to give him an opportunity to be an outstanding kicker in the SEC.”

Curtis said Schexnayder is the third punter he has had go on to play in college: Chris Jackson at LSU and Scott Elder at Oklahoma State.

“Both of those guys were outstanding players in their respective leagues, both good leagues,” Curtis said. “I think Kody can be in that company without any difficulty because he has the technique and the leg power to be in the category with those two guys.”