- Andrea Adelson, ESPN Staff Writer
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Your latest Big East trick shot impresario sure can kick.
From a sand pit.
In bare feet. While wearing overalls.
From the bushes.
Through the sprinklers.
And a tire swing.
Not to mention with a giant cone over his head.
And from the back of a golf cart.
You have to see it to believe it.
Pitt kicker Kevin Harper came up with the idea to produce his very own trick shot video from UConn quarterback Johnny McEntee, whose trick shot video has nearly 7 million views since it was posted in February 2011.
Harper has a ways to go to catch up, but he does have an impressive 13,000 views in the week since his YouTube video went up. He decided to make the video as a way to get his name out there, and get some positive pub for the Panthers headed into the season.
So he and long-snapper Kevin Barthelemy devised all the different kicks Harper would do, with inspiration coming from all the different items around the indoor practice facility. Like the tire swing, which Barthelemy rolled in front of Harper just as he began to kick the football.
The ball went through the hole in the middle of the tire and down the middle of the uprights. And it only took two takes to make it look effortless.
Some of the other kicks were not as easy, though. Harper says the hardest one was the bicycle kick, something he had never tried before, not even during his soccer days. The problem was once he got the ball into the air, it would go to the left or right, but never straight. It took about 15 to 20 takes to get that one right.
But for the most part, Harper got all his kicks down rather easily. He filmed on two days in early July between summer sessions, and each taping went two hours. Considering the number of kicks he did, Harper certainly should be applauded for his hard work, determination and creativity.
“If I had a video of me kicking normal field goals, it wouldn’t be quite as entertaining” Harper said. “So I wanted to do more creative and original kicks to make a more entertaining trick shot video.”
The shot he has been asked the most about? The Barefoot Hillbilly, in which he launches a football 50 yards wearing a coonskin hat, denim overalls and no shoes. After the ball goes through the uprights, he does a little impromptu dance.
And yes, those overalls were hanging in his closet, a $2 pickup at the Salvation Army for a party requiring guests to wear something funny.
Then there was the balcony shot, in which Harper launches a ball to a ledge behind the field goal posts. Barthelemy is there to catch the ball in a garbage can. They nailed that one on the first try.
Kory Hartbauer, an intern who works with the Pitt video crew, filmed everything. Then he edited the tape with Harper’s input and published it to YouTube, where most everybody associated with the football program has seen it.
Most everybody. After a team meeting Tuesday, coach Paul Chryst said to Harper, “You’re the YouTube sensation now.” Harper asked Chryst if he had seen the video. Chryst said no. Harper asked why not.
“I’ll see it during the year,” Chryst told him.