Robert Stevens – General Assignments Reporter
Maki Medici, senior kicker for the Utica College Pioneers football team, picked up where he left off in the 2019 season as he received his first accolade of the potential 2020-2021 season as a Preseason All-American according to D3football.com.
Medici continued his rise to stardom as a Pioneer with the recognition as a third-team specialist. He is coming off of his best season to date with the momentum of going into the potential spring season.
His list of accolades include an honorable mention All-American, Empire 8 Special Teams Player of the Year, second team All-ECAC honoree, All-East Region first team and a two-time All-Conference member as both punter and kicker.
When it was first announced, Medici talked about how he had no idea why people were congratulating him. But, when he found out, it was nothing but raw emotion.
“It was very overwhelming,” Medici said. “It adds a level of prestige I have to make for everyone who put me in this position. I can’t thank everyone enough. I want to shout out Coach Blaise Faggiano for making me understand how important special teams is. My first kicking coach Ben Atwood for teaching me how to properly punt and now Coach Keith Scranton for keeping me mentally stable and calm.”
Faggiano was not surprised at all about the selection. He talked on the importance of pairing him alongside long snapper Anthony Dicunto and the rest of his number one ranked punt defensive team. Faggiano emphasized his determination to become a better player every time he walks on the field and how much he can change the game.
“Every time he goes onto the field, he controls so much of the field position in the football game,” Faggiano said. “That’s him. Positive, hardworking, and a really good example for both our upper and underclassmen.”
Converting 78.9% (15-19) of his kicks last season and 88.5% (31-35) on extra point attempts, Medici was ranked fifteenth in the nation in terms of field goal percentage, second in the nation in field goals per game with 1.5, and finished fourth in field goal percentage in a single season in program history.
Medici also led the Empire 8 in field goals made, field goals attempted and field goal percentage. Medici also kicked the game-winning field goal against Morrisville in his first-year to propel UC to its first bowl win almost two years ago against Ithaca College; a game that Medici says changed everything for him as a kicker.
“I don’t like being in the spotlight, but I want people to know that if there is a time they need me, I will perform,” Medici said. “At Ithaca, it was my time to shine. I remember crying tears of joy for the first time in my life after that game. At that point, I knew special teams were widely overlooked and I should take it seriously for times like Ithaca.”
Beyond the field, Medici is a well-respected student and teammate at Utica College. He was the captain of the team’s accountability program last season. Regarded as hardworking, cool and bright, there is more than meets the eye with Medici. And, with times as uncertain as these, a personality similar to that of Medici is needed according to Faggiano.
“The first thing you like about Medici is his competitiveness,” Faggiano said. “The way he is: We need that type of attitude with everything going on right now. It’s easy to be frustrated. But he still goes out there and works hard every day.”
Medici’s final season with Utica won’t be until next fall as the NCAA grants an additional year of eligibility.
“At the end of the day, it doesn’t mean anything if you don’t win games,” Medici said.