P-O place-kicker earns invited walk-on to PSU

Kicking runs in the Boumerhi family – Alex parlayed his time as the place-kicker at Philipsburg-Osceola High School into a gig with the Lock Haven University football team, and his younger brother, Nick, took over the chores with the Mounties.

“He taught me everything I know,” Nick Boumerhi said of his brother, Alex. “I’m just kind of following in his footsteps.”

Now Nick is taking it a step further.

The younger Boumerhi, the Mirror’s first-team all-area kicker as a senior in 2013, decided on Saturday to accept Penn State’s offer for him to join the Nittany Lions as a preferred walk-on during an unofficial vist.

“It was shocking,” Boumerhi said of his feelings to receiving the Penn State offer. “It was awesome. I committed right after he [assistant coach Charles Huff] said that, so that can tell you about my reaction right there.”

Although the Mounties went 1-9 this season, Boumerhi shined, converting on 6-of-7 field goal attempts and 21-of-22 PATs. His long field goal was 43 yards, and he made two more from 42 yards.

Half of Boumerhi’s 38 kickoffs went for touchbacks, and he also averaged 33.7 yards per punt.

“Nick did well at the Eastern Showcase Camp in December of 2012,” said the Kohl’s Kicking website, which ranked the 5-foot-9, 175-pounder as the 67th best kicker in the class but with a chance to get much better.”He has a strong leg and charted well. He does need to hit a cleaner ball during the drill work portion of camp to separate himself from other good kickers. His upside is good and is someone to keep an eye on in 2013, moved up in rankings based on a solid showing at the UC Challenge.”

Boumerhi had been hearing from Syracuse and Pitt early on, but was looking at Gannon, IUP and Shippensburg most closely before Penn State started showing interest last week.

The Lions have been intent on bringing in competition for incumbent place-kicker Sam Ficken in addition to getting a punter and long-snapper. Athens kicker-punter Troy Stivason committed last year to Bill O’Brien’s staff, and Florida’s Jorge Powell, who also both kicks and punts, did so last weekend.

Lower Dauphin kicker Joe Julius, a two-time all-stater and Big 33 Game pick who has backed off a soccer commitment to SIU-Edwardsville, also has been talking with the Lion staff.

Boumerhi committed to Huff and head coach James Franklin as they were sitting and talking to his mother. Boumerhi said his parents were glad to see him wind up at Penn State, which is about a half-hour from his home.

“They completely supported me. They loved it,” Boumerhi said.

Boumerhi took up football in 10th grade after growing up playing soccer. He dropped the latter sport this year to concentrate on place-kicking and has gone out for the wrestling team this winter. He intends to play baseball in the spring.

Boumerhi also is a member of the National Honor Society and the Philipsburg-Osceola Fly-Fishing Club. And he has a younger brother, Aaron, ready to carry on and advance the family’s kicking tradition.

“He’ll be just as good, maybe even better,” Boumerhi said.