After a mind-boggling 64-yard field goal at the end of regulation in a national playoff game and a game-winning 55-yarder at the buzzer of a regular season contest, it’s no surprise Tarleton kicker Garrett Lindholm was a candidate for NCAA Division II All-America honors.
Lindholm was named a second-team All-American by Daktronics when honors were announced Tuesday afternoon.
“I’m pretty ecstatic to be recognized along with some of the top players in the nation,” Lindholm said. “You look at those lists when you’re younger as a freshman and sophomore and you hope to get on them someday, so to make it is pretty special.”
Special not only for him, but for the Tarleton football program as a whole.
“The guys that make the All-America teams are all great players and they usually play for great teams or they wouldn’t get recognized like that,” Lindholm said. “It’s good when people look at those lists and see that Tarleton has someone there. It shows them that we can play with the big dogs.”
Tarleton head coach Sam McElroy was not surprised to hear of Lindholm being honored.
“Garrett had a great season and a tremendous career here. He is very deserving,” McElroy said. “Anytime a player is mentioned in All-American talks it’s great for that player and for our program.”
The senior from Pflugerville broke a school record for longest field goal with his 55-yarder to beat Midwestern State 31-28 on Oct. 10. Little did anyone know at the time he was just warming up.
Lindholm saved his best performance for the post season, hitting a Division II playoff record 64-yard field goal as time expired to send an opening round game into overtime at Texas A&M-Kingsville. The Texans eventually won 57-56 in the second overtime.
The 64-yard field goal is a yard longer than the NFL record and the second longest field goal at any level to be kicked without the use of a tee. The longest was a 65-yard shot by Martin Gramatica for Kansas State in 1998.
He also hit a 27-yard chip shot in the first overtime at Kingsville, and was 2-2 on three-point kicks in the second round at Central Washington.
When it was all said and done, Lindholm was 15-18 on field goals for the season, including a perfect 10-10 from inside 40 yards. He was 5-8 from 40-49 yards and 2-2 from beyond 50. He went 43-45 on extra point attempts and drilled 22 touchbacks with an average kickoff distance of 63.4 yards.
Lindholm was not recognized on the American Football Coaches Association All-America team as that honor went to Greg Zuerlein of Nebraska-Omaha. First-team accolades on the Daktronics team, which is voted on by sports information directors, went to Chadron State’s Travis Atter.
Zuerlein was 17-23 on field goal attempts including 12-14 inside 40 yards and just 4-8 from beyond 40. His long was 52. He did have more touchbacks (30) and a slightly longer average off the tee (64.6) than Lindholm.
Atter was 18-24 on field goals. He was 10-12 inside 40 and 8-12 from over 40. Like Zuerlein, his season long was 52 yards. Atter had just seven touchbacks off the tee.
McElroy admits he was surprised Lindholm was not a first-team honoree.
“Yeah, I was surprised, but there are a lot of things that go into selecting the names for those teams and to be honored at all is a great accomplishment,” McElroy said.
“I know some people feel that way,” Lindholm said when asked if it was a shocker to not be named to the first-team. “Personally if I got honorable mention it would have been enough for me. I’ve just always wanted to make (the All-America team). Getting first-team would be nice, but for people to say you’re the second best in the entire nation is still nice.”
The honor came after Lindholm had already been named first-team all-conference and all-region.
Lindholm helped the Texans to a 10-3 record, just the third 10-win season in school history. They reached the Division II playoffs for the third time and won a post season game for just the second time since joining Division II in 1994.
Tarleton also won a share of the Lone Star Conference league-wide title for the second time and a share of the LSC South championship for the third time.