Ruben Varela is a class of 2022 punter/kicker for Kenner Discovery in Kenner, Louisiana. Varela is 5’9” and 205 lbs. Ruben does everything from punting, kicking, kickoffs, and extra points in games; to scout team defensive lineman in practice. Ruben is a competitor, a kicker who feeds off the crowd noise, and a student who boasts a 3.2 GPA. Ruben was named First Team All-District in both sophomore and junior seasons, as well as, All State Honorable Mention in his junior season.
How long have you been playing football?
R: I played for a little bit when I was young but I didn’t really find the passion for the sport until I picked it up again sophomore year of highschool.
Do you or did you play any other sports?
R: I played soccer my freshman year, and then cross country for a bit but neither compared to my love for football. However, I am planning to join the track & field team in the spring to help keep myself in shape for football.
What is your preference, punter or kicker? Why?
R: I would definitely have to say kicker. I just love the feeling of being out on the field when it matters the most. The pressure, the adrenaline rush that you get from the fans, and the support that I get from my teammates on the sideline cheering me on is something that drives my competitive nature.
What did your off-season training regiment look like?
R: I was training a lot this off-season, mostly with the football team. I was really trying to focus on punting because it’s the part of my game that I feel needs the most work. On off-days, I would go through my technique and try to enhance that muscle memory and keep that concept down. Aside from that I was working out a lot and running to get ready for this season.
Do you have any goals for the upcoming season?
R: Our team goal is a state championship and so I want to do everything that I can to help us get there. My personal goal though, is to inspire the guys who are younger than me. I want to be a role model and leave a lasting memory for them so that they can be even better when they become the upperclassmen.
What is your field goal long in both practice and games?
R: In practice, my longest is 50 yards, in a game it is 43 yards. Surprisingly enough, my longest field goal came in my first highschool game. But in total honesty, I am never really in the position where I need to kick from very far because of how talented our team is.
What is your average punt hang time?
R: When I was working on it this off-season, it was around 3.7 seconds.
What is your punt long?
R: About thirty to forty yards.
How would your teammates describe you?
R: I believe that my teammates would describe me as a great leader. I am a guy who always cares about the guy who is next to me, someone who is constantly pushing my teammates to be better versions of themselves.
What is a part of your game that you feel will translate to the next level?
R: I am a very competitive person not just kicking wise but in everything. I’ll run with the scout team defense playing defensive line usually, but wherever the coach needs me in practice I always compete and that is something that I take pride in.
What is a part of your game that you feel like you need to get better at?
R: I would say my consistency. I tend to overthink kickoffs and punts so just trying to keep it simple and focus on my motion is something that I am working on.
Do you have any role models who have inspired you? It can be kicking related or just life?
R: Justin Tucker is probably the guy who has inspired me from a kicking standpoint. Just the way he always seems so calm and can react to everything is something that I try to copy in my game. Other than that, my biggest role models are my parents. They have supported me through everything and I am very lucky to have parents like them in my life.
What are you thinking pre-snap before a kick?
R: My dad would always tell me to “act like you’re throwing a dart.” Just think about your motion and let your mind do the rest. So I just try and keep that in mind.
What is something that recruiters should know about you?
R: Just that I earned my spot. I work hard to better myself mentally and no matter what situation that I am put in you are going to see my work ethic translate.
Do you have a spot on the field you prefer to kick from on field goals?
R: Probably the left hash. Going over my opposite leg on the right hashcan be uncomfortable.
What is a time you went through significant adversity and how did you get through it?
R: My first two years on the team were hard for me. We had a lot of team success but personally it was a tough hill to climb because I was not getting the playing time I wanted so I felt like I was not helping us win. It took my friends building me up and me realizing that my personal success isn’t as important as the team’s success to get me through that time
Why do you play football?
R: I play for the rush that it gives me. As a freshman, I understood stepping out on the field with a whole team of guys who will have your back is a feeling that you can’t recreate. Also the teamwork aspect of football unlike other sports. Everyone has their own job to do every play and if we do it in unison we succeed, if we don’t we fail.
Do you think football has affected you as a person?
R: Football has definitely affected me in a positive way. It has taught me to take advantage of this time and treat every play like it is my last on a football field.
Has football taught you any valuable lessons?
R: It has taught me to set an example for those around me. The more that I show leadership skills, the more I impact the younger guys. Even when you don’t know what someone is going through, you can impact their lives just by keeping a positive attitude and putting your best foot forward.
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