Kirby Van Der Kamp gears up for NFL tryout


Kelby Wingert/Iowa State Daily

Senior punter Kirby Van Der Kamp punts the ball for NFL scouts during 2014 Pro Day on March 25 at the Bergstrom Football Complex.

Max Dible

Former ISU punter Kirby Van Der Kamp’s presence has been officially requested by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and he will report for roll call in Florida on May 15.

Despite being one of the highest rated punters in last weekend’s NFL draft according to, Van Der Kamp was not selected by a professional franchise. However, that has not phased him. He said it was what he was expecting.

“I was looking at free agency and going that way because as a punter it is hard to go in the draft,” Van Der Kamp said. “You just have to see what the market is like and go from there.”

Currently, the market is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Van Der Kamp was informed by his agent that he is on a few team’s short lists, but the first bite on the line came from central Florida. That is where Van Der Kamp is headed to participate in a rookie camp slated to last from May 15 through May 18.

Van Der Kamp said that because he is left-footed he has a distinct advantage in NFL tryouts.

“They are bringing in a lefty… because lefties are hard to prepare for and have a little different flight to the ball,” Van Der Kamp said. “I have got to come in and perform consistently and hopefully get invited back on that performance.”

Van Der Kamp said that it is possible the Buccaneers contacted him as a psychological ploy to motivate veteran punter Michael Koenen, who is entering his 10th year in the NFL and fourth year with Tampa Bay.

In part because of this dynamic, which is not uncommon among NFL franchises, Van Der Kamp said if he is offered the roster spot he and his agent will consider his options thoroughly before making any final decisions.

“It depends on how interested they are or if they are just bringing me in to push the older guy,” Van Der Kamp said. “I could sign with Tampa this summer or I could bounce around all summer with different teams.”

Which team to sign with was not an issue with which Van Der Kamp expected to contend until recently.

He grew up playing soccer and did not begin punting seriously until his junior year at Valley High School in West Des Moines. He said he was not even considering the NFL as an option until his final season at Iowa State.

“I have had some good past years, but I really was not looking at [the NFL]. I was just looking to improve for my team,” Van Der Kamp said. “But then you see your name out there and people start talking to you… and you can be excited about that, but you have got to keep a level head.”

In preparation for what could be a summer full of NFL tryouts, Van Der Kamp has been taking steps to improve his consistency, which he said is a paramount trait for a placement oriented, directional-type of punter such as himself.

Van Der Kamp said he has gotten away from the field a bit to keep his leg fresh but has been undertaking power exercises and has enrolled in a yoga class to increase his flexibility.

Van Der Kamp also sought out a coach, Darren Bennett, who played in the NFL from 1994-2005 and was named to two pro-bowl teams as well as the NFL 1990’s all-decade team.

Van Der Kamp said that heading into the weekend, his only focus is on his consistency and performing on what will be one of the biggest weekends of his football career up to this point.

“You just have to wait and see where you get picked up and where you are going, then make the best of those opportunities,” Van Der Kamp said.