The first time Marshalltown senior Tyler Kluver ever snapped in a varsity football game was during the fourth quarter of the 2009 Class 4A state semifinal contest against Dowling Catholic.
And it was the 28th point of a contest that saw the Bobcats advance to the championship game with a 28-25 victory.
Kluver would have never predicted what his career would lead to three years later - a verbal commitment to the University of Iowa and a chance to play in the 2013 Under Armour All-America High School Football Game.
T-R PHOTO BY TROY HYDE
Marshalltown High School football coach David Holdiman, left, shakes the hand of Tyler Kluver during a press conference Wednesday at MHS. Kluver will play in the 2013 Under Armour All-America High School Football Game in January and was awarded his jersey by the representatives of the game.
"It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me for sure," Kluver said. "In that moment back when I snapped in that first game, you don't have time to think about stuff like this. You just go get the job done."
Kluver was awarded his game jersey for the All-American game Wednesday as the American Family Insurance Selection Tour made its way through Marshalltown. Kluver is just one of 90 athletes who will play in the sixth annual game on Jan. 4, 2013, at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. He will be a long snapper for one of the teams in the game.
"You can't plan a more perfect story, and I am fortunate enough to be able to do this at a national level," Kluver said.
The presentation of Kluver's jersey was done in the Marshalltown High School cafeteria during 'A' Lunch period Wednesday. The press conference featured representatives for the game, Kluver's family, Marshalltown head coach David Holdiman and several MHS students and faculty.
"It's a great day to be a Bobcat," said Holdiman, who gave most of the credit for Tyler's long-snapping abilities to MHS offensive line coach Todd Kluver, Tyler's father. "It speaks volumes to Tyler's commitment for a vital skill in football. Kicking game skills are game changers. And we don't have to worry about something funky happening with our long snaps."
Kluver is ranked as the No. 2 long snapper in the nation by kohlskicking.com and No. 4 by ESPN.com. He recently gave his verbal commitment to the University of Iowa, and after redshirting next season, he plans to be the Hawkeyes' long snapper for four years.
"The people that do this for Under Armour have to do this 90 times so they get this thing right," Tyler said. "it's not only a great thing for me, but it's great for the other 89 guys as well. They do a great job of making the players feel special."
Kluver is one of just two native Iowans to ever play in the game. The other athlete to represent Iowa is current Hawkeye wide receiver Keenan Davis.
"Being one of only two Iowans is great," Tyler said. "It's a good opportunity to show the nation that we can play football in Iowa, too."
Long snapping is just like kicking and punting in that it is a skill that requires plenty of man hours to perfect. Kluver said that since he returned home from his kicking camps this summer, he has snapped footballs into a homemade target 75-100 times every night.
"If you do something that many times, you are bound to be good at it," he said. "Being able to do it well though is all about the repetitions. It's about the work ethic and the drive to want to be the best."
Kluver, who received a hat and a jacket at the press conference, and his Under Armour All-American Game teammates will fly into Florida on Dec. 30. They will practice all week at the Wide World of Sports facility located in Orlando, Fla. The game will be Jan. 4, 2013.
Todd Kluver said he and his family just finalized their plans for the trip. They also will leave Dec. 30 and return home with Tyler on Jan. 5, 2013.
"Football players in Iowa don't get as much recognition because there are a lot more small towns and a lot less large-market media outlets," said Todd Kluver, who also played football at the University of Iowa. "But we hope to use this game to show the nation that Iowa has talented football players too."
The game will air on ESPN at 4 p.m. on Jan. 4, 2013. Past athletes to have played in the game include current NFL stars Trent Richardson, Julio Jones and A.J. Green.