Phil Kornblut

One of nation’s top punters making key visit to USC. Is a commitment possible?

It’s rare for a punter to get a major offer early in the recruiting process because most end up starting out as walk-ons.

Unless he has that special leg.

Kai Kroeger of Lake Forest, Illinois, is among the elite at the position, and he’s proven that on the national stage this summer at various big-time camps.

He made South Carolina one of his camp stops and the Gamecocks stepped up with his first major offer. Kroeger (6-3, 190) will return to USC Tuesday for an unofficial visit and talk of a commitment is hanging over him like one of his high, spiraling punts.

“I know my dad and I really enjoy it there,” Kroeger said. “My mom is coming with this time so she can see everything and I know she will love it. We will see how it goes Tuesday.”

Asked if he gets the feeling from Will Muschamp and special teams coach Coleman Hutzler that they are prepared to take a commitment if he’s prepared to make one, Kroeger replied, “Yes.”

Kroeger visited USC in March for a spring practice. He also camped at Penn State and Texas A&M and has made other unofficial visits to Illinois, Iowa, Syracuse, LSU, Minnesota, Indiana and Penn State.

He’s ranked the No. 2 punter in the nation in the 2020 class by Kohl’s Kicking.

“He is prototypical size and hits the most consistent spiral in the country,” Kohl’s Kicking says of Kroeger. “He checks off a lot of boxes with regards to work ethic and composure under pressure. He may be the most game ready player in the 2020 class. Kroeger is a D1 scholarship punter.”