Jonathan Garibay losing kicking battle in Cowboys’ camp

Texas Tech football fans will never forget the 62-yard field goal that Jonathan Garibay hit last season to beat Iowa State as time expired. But given the way he’s kicking in training camp for the Dallas Cowboys, it seems as if we won’t get to see him continue to create heroic moments in the NFL.

Signed by the Cowboys in the spring as an undrafted rookie free agent, Garibay has been in a competition for the Cowboys’ kicking job this offseason. His competitor is Liram Hajrullahu, a two-time All-Star in the Canadian Football League.

Thus far, neither kicker has done enough to make the Cowboys feel completely comfortable about the kicking position. But there is no doubt that Hajrullahu has been the far better kicker.

On Saturday, Garibay had perhaps his worst day of camp yet. According to Michael Gehlkin of The Dallas Morning News, who is reporting live from Cowboys camp in Oxnard, California, Garibary was just 4-11 on field goal attempts while Hajrullahu was 8-11. Gehlkin went on to Tweet that the competition has been a “runaway” for Hajrullahu.

This comes on the heels of several bad days for Garibay early in camp. On Thursday, Garibay was just 4-8 on field goal attempts, on August 1st he was 0-2 in what Cowboys refer to as “mojo moments” which are essentially manufactured high-pressure situations (though he was 6-8 overall that day ), and on July 30, Garibay was reportedly just 4-8 on his opportunities.

But Saturday seemed to be rock bottom for the Red Raider alum. Included in his misses was a dreadful flop from 33 yards out on an extra-point attempt. The kick popped up into the air and fell comically short of the goal posts leading to quite a bit of social media ridicule. But it isn’t a laughing matter for Tech fans who were hoping to see Garibay make the roster for America’s Team. (Be warned, the video below from Newy Scruggs of NBC in Dallas is not pretty.)

It’s surprising to see Garibay struggle this mightily. After all, he was one of the better kickers in recent Texas Tech football history.

Kicking two seasons for the Red Raiders, he converted on 85.2% of his career field goal attempts in college. That included going 15-16 (93.8%) in 2021 on his way to earning first-team All-Big 12 honors.

But now, he’s likely headed towards being cut, perhaps even before the Cowboys play their first preseason game. That’s how poor he’s been in training camp.

Perhaps he has developed a confidence crisis or perhaps the pressure of trying to earn a job is proving too much for him to overcome. But pressure is something that NFL kickers must be accustomed to.

For what it’s worth, Hajrullahu has a history of coming through in big moments as a professional. Most notably, he kicked the game-winning field goal in the 2017 Gray Cup (the Canadian Football League’s version of the Super Bowl) for the Toronto Argonauts.

Hopefully, it isn’t too late for Garibay to turn it around but given how dreadful he’s been, that seems like a bit of a stretch. It appears that the once reliable Red Raider who kicked the most famous field goal in program history is on the verge of seeing his NFL dream come to an end.

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