SALT LAKE CITY — Matt Gay has gone from soccer player to college kicker to NFL draft pick.
The former Utah kicker was selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the fifth round of the 2019 NFL draft Saturday with the 145th overall pick.
New Bucs kicker Matt Gay says he wasn't sure if he would get drafted, maybe 6th or 7th round. When Bucs called him early in the fifth round: "I was kind of like 'No way. Not right now.' Kind of shocked and overcome with emotion. It was amazing."— Greg Auman (@gregauman) April 27, 2019
The 6-foot, 230-pounder joined the Utes program in 2017 after playing soccer at UVU for two years. During his Utah career, Gay hit 86.15 percent of his field-goal attempts and showed his ability to make the long field goal, making a school-record of eight from 50-plus yards.
Gay was considered the top kicker prospect in this year's draft class. He became the second Utah specialist to be taken in the 2019 draft, after San Francisco took punter Mitch Wishnowsky in the fourth round.
Historical context: Gay, an Orem High product, is the first Ute kicker to ever be taken in the NFL draft.
Accolades: 2017 Lou Groza Award winner, two-time All-American, earning consensus honors in 2017
Scouting Gay: “Gay is a big boy with an even bigger leg who has the ability to drive both the long field goal and the long kickoff. The former soccer player has an awkward, three-step approach to strike field goals which may require some work to make a roster on the next level,” wrote NFL.com analyst Lance Zierlein.