Johnson Long Snapper Earns National Honor
Special To Welcome Home
Football specialty players, like long snappers, often fly under the radar. In order to fine-tune their skills, they must go above and beyond, often traveling far and wide in order to attend camps, events and specialty training. Their hope: be an asset to their school team, prepare for the next level of play, and catch the eye of college coaches. Karsten Battles, a senior at Johnson High School has moved one step closer to achieving this goal.
On July 8, Karsten traveled to Rock Hill, South Carolina to compete at Football University (FBU) Top Gun Showcase. He earned the FBU invitation by excelling at the Rubio Long Snapping Vegas Event in January earlier this year. Karsten’s FBU performance did not disappoint. He earned a well-deserved spot as a U.S. Army All American. Karsten will start for the West Team as the long snapper at the U.S. Army All American Bowl at the Alamodome on January 6, 2018. He is one of only two long snappers in the entire United States to earn the honor of playing amongst high school football’s best of the best.
“I love competition,” Battles said. “Pressure doesn’t affect me. I don’t feel it, which is good, because when I am in the game, I’m there to make sure everything’s going smoothly in the highest pressure situation possible.”
The 6’1” 245-pound 18-year-old also plays on his high school offensive line. He was named 2016 26-6A First Team All-District Special Teams MVP and Honorable Mention Offense-Line. He was ranked number one long-snapper in Texas and best in the Southwest United States by region for the class of 2018. In addition, Karsten was a semi-finalist for the Chris Rubio High School Long Snapper Award in 2016. In May, he was awarded the designation of 5 Star Athlete and on July 19 was selected as one of the Top 12 Long Snappers at Rubio’s invitation-only Top 12 Camp in Tampa, Florida.
Karsten began training with national coach Chris Rubio, president and owner of Rubio Long Snapping, in April 2016. Rubio’s long snapping instruction is among the best in the world. He has designed ranking and training systems and is the “go-to man” when a college coach needs a long snapper. In 2017 alone, over 150 long snappers who have worked with Rubio are now committed to colleges. He also works with NFL professionals.
Since training with Rubio, Karsten’s snapping technique has been on fire. On June 30, he set a national RSI speed and accuracy record of 86.91, blowing away the previous record of 65.22. RSI is a measure designed to quantify a long snapper’s skill level.
“Karsten is an intelligent and hard-working student athlete, who devotes many hours to be the best,” said Bruce Gillespie, offensive line and deep snapping coach for Johnson. “He has traveled the nation, gaining top status as one of the best snappers in his age group,” He was 100 percent on all his snaps for punt and field goals last year. He also lends his knowledge to future snappers at local camps for upcoming prospects. We look forward to his leadership at tackle as well as deep snapper for the 2017 season.”
Teammate and Johnson quarterback John Guerra also had words of praise for Karsten.
“I love Karsten’s snaps because they are near perfect,” he said. “I can always count on Karsten to get the ball to me fast and with the laces in the perfect spot. And he has great character. Every team needs to be comprised of guys like Karsten.”
Karsten’s dream is to earn a D1 college scholarship (offers pending) where he can long snap, not to mention his plans to major in mechanical engineering. The offer he chooses will include admission to the school’s college of engineering.
Long snappers don’t get the spotlight, but Karsten is extremely determined to be the best he can be regardless of who is watching.
“Everyone just assumes we are going to do it right,” Karsten said. “If a long snapper has seven good snaps and one bad one – he’s fired, and everyone hates him. If I mess up, more than likely, the other team scores. If a quarterback has seven touchdowns and one interception – he’s a hero.”
Karsten gives the glory for his success to God. His faith is an important part of his strength. He has inscribed Psalms 16:8 on everything from his letter jacket to his baseball hats. “I know the Lord is always with me, I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.” His steadfast character and attitude of service are the reasons the Johnson football coaches selected him to attend NEISD leadership camp this summer. He takes this responsibility seriously.
“I’m extremely determined to be the best at whatever I’m doing,” Battles said. “I have a hard work ethic. I always strive to be better and to make the team better.”
“His work ethic is beyond belief, and he deserves to be called an All American,” Guerra added.
Cutlines: Karsten Battles, Johnson High School football long snapper, with Chris Rubio, president and owner of Rubio Long Snapping, earned his spot this summer as a U.S. Army All American. He will start as the West Team’s long snapper at the U.S. Army All American Bowl, held in the Alamodome in downtown San Antonio January 6, 2018.
Karsten Battles, Johnson High School football captain. First snap of the 2016 football season.