Pro football’s biggest scouting event is an opportunity for 336 athletes to showcase their skills in an audition for a spot on a pro team’s roster. Tanner Carew is in a league of his own, however. That’s because he’s the only long snapper that received an invite to this year’s event.
You may be wondering how someone becomes so good at such a specialized position. We were, too. So we asked him. As it turns out, Carew got his start in long snapping in a pretty normal way.
“I was just the center for the team in 5th grade and they were like, ‘Hey, can you long snap, too?’” Carew said.
He started practicing a little bit and soon became the team’s long snapper. Carew continued to get better and better every year. He even began to participate in special training and camps for long snappers to hone his craft. Carew became the nation’s best long snapping recruit and got invited to the U.S. Army All-American Game.
Carew played college football at Oregon, where his speed and accuracy as a long snapper began to draw attention from pro scouts. He delivered all 146 snaps accurately as a sophomore and all 134 snaps as a junior.
The long snapper even racked up a few tackles and downed a punt inside the 5-yard line during his career. The secret to his success? It’s the same as any other football player’s.
“Just keep working hard,” Carew said. “The key is to just stay consistent.”
Kickers and punters get most of the glory when it comes to the specialist group, but Carew is the one who starts the whole process. An inaccurate snap can throw off everything, resulting in shanked kicks.
He snapped about 200 snaps to punters and kickers in front of scouts at this week, in addition to running the 40-yard dash and other drills. As the best long snapper in the nation, Carew will likely find himself in the league next year, and is thought by many experts to be a mid-to-late-round draft pick, which is rare for the position.
No matter how it happens or where he lands, Carew is confident that he’ll be snapping for a long time to come.
“Being here in Indy shows I’m doing something right, but there’s more to be done,” Carew said. “I have so much more to work on. I’m not even close to being done.”