It might be the age of the long snapper, and Oklahoma State specialist Matt Hembrough is reaping the hard-earned benefits.
Hembrough on Monday was announced as one of three finalists for the Patrick Mannelly Award, given annually to the top long snapper in the FBS. The other two finalists are Penn State’s Chris Stoll and UCF’s Alex Ward.
During his pre-West Virginia press conference, Mike Gundy said he believed Hembrough would “play in the pros.”
“He came on his own,” said Gundy of Hembrough. “Those guys are aware that they can come here and walk on and if they end up doing it, they get put on scholarship. We knew that he was a good player but not like that.
“It’s hard to know when you have a young kid that they’re going to be like that good. Like, he’s really good.”
Hembrough is so good that he was named an AFCA Second-Team All-American last season, which was the first year the organization recognized long snappers. And now he’s a finalist for a national award that is just in its fourth year of existence.
Last week, Hembrough was asked about his being included as a semifinalist for the award.
“I’m super blessed and super lucky to be on the list,” said Hembrough. “There’s a ton of really good snappers on there. I hope that I will be there in Chicago as one of the finalists, and hopefully win it. But right now, I’m just focused on West Virginia and winning, and finishing my career here strong and with a win. Whatever happens, happens. If I’m fortunate enough to make it on the finalist list, I’ll be very blessed and enjoy the process after that.”
It looks like he got his wish. Hembrough and the other finalists will be hosted for a ceremony on Dec. 10 where the 2022 Patrick Mannelly Award winner will be announced.