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Florida welcomes back former walk-on Dallas Stubbs after public search for kicker

A hometown boy is getting a second chance.

Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Florida's hunt for a second kicker to supplement Austin Hardin after Jorge Powell suffered a serious injury at LSU has concluded — and it turns out that the Gators didn't actually have to look very far for their new addition.

Not even past their old rosters, in fact.

Former Florida walk-on Dallas Stubbs, a Gainesville High product who previously played at Jacksonville and walked on at Florida, once again earned a roster spot as a walk-on on Wednesday, as first tweeted by former Florida gymnast Kytra Hunter (yep!) and his old high school's Twitter account for its football team.

While Anthony Chiang of the Palm Beach Post noted that the news wasn't official, Zach Abolverdi of The Gainesville Sun reported it in the mid-afternoon, with substantial quotes from Stubbs.

"The last time I was on the team, I felt like I didn’t get much of a chance," Stubbs said. "This is just a new opportunity, brand new coaching staff."

Abolverdi reports that Stubbs walked on in 2013, but said he was cut in 2014, after Will Muschamp's staff brought in Brooks Abbott and Powell to compete with Hardin. "Cut" may be a term of art: Florida carried five kickers (one of whom, John Crofoot, served largely as a holder) in 2012, four (not including Stubbs, listed as a punter on Florida's 2013 roster) in 2013, and four in 2014. "Cutting" a walk-on specialist who was not receiving a scholarship just doesn't pass my personal smell test.

Regardless, Stubbs sounds confident — "Having been on the team in the past and not really having a shot, this is special for me," he told Abolverdi, adding "I can prove that I’m able to do it and Muschamp missed out on someone" — and he apparently beat out Abbott and another unidentified student in a competition held in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium after the main portion of tryouts held in Florida's indoor practice facility.

He also made 42 of 50 field goals with Gainesville, per MaxPreps, notably booting 52-yarders in both 2009 and 2011 (his senior season) with the Hurricanes.

While both my thinking and the GHS tweet have Stubbs pegged for a back-up role behind Hardin, Abolverdi writes that he will compete with Hardin for the starting job.