AMES, Iowa – Iowa State senior long snapper Steven Wirtel is one of three finalists for the Patrick Mannelly Award, delivered to the nation’s best long snapper.
A native of Orland Park, Ill., Wirtel has been a model of consistency in his four years as Cyclone. He took over long snapping duties as a true freshman in 2016 and has graded out annually as one of the best.
Wirtel has played in all 49 games the last four seasons, taking care of deep snaps on punts in 2016 and 2017. He added snaps for field goals and PATs beginning in 2018. The senior has been perfect throughout his whole career.
“I told people at the beginning of the season that the most important piece of the puzzle on special teams is Steve Wirtel,” Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell said. “He spends countless hours perfecting his craft and what you see on the field is what he does every day in practice.”
Wirtel’s experience and talent was on display during the Texas game on Nov. 16. Facing a 4th-and-5, the Cyclones came out to attempt a 42-yard field goal down 21-20 with just over two minutes remaining in the game.
Wirtel went away from the rhythmic snap and held off on the ready count, drawing Texas to an off-sides penalty. It gave the Cyclones another set of downs. Moments later, Wirtel delivered a perfect snap that set up and easier field goal attempt, a successful 36-yard game-winning kick as time expired.
It was ISU’s first regulation “walk-off” victory since 1983.
“That’s the craftsmanship of Steven Wirtel,” Campbell said. “Those are the things we work on. Steven is one of the best in the country, and credit him for being alert.”
Many NFL executives have listed Wirtel as one of the best long snappers in the 2020 NFL Draft.