Jonathan Garibay loses a kicking fight at the Cowboys camp

Texas Tech football fans will never forget the 62-yard field goal Jonathan Garibay made last season to beat Iowa State on time. But given the way he‘s kicking in training camp for the Dallas Cowboys, it seems like we’re not seeing him continue to create heroic moments in the NFL.

Garibay was signed by the Cowboys as an undrafted rookie free agent in the spring and has been in a contest for the Cowboys’ kicking job this offseason. His competitor is Liram Hajrullahu, a two-time All-Star in the Canadian Football League.

So far none of the kickers have done enough to make the cowboys completely comfortable in the kick position. But there is no doubt that Hajrullahu was the far better kicker.

On Saturday, Garibay had perhaps his worst camp day yet. According to Michael Gehlkin of The Dallas Morning News, reporting live from Cowboys camp in Oxnard, Calif., Garibary was only 4-11 on field goal attempts while Hajrullahu was 8-11. Gehlkin went on to tweet that the competition was an “outlier” for Hajrullahu.

This follows several bad days for Garibay early in camp. On Thursday, Garibay was only 4-8 on field goal attempts, but on Aug. 1 he was 0-2 in what Cowboys call “mojo moments,” which are essentially artificial high-pressure situations (though he did overall that day 6-8 standing ) and on July 30, Garibay reportedly only had 4-8 on his chances.

But Saturday seemed to be the rock bottom for the Red Raider graduate. His misses included a terrible flop from 33 yards on an extra point attempt. The kick bounced up in the air and funnily enough fell short of the goalposts, prompting quite a bit of mockery on social media. But it’s no laughing matter for tech fans who were hoping to see Garibay in the America’s roster. (Be warned, the video below of NBC’s Newy Scruggs in Dallas isn’t pretty.)

It’s surprising to see Garibay fighting so hard. After all, he was one of the better kickers in recent Texas Tech football history.

He started two seasons with the Red Raiders and converted 85.2% of his field goal attempts in college. That included a 15-16 (93.8%) in 2021 on his way to the All-Big 12 first-team honorary title.

But now he’s likely on his way to being cut, maybe even before the Cowboys play their first preseason game. That’s how poor he was in training camp.

Perhaps he has developed a crisis of confidence, or perhaps the pressure to earn a job is proving too much for him to overcome. But pressure is something NFL kickers have to be used to.

For what it’s worth, Hajrullahu has a history of coming through as a pro in big moments. Most notably, he scored the game-winning field goal in the 2017 Gray Cup (the Canadian Football League’s version of the Super Bowl) for the Toronto Argonauts.

Hopefully it’s not too late for Garibay to turn back, but considering how awful he was, that seems a bit of a stretch. It seems the once-reliable Red Raider, who scored the most famous field goal in program history, is about to see his NFL dream come to an end.

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