SHS kicker Garin Boniol follows father, commits to Louisiana Tech

Staff Writer

Garin Boniol can’t complain about his upbringing.

The Starkville High kicker is getting to do what made his father, Chris, so successful for many years. Chris was a legendary kicker at Louisiana Tech in the 1990’s with a career 105 career extra points made and 50 field goals. He parlayed that into an National Football League career with the Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles and Chicago Bears.

Chris had a knack for kicking the football, but he also has been especially good at teaching the fundamentals needed for his kickers. He’s done it on the highest level with the Cowboys and Oakland Raiders and now in college as Mississippi State’s special teams quality control coach.

“He was the one who made me a good kicker,” Garin said of his father. “It’s almost like a Kohl’s camp being with him. He’s my trainer and has helped with that and with composure.”

Garin has held on tight to his father’s teachings in the kicking game and he’s followed his path putting toe to football. It’s paid off in a big way also as Garin now gets a chance to be recruited like his father and play college football.

After earning a couple of Football Bowl Subdivision offers as well as interest from Houston, Vanderbilt and Louisiana-Lafayette, Garin decided to follow in his dad’s steps another direction. He committed to play football at his father’s alma mater Louisiana Tech earlier this week.

“I really liked the coaching staff," Boniol said. "It’s a small town similar to Starkville and that’s something that I like. They also have a great history of producing kickers. I always kept up with the football program, but I didn’t know much about the school until I visited it and fell in love with it.”

Despite Chris’ influence on his son, the coach let him handle the decision. Garin said his father kept his distance other than to give advice on the ins and outs of recruiting as a whole.

“Ultimately, it was my decision and he respected that,” Garin said of his father. “He kind of stayed out of my way when I decided. He helped me through and guided me in the process a little bit, but he stayed out of the decision.

Chris would have loved to have his son working under his leadership at MSU and Garin said that was something he considered.

Garin doesn’t have a scholarship offer from the Bulldogs, but he has been in touch with coaches from time to time and spent many afternoons on campus and around the team. In the end, he wanted to make his own way.

“I’ve always had that thought in the back of my mind that it could be a possibility,” Boniol said of playing for his dad. “I just think that the opportunity that I have with LA Tech, it’s going to be what’s best for me. Possibly playing for my dad would be a dream come true though.”

Since the Boniol’s have moved to Starkville, the experience has been one to remember. Garin got his first experience as a sophomore with the Yellowjackets and was 6-of-10 on extra points. He became the full-time place kicker last season and was 54-for-58 and hit 9-of-15 field goal attempts.

Garin also served as punter for SHS last season and had 46 punts for an average of 35.3 yards per with a long of 68 yards and 10 of those were downed inside the 20-yard line. He said that the experience with the Jackets has made him a better player and person. He’s ready to see it through.

“It’s been really great," Boniol said. "I love the coaching staff that we have now and they’ve given me the opportunity to do my job. We all work hard together so it’s really the mental attitude. I really adopted the hard work ethic here and that’s mainly what’s gotten me to this point.

“Now that I’ve committed, I don’t have anything to worry about. I can perform my senior year, along with everyone else. Just because we’re ranked preseason number one doesn’t mean anything, so we’re ready to prove ourselves.”