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‘Started to feel real’: Indiana’s long snapper, unheralded leader Sean Wracher eyes NFL

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As NFL scouts whisked from the weight room inside Memorial Stadium to Mellencamp Pavilion, Indiana football long snapper Sean Wracher quietly trudged behind. 

After the bench press and vertical jump tests concluded on Indiana’s Pro Day on March 5, six Hoosier participants commenced mobile exercises and positional drills. Meanwhile, Wracher, donning a black sweatshirt and black sweatpants, trailed off to the side. 

Over a dozen scouts on hand, huddled on benches near midfield inside Indiana’s practice facility, furiously scribbled notes and tracked performances of workouts. Well over 20 yards behind them, Wracher sat alone on the end of a gray metal bench. 

By the time running backs, receivers and defensive players concluded their showcases, Wracher trotted in front of the benches to perform snaps. Many of the scouts had at this point dispersed. 

Still, Wracher did what he’s trained incessantly to do. He took a couple deep breaths, hunched toward the ball, fired it backward to senior punter James Evans and exploded into a sprint. 

Wracher didn’t feel obligated to participate in the previous evaluations. After performing well in the 2024 College Senior Specialist’s Combine in January, an event hosted by 13-year NFL special teams coordinator Gary Zauner, Wracher felt there was little he could do to improve his draft stock. 

So, for roughly three hours, despite being in the presence of spectators whose opinions hold considerable weight when determining draft selections, Wracher was tranquil. 

“The easiest way for me to do well is to have my mind off of things and then lock in when I need to,” Wracher said. “I’m here, just being relaxed, and not getting overanxious about anything.” 

*** 

Kasey Teegardin racks his brain as he ponders the last five years, trying to think of any instance, just one, of Wracher messing up. 

Nothing comes to mind. Teegardin — Indiana’s former special teams coordinator — mulls a few moments longer and finally stumbles on a rainy game against Michigan, where he said one of Wracher’s snaps was just a bit too high on a punt attempt. 

“We’ve only had, knock on wood, one issue in the past several years,” Teegardin said as he tapped a closed fist on his wooden arm rest. “I think our punter still could’ve caught it, and he dropped it.” 

Wracher seldom botches snaps. He’s been Indiana’s model of consistency for five seasons at a position that, perhaps more than others, demands it. Wracher’s successes aren’t necessarily celebrated — firing perfect snaps is essentially his job description. 

Still, one snap with the laces facing the wrong direction, one snap just a tick low can drastically shift the momentum of a game and draw attention to someone relatively unaccustomed to the spotlight. 

Wracher’s glad he’s not Brendan Sorsby, the former Indiana and now University of Cincinnati quarterback who bears the burden of convening with media outlets postgame regardless of his performance. Indeed, Wracher comes and goes as he pleases, either to gain respite from the despair of a defeat or to find his family and celebrate after a victory. 

He thinks most of his work goes unnoticed — he said aside from his parents, most fans at a game won’t understand how well he snapped on a random second-quarter punt. For someone whose job, whose future, can be reliant on one moment, Wracher seems nonchalant about the pressure, often flashing a sly smirk discussing the subject. 

Granted, he felt nervous early in his college career. During timeouts, Wracher used to pace around and take endless reps on the sidelines. But since, he’s developed a different, more relaxed disposition. 

A 2023 Kelley School of Business graduate and Academic All-Big Ten honoree, Wracher’s intelligence and inquisitiveness manifest themselves on the football field. He looks for any conceivable way to gain a mental edge. 

Wracher listened intently to Indiana’s former strength coach Aaron Wellman when he talked about pregame music. Wellman told Wracher how the beats per minute of a song can shift levels of anxiety and heart rate. 

For Wracher, the selection is situationally dependent. If the team has a far ride from the hotel to the stadium on a road trip, he might plug in a podcast. For a shorter drive, he opts for country. 

But sometimes, when Wracher’s warming up in shorts prior to a game, nothing plays through his headphones. He allows the natural sounds around him to evoke a sense of balance. 

“That’s something to think about is what are you doing leading up to kick off to keep yourself even,” Wracher said. “I try to never let myself get too high or too low because it’s not really a position that allows for your emotions to go up and down.” 

*** 

As a senior at Saint Ignatius High School in Cleveland, Ohio, Wracher drew considerable interest from programs vying for his snapping expertise. But Wracher said if someone told him early in his high school career he’d even have a chance to play Division I football, he’d have called them crazy. 

At Saint Ignatius, Wracher played under legendary coach Chuck Kyle, who retired following the 2022 season after 40 years at the helm. There were over 80 players on the team’s varsity roster. He played some defensive end, but the lanky, 6-foot-4 Wracher was buried on the depth chart early on. 

Long snapping felt like a golden opportunity for Wracher — it’s an underappreciated, detail-oriented art that takes thousands and thousands of repetitions and mental fortitude to perfect. 

“That was my way on the field, at first,” Wracher said. 

Special teams’ talent was aplenty at Saint Ignatius. Wracher played alongside former Minnesota and Kent State University kicker Matthew Trickett, former University of Louisville kicker Patrick Otter and former University of Mount Union kicker Drew Alessandro. 

Over his high school summers, Wracher worked incessantly with that group. They trained on the field together, worked out in the gym together, attended different camps together and ultimately garnered college interest together. 

The specialists were essentially in their own circle, Wracher said. They’re a different breed at any level of football and share commonalities in their quirks.  

Often playing at large stadiums in high-stakes high school games, Wracher and his fellow special teamers grew accustomed to pressure — it’s something that allowed them to reach, and some of them excel, at the college level. 

Wracher remembers visiting Bloomington for the first time in the spring of 2018. He was ranked as a five-star prospect and the No. 4 long snapper in the nation by Kohl’s Kicking and was invited by the team to see the Hoosiers’ spring football game. 

The weather was dreary. Wracher and other recruits were forced inside the team facility amid thunderstorms, and he was hardly able to take in the campus. He didn’t love it.  

But when he was in Indianapolis that summer for a baseball tournament, then Director of College Scouting and current assistant athletic director Bruce Johnson offered to show Wracher around Bloomington. This time, Wracher noted, it was a sunny day. 

“Once I got to see the whole campus, I thought it was awesome,” Wracher said. “A week or two later, I just woke up one day and was like I feel like this is the right fit.” 

Weather aside, Wracher was privy to what Indiana could do for his career. Just before his arrival, Dan Godsil had been the Hoosiers’ stalwart long snapper for four years, playing 50 games from 2015-2018. 

Godsil went on to ink a free agent deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after the 2019 NFL Draft, and he spent some time with the Cincinatti Bengals as well. Seeing that lineage meant everything to Wracher. 

In fact, during his recruitment, former special teams coordinator William Inge sat down with Wracher to break down various intricacies in Godsil’s college film. Wracher called that Indiana’s “big sell.” 

*** 

If Wracher ever received a text from a coach about his performance in practice, he knows he made a mistake. 

In some practices, he’ll only get 10 live reps: five punts and five field goals. For some two hours, all he can do is make sure those limited opportunities are perfect, and he gives coaches nothing to talk about. 

At the special teams meeting, which was usually one of Wracher’s first activities of the morning, there’s no question as to who arrived in their seat first. Teegardin said Wracher ensured his teammates arrived with notepads and pens in tow. 

Wracher’s reliability on the field is well-documented. He played in every possible game since his freshman season, and he was named a Patrick Mannelly Award semifinalist this past year, given annually to the nation’s best long snapper. 

His value on field goal and punt operations is as immeasurable as it is indispensable. But perhaps even more so is his service off the field. When former Indiana punter Haydon Whitehead departed in 2020, Teegardin was adamant about pushing Wracher into an enhanced leadership role. 

“(Former head coach Tom Allen) will say the quarterbacks are the leaders of the offense, the linebackers are the leaders of the defense and Sean Wracher’s the leader of the specialists,” Teegardin said. “He says that to the team almost every day.” 

Be it golf outings or the group’s weekly Thursday dinners to Crazy Horse or Asuka Steak House, Wracher has grown inseparable from his special teams' colleagues.  

And with Evans, who joined the Hoosiers from New Zealand in 2021, Teegardin said Wracher was vital in helping the punter acclimate to both college football and life in America. Keeping the eccentric Evans in check didn’t hurt either. 

“James likes to speak his mind,” Teegardin said. “And Sean will kind of tell him to shut up which is what you need.” 

Wracher has always felt like a natural leader. Last March, he underwent an extensive process to take a job as a personal trainer. Instead of breaking down spin rates of snaps, he researched methods of improving physical fitness.  

Just like in snapping, where Wracher tirelessly looks for ways to improve his stance and finger positioning, he aimed to become an expert for his clients in the gym. 

“It’s kind of like going to class,” Wracher said. “You’re learning what traits you need to have, how to lead different individuals.” 

*** 

Wracher has always made the position look easy. The little mistakes that often get long snappers cut — like the laces facing the wrong direction on a punt — Wracher has hardly succumbed to. 

It’s what’s made him one of the nation’s premier long snappers for five years. Now, he’s shifted his focus toward the NFL, something Wracher never thought could be a possibility. 

For the last two months, Wracher has been training in Phoenix, Arizona. He’s spent time alongside NFL veterans Zach Ertz and Kelvin Beachum, picking their brains on not just the draft process, but how they carried themselves and created a sustainable career at the next level. 

Amid frequent conversations with NFL scouts and former players, the reality of Wracher’s near future started to sink in. 

“This started to feel real,” Wracher said. 

He understands he likely won’t be selected in the 2024 NFL Draft in late April. With most franchises rostering just one long snapper, his chance will almost certainly come by way of an undrafted free agent contract. 

Wracher isn’t dissuaded by that prospect. Earning his way into rookie minicamp he said is the ultimate goal, but even that orientation for incoming players serves essentially as a tryout to compete for a roster spot. 

He knows, to see his name on a 53-man roster next season, he’ll have to win a positional battle. There’s 32 people in the world who hold the job Wracher once never thought could be possible, and slowly saw materialize. 

Now, all he wants is a chance. 

“What I’m trying to do is get myself into a camp, and then from there, just play football,” Wracher said. “Make my best case to make a team.” 

Follow reporters Matt Press (@MattPress23) and Dalton James (@DaltonMJames) and columnist Daniel Flick (@ByDanielFlick) for updates throughout the Indiana football season. 

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