Victor Bodrie remembers delivering his first football kicking lesson to Jake Moody like it was yesterday.
Moody was a sixth-grader playing for the Northville Stallions junior football program and the 18-year-old Bodrie was an outstanding high school kicker at Northville High School, where his booming leg earned him a scholarship to play for Ferris State University.
“Our first lesson, I remember Jake brought this little toy football,” Bodrie reflected, chuckling. “I told him right away, ‘We’re going to use my football, OK?’
“It wasn’t long before he was kicking 35-yard field goals, which for a sixth-grader is pretty amazing. I think by the end of his sixth-grade season, he had kicked a 40-yarder.”
While Bodrie was impressed by Moody’s exceptionally strong and accurate leg, something else about the 13-year-old resonated with him more than anything.
“Jake had — and still has — this cool, calm demeanor that a really good kicker needs in pressure situations,” Bodrie said.
“Plus, Jake was incredibly coachable. He soaked in everything I told him. I worked with him until his junior year at Northville when, by that point, I’d basically watch him kick during our sessions and say, ‘Good job!'”
Following a stellar high school kicking career at Northville High School — he kicked three field goals of at least 55 yards or longer as a senior — Moody starred for four seasons at the University of Michigan before the San Francisco 49ers drafted him in the third round of the 2023 NFL Draft.
Despite the pressures that come with kicking in the NFL, Moody has proven to be as unflappable as ever. He has connected on all nine of his field goal attempts (including a 57-yarder against the Los Angeles Rams) for the undefeated 49ers and all 20 of his extra-point attempts.
“Watching Jake succeed like he has brings me a lot of pride,” said Bodrie, now a successful Cadillac, Michigan-based inventor and innovator. “I attended Jake’s first regular-season NFL game in Pittsburgh and he made it a point to wave to me in the crowd before the game.
“It was always my dream to kick in the NFL someday, but watching him make it brings me so much joy.”
Matt Ladach, Moody’s coach throughout his career at Northville, said Moody was athletic enough to hold his own at other positions besides kicker.
“Along with kicking, Jake actually started on our freshman team as a receiver,” Ladach recalled.
“It was obvious right away, though, that Jake was going to be able to contribute to our varsity team as a kicker his freshman season.”
Already blessed with a strong kicker (Nate Lane), Ladach and his staff promoted Moody to varsity early in his freshman season to kick off and kick short field goals.
“It wasn’t too long, though, that we realized Jake was our most accurate kicker, so he took over all of the kicking duties as a ninth-grader,” Ladach said.
“Even though he was the youngest player on the team, Jake was always so confident, but not in a cocky way. He never had any moments when we thought twice about our decision. He was just super cool out there — and he quickly earned the respect of his older teammates.”
‘Stronger and stronger’
Ladach said Moody was on the smaller side stature-wise during his freshman year.
“But he grew every year and his leg just kept getting stronger and stronger,” he added. “Myself and our coaching staff would watch him kick and say, ‘Holy cow! This kid’s really good!'”
Ladach thought the sky (the NFL) was the limit for Moody — and that was confirmed by a college coach who visited Northville on a recruiting trip.
“Myself and another coach, Mark Nowicki, were talking over coffee one day and we both agreed Jake had what it took to kick in the NFL someday,” Ladach said. “The next week, a coach for the Air Force Academy visited and he told us Jake was NFL material.
“It’s been awesome watching him excel at the highest level. It couldn’t happen to a nicer, more-hard-working young man.”
Ed Wright can be reached at 734-664-4657 or email@example.com.