Kicker James McCourt of Parkland Signs 1st NFL Contract
Illinois Fighting Illini place kicker James McCourt (17) game-winning field goal celebration. Courtesy University of Illinois Athletics.

By Matt Rothman

Parkland’s own James McCourt is officially on his way to the NFL.

At the conclusion of the 2022 NFL draft, he was signed by the Los Angeles Chargers. Set to graduate this spring from the University of Illinois, he holds the school record for most 50+-yard field goals, with eight in college.

He also has the sixth most field goals in a season with 18 and went 37-52 during his college career, including a game-winning 39-yard field goal to upset Wisconsin during the 2019 college football season.

Born in Ireland, McCourt has lived in Parkland since he was eight. After playing flag football for the Parkland Rangers during middle school, McCourt attended high school at St. Thomas Aquinas. He played on the varsity football team before enrolling at the University of Illinois.

McCourt will likely compete for the starting job after he and 31-year-old Dustin Hopkins, signed a three-year extension in March. Hopkins has made 184 field goals playing with the Buffalo Bills, New Orleans Saints, Washington Redskins, and Chargers.

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Matt Rothman
Matt Rothman
Matt Rothman is a 2018 graduate from Florida Gulf Coast University receiving his bachelor’s degree in journalism. He is now attending the University of Florida as a graduate student.

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