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John Christian Ka'iminoeauloameka'ikeokekumupa'a "Ka'imi" Fairbairn (born January 29, 1994)[1] is an American football placekicker with the Houston Texans in the National Football League (NFL). Playing college football with the UCLA Bruins, he was a consensus first-team All-American as a senior, when he was also awarded the Lou Groza Award as the nation's top college kicker in 2015. After winning the kicking position as a true freshman, Fairbairn became the Pac-12 Conference record holder for the most career points scored. Undrafted out of college, he signed with Houston as a free agent and was named their starting kicker the following year in 2017.

Ka'imi Fairbairn
Fairbairn kicking
Fairbairn with UCLA in 2014
No. 7 – Houston Texans
Position:Placekicker
Personal information
Born: (1994-01-29) January 29, 1994 (age 25)
Kailua, Hawaii
Height:5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight:183 lb (83 kg)
Career information
High school:Punahou
(Honolulu, Hawaii)
College:UCLA
Undrafted:2016
Career history
Roster status:Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 12, 2019
Field goals made:72
Field goal attempts:87
Field goal %:82.8
Long field goal:55
Touchbacks:138
Player stats at NFL.com

Early lifeEdit

Fairbairn was born in Kailua, Hawaii, to John and Rochelle Fairbairn.[2] Since he was a kid, he has gone by the name Ka'imi, forgoing John Christian. In Hawaiian, his name means seeker of knowledge. "The meaning of your name is your life," Fairbairn said. "Hawaiians have a long ancestry. It's really meaningful for me to go by my Hawaiian name."[3]

As a youngster, he was a kicker in football, but preferred catching the football instead.[4] He attended high school at Punahou School, where he was a two-sport star in football and soccer. Playing central defender in soccer, he was a two-time first-team all-state player, and the team won two state championships.[2]

Fairbairn did not initially play football at Punahou. He did not envision a future in the sport, and tried out for water polo instead. After almost drowning, he realized he was not a proficient swimmer and returned to football.[4] As a sophomore, Fairbairn was named second-team all-state, and he earned first-team all-state as a junior and senior.[2] He was teammates with DeForest Buckner. Fairbairn was ranked nationally as the No. 4 recruit at kicker coming out of high school.[5]

College careerEdit

Fairbairn won the kicking job at UCLA as a true freshman in 2012,[5] and he became the first Bruin to score at least 100 points in each of his four seasons.[6] His career got off to an inauspicious start when his first two extra points were blocked against Rice.[7] He became a dependable kicker from close range, but struggled from distance.[8] In the Pac-12 Championship Game that year, he missed a 52-yard field goal with 30 seconds remaining in a 27–24 loss to Stanford. With a wet field and a poor snap by Kevin McDermott, UCLA coach Jim Mora said: "We put [Fairbairn] in a tough situation there."[9] In his junior year in 2014, UCLA was trailing Utah 30–28 when Fairbairn missed a 55-yard attempt as time expired.[10] However, the Utes were penalized for running into the kicker, providing him a chance at a 50-yard field goal, which missed just wide right.[10][11]

Entering the 2015 season, the senior Fairbairn was 11 for 22 on field-goal tries of 40 yards or more.[8] On October 3 against Arizona State, he made a 53-yard field goal, the first successful 50-plus yarder of his career after missing his first five.[12] The kick cut the Sun Devils lead to 15–10 at the half, but the Bruins lost the game 38–23.[13] In a 40–24 win over California on October 22, Fairbairn had a 55-yarder called off because UCLA was penalized for a false start. With seconds left in the first half, Mora was initially going to have the offense try a Hail Mary pass. However, Fairbairn was given another opportunity, which he converted for a UCLA record 60-yard field goal.[8] It was the first 60-yard field goal in the Football Bowl Subdivision since 2012.[14] On November 14, Fairbairn made four field goals against Washington State to set the Pac-12 record for most career points, breaking former Bruins kicker John Lee's previous mark of 390 (1982–1985).[7][15]

He finished the regular season having made 20 of 23 field goal attempts, including a perfect 16 of 16 from inside 40 yards and four from beyond 40.[15][16] Fairbairn was awarded the Lou Groza Award, given annually to the nation's top college kicker.[15][17] He was a near unanimous first-team All-American, earning first-team honors from all the official selectors except Sporting News, who named him to their second team.[18][19] However, he was only named second-team All-Pac-12.[20] In the Foster Farms Bowl, he missed a 46-yard field goal in a 37–29 loss to Nebraska. His career ended with three straight misses, including previous failed attempts of 49 yards at Utah and 47 at USC.[21]

Professional careerEdit

After not being selected in the 2016 NFL Draft, Fairbairn signed with the Houston Texans.[22] However, he spent all of 2016 on injured reserve with an injured quadriceps.[23] In 2017, he was named the Texans' starting kicker over Nick Novak. Fairbairn had attempted all of the team's field goals during the preseason, and he had a stronger leg and deeper kickoffs than the incumbent.[24] In Week 4, against the Tennessee Titans, he converted six-of-seven extra points and all three field goal attempts.[25] As a rookie, he converted 32 of 35 extra point attempts and 20 of 25 field goal attempts.[26]

In Week 15 of the 2018 season, Fairbairn kicked five field goals and two extra points in a 29-22 win over the New York Jets, earning him AFC Special Teams Player of the Week.[27] He earned AFC Special Teams Player of the Month for December.[28] On the season, Fairbairn did not miss a kick inside of 40 yards and led the league in points scored with 39 extra points and 37 field goals converted.[29] The Texans won the AFC South with a 11–5 record.[30] In the Wild Card Round against the Indianapolis Colts, he converted one extra point in his playoff debut, a 21–7 loss.[31]

On March 11, 2019, the Texans placed a second-round restricted free agent tender on Fairbairn.[32]

RecordsEdit

Houston Texans franchise recordsEdit

  • Most field goals made in a season (37)[33]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "2015 UCLA Bruins Football Media Guide". UCLA Bruins. 2015. p. 18. Retrieved December 11, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c "Ka'imi Fairbairn". UCLABruins.com. Retrieved December 10, 2015.
  3. ^ Melendez, Miguel A. (October 3, 2012). "UCLA kicker Ka'imi Fairbairn seeks his own blue paradise". Los Angeles Daily News. Archived from the original on December 15, 2015.
  4. ^ a b Honda, Paul (October 18, 2011). "Kaimi Fairbairn feature: extended version". Hawaii Prep World. Archived from the original on December 11, 2015.
  5. ^ a b Yoon, Peter (August 28, 2012). "Fairbairn seeking a spot in UCLA kicking tradition". ESPN.com. Archived from the original on November 10, 2012.
  6. ^ "Fairbairn Wins Lou Groza Award". UCLA Athletics. December 10, 2015. Archived from the original on December 15, 2015.
  7. ^ a b Foster, Chris (November 15, 2015). "UCLA kicker Ka'imi Fairbairn sets Pac-12 record for scoring". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on December 1, 2015.
  8. ^ a b c Kaufman, Joey (October 29, 2015). "UCLA kicker Ka'imi Fairbairn shows off his leg". The Orange County Register. Archived from the original on December 12, 2015.
  9. ^ Wang, Jack (October 15, 2013). "Bruins, kicker Ka'imi Fairbairn will see more pleasant conditions vs. Stanford". Los Angeles Daily News. Archived from the original on December 12, 2015.
  10. ^ a b "Utah Clips No. 8 UCLA with Last-Minute Field Goal". ESPN. Associated Press. October 4, 2014. Archived from the original on October 11, 2014. Retrieved October 11, 2014.
  11. ^ Foster, Chris (October 5, 2014). "Bruins Can't Catch Utes on Last Leg". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on October 11, 2014. Retrieved October 11, 2014.
  12. ^ Kaufman, Joey (October 13, 2015). "Kicker Ka'imi Fairbairn can finally go the distance for UCLA". The Orange County Register. Archived from the original on December 12, 2015.
  13. ^ Wang, Jack (October 13, 2015). "UCLA senior kicker Ka'imi Fairbairn could be seeing end of long-distance woes". Los Angeles Daily News. Archived from the original on December 12, 2015.
  14. ^ Patterson, Chip (October 22, 2015). "UCLA K Ka'imi Fairbairn hits first 60-yard FG in FBS game since 2012". CBSSports.com. Archived from the original on October 23, 2015.
  15. ^ a b c "UCLA's Kai'mi Fairbairn wins Lou Groza Award as nation's top kicker". The Orange County Register. December 10, 2015. Archived from the original on December 11, 2015.
  16. ^ Helfand, Zach (December 10, 2015). "UCLA's Ka'imi Fairbairn wins Lou Groza Award as the nation's top kicker". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on December 12, 2015.
  17. ^ "UCLA's Ka'imi Fairbairn wins Lou Groza Award". USA Today. Associated Press. December 10, 2015. Retrieved August 28, 2019.
  18. ^ Kaufman, Joey (December 14, 2015). "Ka'imi Fairbairn lands on FWAA All-American team". The Orange County Register. Archived from the original on December 14, 2015.
  19. ^ Kaufman, Joey (December 16, 2015). "Ka'imi Fairbairn named AFCA All-American". The Orange County Register. Archived from the original on December 29, 2015.
  20. ^ Wang, Jack (December 10, 2015). "UCLA kicker Ka'imi Fairbairn wins Lou Groza Award". Inside UCLA. Archived from the original on December 13, 2015.
  21. ^ Wang, Jack (December 26, 2015). "UCLA can't stop run in 37–29 bowl game loss to Nebraska". Los Angeles Daily News. Archived from the original on December 29, 2015.
  22. ^ Wilson, Aaron (April 30, 2016). "Texans notebook: Undrafted free agent deals". Houston Chronicle. Archived from the original on May 1, 2016.
  23. ^ Wilson, Aaron (September 1, 2017). "Texans have stability in kicking game with Nick Novak". Houston Chronicle. Archived from the original on September 3, 2017.
  24. ^ Wilson, Aaron; McClain, John (September 2, 2017). "Texans cuts: QB Brandon Weeden, kicker Nick Novak released". Houston Chronicle. Archived from the original on September 3, 2017.
  25. ^ "Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans – October 1st, 2017". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved November 6, 2017.
  26. ^ "Ka'imi Fairbairn 2017 Game Log". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved August 28, 2019.
  27. ^ "Mike Williams, Dalvin Cook among NFL Players of the Week". NFL.com. December 19, 2018. Retrieved August 28, 2019.
  28. ^ "Ka'imi Fairbairn named AFC Special Teams Player of the Month". Houston Texans. Retrieved August 28, 2019.
  29. ^ "2018 NFL Scoring Summary". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved August 28, 2019.
  30. ^ "2018 Houston Texans Statistics & Players". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved October 1, 2019.
  31. ^ "Wild Card - Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans - January 5th, 2019". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved October 1, 2019.
  32. ^ Wilson, Aaron (March 11, 2019). "Texans submit tenders Ka'imi Fairbairn, Brennan Scarlett, re-sign Joel Heath". Chron.com. Retrieved August 28, 2019.
  33. ^ "Most field goals made in a season, Houston Texans". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved August 28, 2019.

External linksEdit