Younghoe Koo
refer to caption
Koo with the Falcons in 2021
No. 6 – Atlanta Falcons
Personal information
Born: (1994-08-03) August 3, 1994 (age 29)
Seoul, South Korea
Height:5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Weight:185 lb (84 kg)
Career information
High school:Ridgewood (Ridgewood, New Jersey)
College:Georgia Southern (2013–2016)
Career history
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Roster status:Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 18, 2023
Field goals made:154
Field goals attempted:174
Field goal percentage:88.5
Longest field goal:54
Player stats at · PFR
Younghoe Koo
Revised RomanizationGu Yeonghoe
McCune–ReischauerKu Yŏnghoe

Younghoe Koo (Korean구영회; RRGu Yeonghoe;[1] pronounced YOUNG-way;[2] born August 3, 1994) is a South Korean-born American football placekicker for the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League (NFL). He was named to the Pro Bowl in 2020 after leading the league in scoring that year. He is fourth in the NFL's all-time leader in field goal percentage (minimum 100 attempts).[3] Koo is also known for his ability to successfully execute onside kicks.[4]

Koo played four seasons of college football for the Georgia Southern Eagles and was named a finalist for the Lou Groza Award in 2016. He signed with the Los Angeles Chargers as an undrafted free agent in 2017 but was released a month into the season after missing consecutive game-ending kicks. Following a year away from football, Koo played for the Atlanta Legends of the Alliance of American Football (AAF), where he converted all of his field goal attempts until the AAF suspended operations. His success led to his return to the NFL the same year with the Falcons.

Early years

Koo was born on August 3, 1994, in Seoul, South Korea.[5][6] He played soccer growing up and won a regional kicking competition.[7] He moved to the United States when he was 12 years old to live with his mother, who had gone to New Jersey two years earlier to work as a nurse while Koo's father remained in Seoul as a professor at Induk University.[8]

Koo played on the football team for Ridgewood High School in Ridgewood, New Jersey. He was named team MVP his senior season, contributing on both special teams and defense, where he tallied six interceptions.[9][10]

College career

At Georgia Southern University, Koo was a four-year contributor for the Eagles, earning first-team all-conference honors in the Sun Belt Conference in his final season, during which he converted 19 of 20 field goal attempts. He was also named a finalist for the Lou Groza Award, given annually to the best college kicker in the nation.[11] At the conclusion of his college career, Koo ultimately converted 88.6% of his field goal attempts, a Georgia Southern team record.[12]

Professional career

Los Angeles Chargers

Koo signed with the Los Angeles Chargers as an undrafted free agent following the 2017 NFL Draft.[13] He won the starting job over incumbent kicker Josh Lambo following the conclusion of the preseason.[14] Koo became the fourth player in NFL history to have been born in South Korea.[a]

In the 2017 season opener on the road against the Denver Broncos, Koo's game-tying 44-yard field goal attempt in the final seconds of the game was blocked by the Broncos' Shelby Harris, and the Chargers lost 24–21.[16] The kick had little chance of succeeding after Denver overwhelmed the Chargers' line on the play.[17] An earlier attempt by Koo was successful, but it was called off after the Broncos had called a timeout right before the snap.[16] The following week, Koo missed a game-winning 44-yard attempt in a 19–17 loss to the Miami Dolphins.[17]

The following two weeks, Koo converted both of his field goal attempts and all four of his extra points. However, the 0–4 Chargers waived him after Week 4, replacing him with 10-year veteran Nick Novak. Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn stated that he wanted "someone with a little more consistency and experience" than Koo.[18][19] Lynn added that, "I think Koo is going to have a long NFL career ... A lot of rookies get cut early in their career, and they come back and play for a lot of years."[20] "Koo's a very talented kicker," Novak said. "He's got a live leg and a lot of talent."[20] Overall with the Chargers, Koo was 3-of-6 on field goals and recorded 8 touchbacks on 14 kickoffs.[21] Frank Schwab of Yahoo Sports wrote that the winless Chargers were "using [Koo] as a scapegoat."[22]

Atlanta Legends

On January 14, 2019, Koo signed with the Atlanta Legends of the Alliance of American Football (AAF).[23][24] On February 9, he scored the first points in AAF regular season history, making a 38-yard field goal against the Orlando Apollos.[25] After the Legends started the 2019 AAF season 0–3, on March 3, Koo kicked two field goals, including the 33-yard game winner, against the Arizona Hotshots to seal the 14–11 Atlanta win.[26] The following week against the Memphis Express, he made all three of his attempts, including the game-winning 35-yard field goal with nine seconds remaining to secure a 23–20 victory, and was eventually named AAF Special Teams Player of the Week.[27] The league ceased operations during midseason in April 2019.[28] For the year, Koo had been a perfect 14-of-14 on his field goals.[21]

New England Patriots

Following the suspension of the AAF, Koo worked out with the Chicago Bears, who were in need of a kicker after releasing Cody Parkey, but did not end up signing with the team.[29] After longtime kicker Stephen Gostkowski was placed on injured reserve, the New England Patriots signed Koo to their practice squad on October 4, 2019.[30] On October 15, 2019, Koo was released.[31]

Atlanta Falcons

2019 season

Koo in 2019

On October 29, 2019, Koo was signed by the Atlanta Falcons after they cut their longtime kicker and franchise leading scorer, Matt Bryant.[32] In his Falcons debut, Koo made all four of his field goals (including a 48-yarder) and both of his extra points in a 26–9 upset win over the New Orleans Saints.[33] He was named the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance.[34] In Week 13 against the New Orleans Saints on Thanksgiving Day, Koo delivered three successful onside kicks, one of which was undone by a penalty, in the 26–18 loss.[35][36] In Week 14 against the Carolina Panthers, Koo made four field goals (including a then career-long 50-yarder), four extra points, and recovered a fumble forced by teammate Damontae Kazee on wide receiver Greg Dortch during a kickoff return in the 40–20 win.[37] For this performance, he was named the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week for the second time.[38]

2020 season

On February 18, 2020, Koo signed a one-year contract extension with the Falcons.[39] In Week 2 against the Dallas Cowboys, Koo made all four of his field goal attempts, and all three of his extra points in the 39–40 loss. In Week 5 against the Panthers, Koo made both of his field goal attempts (including a career-long 54-yarder), in the 16-23 loss. In Week 6 against the Minnesota Vikings, Koo went 4-for-4 on field goals, as well as 4-for-4 on extra points, in the 40–23 win. In Week 8 against the Panthers, Koo made all four of his field goal attempts in the 25–17 win. In Week 12 against the Las Vegas Raiders, Koo made a career-high 5 field goals in the 43–6 blowout win. For his efforts in the month of November, Koo was named NFC Special Teams Player of the Month.[40] Koo became the NFL's leading scorer following Week 13, having made 32 of 33 field goals and 23 extra points for a total of 119 points.[41] In Week 16 against the Kansas City Chiefs, Koo missed a game-tying 39-yard field goal in the 14–17 loss after the ball was tipped by the Chiefs' Tanoh Kpassagnon.[42]

On December 20, 2020, Koo was selected to his first Pro Bowl.[43] He signed a contract extension with the Falcons on March 11, 2021.[44]

2021 season

In Week 3, Koo made a game winning 40-yard field goal as time expired to defeat the New York Giants 17–14.[45] Koo made another game-winning field goal in Week 7 against the Dolphins to give the Falcons a 30–28 win as time expired.[46] Koo made his third game-ending field goal of the season in a 27–25 Week 9 road win over the Saints.[47]

2022 season

On March 15, 2022, Koo signed a five-year, $24.25 million contract extension with the Falcons.[48] In Week 8 against the Panthers, Koo made a game winning 41-yard field goal to give the Falcons a 37–34 overtime win.[49] In Week 17 against the Arizona Cardinals, Koo made another game-winning field goal to give the Falcons a 20–19 win as time expired.[50] Koo went 12/12 on field goals and 7/7 on extra points in the months of December and January. For his efforts, he was named NFC Special Teams Player Of The Month.[51]

2023 season

In Week 2 against the Green Bay Packers, Koo kicked a go-ahead game-winning field goal with less than a minute left to give the Falcons a 25–24 win.[52] In Week 5 against the Houston Texans, Koo kicked a field goal as time expired to give Atlanta a 21-19 victory.[53] For the third time, in Week 7 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Koo kicked a game-winning 51 yard field goal as time expired and was named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance.[54][55] Koo was again named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week after his Week 16 performance against the Indianapolis Colts, going 5-for-5 on field goals.[56]

NFL career statistics

Led the league
Bold Career high

Regular season

Year Team GP Field goals Extra points Total points
FGM FGA FG% <20 20−29 30−39 40−49 50+ Lng XPM XPA XP%
2017 LAC 4 3 6 50.0 0–0 2–2 0–0 1–4 0–0 41 9 9 100.0 18
2019 ATL 8 23 26 88.5 0–0 6–6 9–10 7–9 1–1 50 15 16 93.8 84
2020 ATL 15 37 39 94.9 0–0 10–10 11–12 8–9 8–8 54 33 36 91.7 144
2021 ATL 17 27 29 93.1 0–0 8–8 9–9 6–7 4–5 54 30 30 100.0 111
2022 ATL 17 32 37 86.5 0–0 9–9 7–7 9–10 7–11 54 33 35 94.3 129
2023 ATL 17 32 37 86.5 0–0 10–10 10–10 9–11 3–6 54 27 28 96.4 123
Total 78 154 174 88.5 0–0 45–45 46–48 40–50 23–31 54 147 154 95.5 609

Personal life

Koo married Ava Maurer in 2023.[57]



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