Stephen Carroll Gostkowski (pronounced "gust-OW-ski"; the first 'K' is silent) (born January 28, 1984 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana) is an American football placekicker for the New England Patriots of the National Football League. He was drafted in the fourth round of the 2006 NFL Draft with the 118th pick, one of just two kickers drafted, and the only rookie kicker to make an NFL roster that year. Gostkowski, who played both college football and baseball for the University of Memphis, is the most accurate kicker in Patriots history, and one of the most accurate kickers in NFL history.
Gostkowski graduated from Madison Central High School in Madison, Mississippi in 2002. While there, he won four varsity letters each in football and soccer, and three in baseball, and was an All-State honoree in all three sports. Gostkowski holds the school record for longest field goal, a 55-yard kick. His teammates at Madison Central included current 49ers linebacker Parys Haralson and Seahawks center Chris Spencer. His opponents included current Atlanta Falcons running back Jerious Norwood, who returned one of Gostkowski's kickoffs from two yards deep in the end zone; Gostkowski raced him down at the 25-yard line to prevent a touchdown.
His most common nickname growing up was "Beaver"; he lost two front teeth playing hockey and had fake teeth that were too large put in as replacements. While at Memphis, he was dubbed "Gotti" by Tigers head coach Tommy West, because West couldn't pronounce Gostkowski correctly.