Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Preseason position reviews: punter
By Ted Miller
The Pac-10: A conference of punters.
You have both the first- and second-team All-Pac-10 punters back, two on the seven-man Ray Guy Award watch list and three that ranked among the nation's top 21 in punting last year.
Oh, and every team welcomes back their punter from 2009.
Any of the six teams in "Great shape" here could produce an All-Pac-10 punter.
- California: Bryan Anger, first-team All-Pac-10 in 2009, might be the nation's most talented punter. Though he ranked fourth in the conference with a 42.3-yard average, he led the conference with 24 punts downed inside the 20 with only four touchbacks, which means he's got great touch.
- Arizona State: Trevor Hankins led the Pac-10 with a 44.2-yard average. His 18 punts of 50 or more yards tied for most in the conference.
- UCLA: Jeff Locke, who's on the Ray Guy watch list, earned second-team All-Pac-10 honors in 2009. His 43.6-yard average ranked second in the conference.
- Washington State: Reid Forrest punted 86 times in 2009 -- 16 more boots than anyone else in the league -- and averaged a stout 43.2-yards per punt.
- Oregon: As a true freshman, Jackson Rice, despite an unimpressive 40.5-yard average, downed the second-highest percentage of punts inside an opponent's 20-yard line in the conference (37.7).
- Oregon State: Johnny Hekker, one of seven punters on the Ray Guy watch list after being a semifinalist in 2009, doesn't have a huge foot but he did down 19 of his 51 punts inside his opponent's 20-yard line, which means he did so at a higher rate than Anger.
- Arizona: Keenyn Crier was first-team All-Pac-10 as redshirt freshman in 2007 and honorable mention pick in 2008, but he fell off a bit last year.
- Stanford: David Green doesn't have a big foot -- only two punts went for more than 50 yards -- but he dropped nearly half (15) of his 33 punts inside an opponent's 20.
- Washington: Will Mahan is a solid if unspectacular punter.
- USC: A touted JC transfer, Jacob Harfman ranked last in the Pac-10 last year with a 39.8-yard average. Only nine of his 48 punts pinned a foe inside its 20-yard line.