In-state rivals battling for local punter

Thursday's Duel in the Desert will be closely watched not only by fans of both Arizona State and Arizona, but also by Josh Hubner, the standout local Scottsdale Community College punter. Will that contest's outcome affect Hubner's ultimate decision? Devils Digest talked to the punter about his recruitment by both Grand Canyon state rivals.

"I had a lot of fun on the ASU visit," said the 6-3 220 Josh Hubner. "It was a nice break to have during the holiday weekend. I was hosted by Will Sutton and obviously also hung out with (Arizona State punter) Trevor Hankins who I know very well. With Trevor graduating I know that I will have very big shoes to fill if and when I do come in here.

"I've toured the school before and it's a gorgeous campus. I like what ASU has to offer as far as academics go and athletics go. It's a good combination. I liked the game (against UCLA) and was really impressed with the way they responded and fought adversity...I was treated very well on my visit and I loved the coaching staff there."

Hubner confessed that he was always very interested in ASU, ever since he played for Desert Mountain high school. Hubner who was an all-state punter for the Wolves his senior year, also played tight end and wide receiver, as well as defensive end and linebacker. Since he didn't receive any Division I offers at the time he decided to go the Junior College route and hone his punting skills.

"It was a hard transition for me going into a junior college because I played so many positions in high school," Hubner recalled, "and didn't know what position I was going to play there. But those guys at Scottsdale were great and helped me out a lot. When they saw me punting the ball they said they wanted me to stick to that and that alone and obviously it worked out pretty well."

Hubner averaged 40.2 yards per punt for the 6-4 Artichokes in 2010 and was among the nation's leader in that category. He was receiving interest from Miami, Auburn, LSU and Utah among other schools.

"I was very happy to hear from ASU," Hubner noted. "They told me that they thought they had someone on the team who could handle the (punting) job there and apparently that is not the case anymore. So they started recruiting me very hard here in the last couple of weeks.

"I was very excited to get an offer from them and I really didn't expect that."

Hubner was offered by Arizona last week and mere two days before he got his offer from the Sun Devils. The punter acknowledged that the Wildcats are also high on his list and that he will make his decision between both heated rivals.

"I'm going to check (Arizona) out this week and I will be in Tucson for Thursday's game," Hubner stated. "I'm very excited to see that game. I wouldn't say that whatever school wins that game is the school I'm going to go to, but it will help me decide. ASU has a lot of the things I'm looking for and U of A has a lot of the same exact things. I just want to make sure that I have enough information from both sides before I make my decision.

"I know players and people from both schools but I don't have more ties to one school over the other. It is kind of interesting to see these two rival schools recruiting me as hard as they are and it will be real interesting to see what happens. One day I'm leaning towards one school and one day I'm leaning towards another school. I will know on Friday which school I'm going to."

The Scottsdale community college punter indicated that he will be looking at several factors when deciding which school to pledge to.

"I was always thought that the odds are going to be against you coming out of college and playing in the NFL," Hubner explained. "So I wanted to go to a school where I will enjoy living in that city and get a good education. I do have professional aspirations but you have to consider your education too so you can fall back on your degree."

Hubner is a mid-year transfer who will sign his letter of intent in December and enroll in school in the spring semester. He is a 3 for 2 player in terms of eligibility.

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