Hubner looking to seize his opportunity

As punter, Josh Hubner knows that even a stellar performance in this week's NFL combine may not assure him of getting drafted in April. Yet, the former Sun Devil standout feels that coming off a strong senior campaign can do nothing but aid his prospects at the professional level.

"I think everybody wants to get drafted," Hubner said. "You wouldn't be a competitor if you didn't get drafted. So my goal is to get drafted. It's a big milestone and something I will remember for the rest of my life. But if I don't get drafted I don't. You never see a lot of punters, kickers and long snappers get drafted every year. It's really about pride, and knowing that you can go in there and do what you know you can do. You want to be rewarded for your success and hard work.

"So I definitely want to get drafted and if I don't I'm not worried because I know come August/September I will be on a team. That's the mentality you have to have and if you don't you're not cut out for this. I'm feeling very confident with everything right now."

The punter's workout regiment is naturally different due to the nature of the position and what NFL scouts factor in their evaluation, but that certainly doesn't put fewer demands on Hubner's preparation level.

"There is a whole lot less speed training involved and whole lot more fundamentals and concentration training, Hubner explained. "I kick three or four times a week depending on how my leg feels. I'm doing a lot more cardiovascular drills, trim some fat and make sure you look presentable at the combine and get in the best possible shape.

"I know it's going to be a meat market. When I went to the East-West Shrine game, you walked around next to naked in front of 400 NFL guys, you stand there and they stare at you as they call out your height and weight and all that stuff."

Hubner added that while he won't be running the 40-yard dash or doing cone drills he will be partaking in the bench press reps and is actually looking forward to that part of the combine.

"I just want to get a solid number," Hubner remarked. "I just want to put myself in the best possible position. The most reps I ever gotten was 22, but I haven't tested in a while. We'll see what happens once I get there. I'm not looking to shatter records but just to compete.

"I'll probably kick 15-20 total balls in front of the scouts. Specialists don't get evaluated by running the 40 or doing cone drills, but they obviously appreciate athleticism so I will try to show them as much as I can."

A little known fact to even to most avid football fan, is that the NFL Football is actually different in its composition than the ball used at the college level. This usually isn't an issue for skill position players, but for punters and kickers it's an entire different story.

"The ball is rounder and lighter and it has a smaller ‘sweet spot' on them," Hubner noted, "and it's kind of tough to find it in the beginning. You kick a smaller size football since high school and now you have to adjust to something new. I am looking forward to get these balls snapped to me because the way it's shaped it's an automatic spiral.

"It took me about two weeks but I got the hang of it now, I'm kicking really well and I feel very confident. Being confident and being comfortable with yourself are the biggest things going into the combine. So I'm really excited."

In his last game as a Sun Devil, Hubner ironically wasn't called upon to punt even once as Arizona State trounced Navy in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl 62-28, but when the outgoing senior was called upon in the previous 12 games he proved to be not only one of the best punters in the conference but also one of the nation's leaders.

In 2012, Josh Hubner set the school record for yards per punt at 47.1, which led the Pac-12 and was second in the nation. He recorded 29 punts over 50 yards, including 22 in 2012. Hubner also placed 44 punts (38.6 percent) inside of the 20 with only 14 touchbacks, and never had a punt blocked in his ASU tenure.

"I felt really comfortable with a lot of things I did this year," Hubner stated. "There were a few things I could have done better but a lot of people say that I'm my own worst critic. I have to make sure that at the combine that I have good hang time because that is the biggest thing they are looking for, and obviously consistency.

"I'm comfortable under pressure, and I just need to perform like I did last season. I feel that Coach Graham and his staff put me in a very good position right now and I was happy to take advantage of the opportunities that were given to me. I'm really looking forward to representing ASU in the combine."

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