Haack looks to seize his opportunity

Safety Marcus Ball and place kicker Zane Gonzales aren't the only true freshmen looking to solidify starting spots during preseason camp. Punter Matt Haack is excited to get first crack at replacing Josh Hubner as the team's punter.

"It is always exciting when you have an opportunity to play for a team this great right off the get-go," Haack said.

Coaches generally raved about Haack so far during camp, in large part due to the fact that he kicks with his left foot. As a result, returners have a tougher time picking up the ball. "There have been times here and there in high school and even out in practice sometimes," Haack said. "Just the ball spins differently from what they are used to."

Haack is a man with a repertoire full of weapons in the punting game.

Aside from having the ability to rugby punt and being ranked the 6th best punter of the 2013 class by Scout.com, Haack was also an All-State receiver in high school. During his senior season at Dowling High School in Des Moines, Iowa, Haack had 69 receptions for 1,260 and 16 touchdowns.

He says he picked up punting his junior year in high school after seeing a teammate do the same.

"The years before, they actually had a quarterback doing it," Haack recalled. "I thought, why not add another skill to myself to help the team win and get better? It ended up working out."

Haack, who committed to ASU before his senior season, said that he began to get interest from schools at wide receiver that season. But at that point, the Sun Devils had already won him over.

"Coach (Todd) Graham and Coach (Joe) Lorig, they recruited me and they are great guys. Down to earth and real honest to me, which is important," Haack said. "This has always been a dream school of mine; I was born here in Arizona so I still have family here. Then the academics, I got into Barrett Honors College."

The punter said the coaches will give him a chance to play a little receiver, but he seems focused on punting for the time being. With his athleticism, it is easy to be excited about the prospect of fakes in the punting game. Don't be surprised to see the coaches give Haack some freedom with the ball.

"I sure hope so. Coaches all during recruiting were talking to me about fakes and different stuff they were putting in," Haack said. "In high school, I did the rugby punt. So every time I rolled out, if I had nobody I could run on my own. It is kinda a read thing."

So what can't Haack do?

It turns out he even has a little quarterback experience.

"In middle school, I played a little quarterback," Haack said. "If I had to throw the ball, I would probably be able to as long as it helped us win."

Winning is Haack's number one goal. While some players focus on individual goals, Haack thinks about the team, and he has some pretty lofty expectations to boot.

"I am just going to try and make an impact to help this team win," Haack stated, "and get into the Rose Bowl or National Championship."

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