Dylan Klumph spent his freshman year at Encino (Calif.) Crespi as a linebacker – and, as he proudly says, he had 3.5 tackles last season at Huntington Beach (Calif.) Golden West Junior College, so, “I still have some linebacker blood.”
But, the latest California commit isn’t a linebacker anymore, despite what his 6-foot-3, 230-pound frame may suggest. No, he’s No. 6 punter in the nation, according to Chris Sailer, and he’ll be coming to Berkeley this fall, after committing on Monday – two days before National Signing Day. On Wednesday, he’ll sign a scholarship agreement, and he’ll have four years to play three.
The journey to Cal has been a quick one, Klumph says, after special teams coordinator Mark Tommerdahl heard what he did at the Jan. 16 Chris Sailer National Combine for kickers and punters.
“We were talking a little bit about a preferred walk-on [spot], and after he heard about what I did at the combine out in Vegas, he wanted to come out and see me, first-hand, and that’s when the offer of a scholarship came about,” Klumph says. “We were talking about [an offer], and it became official last week. He had a home visit, and we talked about what was going on, and that’s how it happened.”
After showing Tommerdahl what he could do during a mid-week session on the campus of Moorpark College, Klumph then made an official visit to Berkeley on Jan. 23.
“I saw the campus and all the players, and I just fell in love with the campus. It’s a great place to be, that’s for sure,” Klumph says. “I loved the facilities. I was taken away by how nice the facilities are, and also, the academic program that they have for the students and the players. They really make sure you stay on top of things and don’t fall behind. If you go to Cal and you do what you do, do everything right, the’ll make sure you get out of school, which is awesome. Cal is a very prestigious school, and it’s a school that people really know.”
During that visit, Klumph got to reunite with a former Crespi teammate in wide receiver Chris Harper, who has declared for the NFL Draft. Another former Crespi teammate -- Ray Davison -- wasn’t on campus at the time.
“Ray and Harper both went to Crespi, and I’m very close with Ray, and I’m close with Chris Harper,” Klumph says. “I saw [Harper] walking around campus, and we talked for a bit, but he was busy and I guess Ray was back home, but it was very cool seeing Harper and talking to him a little bit. They had a pretty good idea [that I’d commit], because it’s Cal. Even if I didn’t have a scholarship, I’d be pretty dumb not to go to Cal, because of the opportunities presented, how after I’m done, and I get a degree, I’ll have a huge opportunity.”
Klumph says that he could either be on scholarship in the fall, depending on how this class finishes out, or he’ll be put on scholarship in January, as he understands the situation from Tommerdahl.
“He can’t really promise, but he’s pretty sure I will be on before school, which is awesome. If not, I’ll just pay for a semester, and I’ll be on [scholarship] then, which is not bad at all. I’m ecstatic,” says Klumph, who is taking classes at Moorpark – closer to his parents’ Malibu, Calif., home, where he can spend time with family and friends before heading out -- before transferring to Cal this fall.
Klumph began his transformation into a punter his sophomore year, partly, he says, because of the job security of the position.
“The job security, when you look at the numbers game, there are only a handful of kickers, compared to the hundreds of other specialists, so, as a punter, I go to the kicking camps, and there are hundreds of kickers, and only a handful of punters,” says Klumph. “It’s the job security, and I actually found out that I was good. I kicked the ball well, so I figured I might as well make a career out of it.”
Punting and kicking began as a bit of a lark for Klumph, but he soon realized that he had some natural talent.
“I kicked a little bit freshman year, but I wasn’t too serious, and sophomore year, I actually started doing it seriously,” says Klumph.
As a senior at Crespi, Klumph booted 23 of his 34 kickoffs into the end zone, hit a 54-yard field goal, averaged 38.0 yards per punt (he averaged in the 40s as a junior), and hit seven of eight PATs. With no college options other than several Division II and Division III schools, along with New Mexico State (“I couldn’t see myself playing there, in the middle of nowhere,” he says), he decided to go to Golden West, where, as the starting punter, he averaged 42.6 yards per punt.
“Coach Tommerdahl is talking about all positions, but most likely, I’ll be punting, and maybe some kickoff duty,” says Klumph, who could take over for the big-legged James Langford on kickoffs, based on the strength of his leg. Besides being the starting punter at Golden West, Klumph also did field goals and kickoffs, upon occasion. He was also 11-for-12 on PATs.
"I will be fighting for the starting job, and hopefully, I'll be seeing the field," Klumph says.
Klumph will have four years to play three, and will be on campus this fall, as part of the team.