Mike's Take: New Punter

The Hurricanes added a punter to its 2013 recruiting class today. Read on to see what CanesTime's Mike Bakas is saying about it.

When Al Golden took over this program in December of 2010, one of his biggest immediate priorities was adding a punter. He and his coaching staff did a tremendous job by wrestling away Dalton Botts from LSU's commitment list. Botts was a very solid performer for the Hurricanes over the last two seasons.

When Botts finished his career at the end of the 2012 season, recruiting a punter again became a priority for Miami's coaching staff.

Unfortunately, with low numbers in this year's class they were not able to pursue many punters with a scholarship offer. The punter in this year's class would likely have to come in the form of a preferred walk-on.

They took care of that need today with the commitment of Georgia's Austin Barnard.

At 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds, Barnard has ideal size for a punter prospect. National Punting specialist Jamie Kohl, who puts on camps all over the country, rates Barton as the nation's No. 2 punter for the 2013 class.

"Austin blew up the National Scholarship Camp," Kolh said. "He gets "it". Austin handles pressure well, motion has become repeatable, D1 Scholarship Punter, Legit D1 frame, Legit D1 leg, Legit D1 charts, someone is going to get a good punter."

That someone is now Miami, who was first noticed by the Hurricane coaches at one of their summer camps last June.

Barnard handled punting and kickoff duties for his high school team this past season. He averaged 43.4 yards per punt, and put 37 out of 54 kickoffs into the endzone for touchbacks.

Punters are typically evaluated in two ways - their punting distance and their punting hang time. Barton seems to outstanding leg strength in terms of distance and his hang times are tremendous. That's where he'll be a huge benefit to the Hurricanes over the next few seasons. At a showcase camp last spring, Barton averaged 50+ on 27 punts and had an average hang time of 4.27 seconds. Those are outstanding numbers for a high school senior.

Matt Goudis will likely be given the first chance to take over for Jake Wieclaw for field goals and kickoffs but now Barnard will have every chance to be Miami's starting punter over the next few seasons.

This is a very good pickup for the Canes today, and a player who will likely make an immediate impact in 2013.

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