For a while Wil Baumann was able to get by as a punter simply because he had a strong leg.
As a junior at Wilmington (NC) Hoggard, Baumann was just kicking the ball as hard as he could. That strategy paid off in the form of a 44-yard punt average, which just about any high school punter would love to lay a claim to. He knew, however, that he would have to start to focus on details if he was going to become a big-time college punter.
"I feel like this year I got a little more consistent," Baumann said. "I had more hang time than last year. I don't know what my average was but my hang time definitely improved. Last year I had a lot of long punts but they were low, line drives. This year I just worked on developing good form for college."
Any coach can tell you stories about how field position can change a game and a season, so punters are often some of the most under appreciated men on a team.
NC State is bringing Baumann in exclusively as a punter, as they believe they have other guys that are capable of handling kickoff and field goal duties. Baumann isn't exactly sure when he will be called on to contribute yet.
Andy Leffler, a junior this year, may or may not be back next year. He will be getting married this summer and will be embarking on a missionary trip to Spain. Leffler isn't exactly sure whether football will be part of his future next fall. That will have a big impact on Baumann's freshman year and just how much he will be expected to contribute.
Baumann took his official visit to NC State over the weekend and it got him excited about the future, whether he plays next year or not.
"It was really good for me," he said. "It gave me a good chance to meet with some of the recruits there, to get to know the players and the families that were they. I also just got to know the staff better overall. I got a good feel for where I'm going to be staying for the next four years.
"The day they practiced it was a cold, rainy day but there was a lot of enthusiasm on the field. The guys were definitely getting after it."
Baumann is a three-star prospect and ranked the No. 3 punter in the entire nation by Scout.com.
Baumann Working on the Details
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