Kickin' Kahut ready to tee it up for OSU

ESCHEWING A SCHOLARSHIP offer in order to walk on at Oregon State, Justin Kahut arrives in Corvallis later this summer. The Clackamas kicker has a strong leg, regularly drilling long field goals while forcing touchbacks on kickoffs. But what was really impressive were the kickoffs he sailed through the uprights last year.

Kahut, who could be the heir apparent to all-everything kicker Alexis Serna, put seven KOs through the uprights his senior season. Kicking off from the 40 in high school football, it takes about a 70 yard kick to clear the uprights. And then there's the need for the direction to be true.

The strong legged kicker had a long of 52 yards last season, with 47 of 63 of his kickoffs going for touchbacks.

A second-team all-state choice, Kahut turned down an offer from Bowling Green for the opportunity to play in the Pac-10. It came down to Oregon State or Oregon.

"On the visits I went on, to Oregon State and Oregon, I got a better feel at Oregon State," said Kahut. "I really like that they have a kicking coach, most schools don't. And I just felt like I was really wanted at Oregon State."

ALSO A KEY consideration were the academic offerings at the two universities, said Kahut, with Oregon State's engineering program a big plus.

"Oregon state was the better fit, athletically and academically," said Kahut.

Kahut said OSU gave him the option to grayshirt or redshirt to position himself behind Serna, and also to learn from last season's Groza Award winner, given annually to the best kicker in the nation. Serna will be a junior in 2006.

"They were basically willing to work with me in whatever I wanted to do," said Kahut. "I decided to back up Alexis next year, and if I don't end up playing that would be my redshirt year."

He plans to arrive in Corvallis in late June or July. Prior to that, he may hit a kicking camp or two to keep sharp and further hone his skills.

Justin Kahut

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