By Andrew Gorringe
It’s not often that you see a college program signing a junior college punter to their recruiting class, as it seems most of the time punters either start out fresh out of high school or as walk ons, but when Utah saw Mitch Wishnowsky punt the ball, they knew they had to bring him on board. It also helped that he was a native Australian and alumni of the very successful program ‘Prokick Australia’, which is the same program that departing senior Tom Hackett took part in, and he ended up being the two-time Ray Guy Award winner, and best punter in program history. Wishnowsky committed to Utah all the way back in the fall of 2014, and Utah was the only program to extend him a scholarship offer.
One of the things that made departing punter Tom Hackett so great were his funny comments and anecdotes about himself and about the sport of football, and he started using the phrase ‘DadBod’ as a reference to his average physical appearance, and general disliking of running. We won’t likely hear Wishnowsky using that phrase during his tenure at Utah though, as his physical appearance is quite literally the opposite. Wishnowsky stands 6’4 inches tall, and also weighs around 220 pounds. He looks more like a linebacker than punter, and also runs like one as well, with a reported 4.5 second forty-yard dash. It’s fair to say that fake punts will look drastically different with Wishnowsky running them, but the actual punting shouldn’t be too different than what Ute fans are used to. Wishnowsky also utilizes the rugby style punt that Hackett so perfectly utilized, and does an excellent job and pinpointing his punts inside the opponents 20 and 10-yard line. As it stands now, Wishnowsky does not appear to have the same type of distance to his punts as Hackett did, but his accuracy will be pretty similar. If he can turn out to be just half the punter Hackett was, Utah will be in good shape. In addition to punting, Wishnowsky also was the place holder and kick off specialist for his team, so he may be of use for Utah at those spots as well.
Wishnowsky is enrolled for the spring semester and will participate in spring ball, and he should immediately take over as the number one punter on the depth chart. He’ll have to adjust to the altitude of Utah, which will effect the distance on his punts, but with 7 months till the first game, Wishnowsky will have plenty of time to adjust accordingly. In addition to punting, Wishnowsky also was the place holder and kick off specialist for his team, so it’s not out of the realm of possibilities for him to earn a spot at those positions.