Have Cougs found next great walk on kicker?

IS IT POSSIBLE that Washington State's kicker of the future is someone with little more than a year's experience in football? Meet Erik Powell, a senior at Seton Catholic of Vancouver, the school's placekicker who says he has a walk-on offer from Washington State.

Powell is a longtime soccer standout and was an all-state defender last year as a Seton Catholic junior. A year ago, as Seton Catholic started a football program – the school was founded in 2009 – friends mentioned to Powell that he ought to try out as the team's kicker.

And so Powell did. He worked out a little during the summer with his father, then on the first day of Seton Catholic practice, began to kick field goals.

"The coach kept moving me back, to the 30, the 35. I hit a 60-yarder. Granted, there was a lot of wind, but the coach said, "You could play Division I,'" Powell said. "After a while, I realized I could do this."

During Powell's first season at Seton Catholic, he went 3 of 4 beyond 40 yards, his longest field goal at 47 yards. Powell estimated that two-thirds of his kickoffs were touchbacks.

After the 2011 season, Powell moved his focus from playing college soccer to college football.

"I enjoy it more, and the experience of being on a college football team sounds pretty exciting," Powell said.

Last June, Powell attended Washington State's football camp. When it ended, Powell said he was invited to walk-on in 2013, and following a redshirt year, there was a possibility of a scholarship. Most kickers at Washington State arrive as walk-ons, and eventually earn a scholarship.

"They have shown interest in me, and I have interest in them," Powell said.

Here's one thing about Powell that would take Cougar fans some getting used to: his second cousin is Washington coach Steve Sarkisian.

"They already have a guy committed there. I would have loved to go to UW," Powell said.

Powell says he periodically keeps in touch with WSU, but, of course, would prefer a scholarship offer out of the gate. To help facilitate that, Powell recently attended Chris Sailer's kicking camp in southern California. Powell hopes getting into Sailer's database will lead to connections with college programs.

It's unlikely that Powell will get many chances to show off his leg this season with Seton Catholic, as it moved to Class 1A this fall and is overmatched in its games. In the Cougars' most recent game, Powell booted field goals of 28 and 33 yards in a 60-13 loss to Toledo.

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