Could this be the Cougs' next kicker?

WHERE DO THE COUGS go from here, now that kicker Tristan Vizcaino has decommitted a couple weeks before Signing Day? WSU rarely offers a kicker or punter but the Cougs had seniors at both spots in 2013 so the question begs: Is there still a scholie-type player or two out there at this late date? To answer that question – and others surrounding the K/P issue – you have to start in Gresham, Ore.

Gresham's Zach Standish (5-10, 170) out of Barlow High has long been courted by Washington State. He took an unofficial to WSU back in the summer and participated in a WSU camp event. And he was extended a preferred walk on invitation by WSU back in November with the idea he could earn a scholarship through his performance -- the same path Wazzu record-setting kicker Andrew Furney traveled at WSU.

"I have offers from Boise State, Washington State and Oregon State to walk on," Standish told "I've been on the phone with Washington State and Oregon State (this week) and WSU is super interested, excited for possibility for me to be on the team. Oregon State is also very interested, they like my film a lot."

Standish, also a 4.0 student and cross country runner, was 10-for-16 on field goals as a senior in 2013 including a 50-yarder that made him the ninth kicker in Oregon prep history to hit that milestone.

He averaged 64 yards per kickoff, with an average hang time of 3.9 seconds and was named first-team all-league and honorable mention Class 6A All-State at kicker and honorable mention all-league at punter. He didn't miss a PAT in either of his junior or senior seasons -- as a senior he was 23-for-23. In practice, he also hit a 58-yard field goal.

"I'd say probably 80 percent of his kickoffs were touchbacks if not more, it's probably more like 85 percent," Barlow coach Terry Summerfield told CF.C.

(By comparison, Vizcaino went 9 of 12 his senior season with a long of 40 yards. He hit 27 of his 29 PATs and had 17 touchbacks on his 32 kickoffs. He averaged 39.2 yards on 25 punts and dropped six punts inside the 20-yard line.)

Standish said WSU is not looking for him to be a punter in college and that's good by him, saying it will allow him to fully focus on his duties as a kicker. It's also rare for a player these days in college football to handle both kicking and punting duties.

INTERESTINGLY, STANDISH SAID Washington State told him this week they're looking into potentially offering a junior college punter this cycle.

Of the junior college punters in the database, two in particular jump out:

- Tim Gleeson, Santa Barabara JC was 26th in nation in punting as true freshman at Wyoming in 2012 but left for "personal reasons" with intent on going to Tennessee. He's an Aussie who learned to kick playing Australian rules football.

- Osborn Umeh, Cerritos JC. Guru Chris Sailer loves the guy, saying he thinks he's the top JC punter in the land, but he only averaged 39 yards per boot in 2013.

AS FOR STANDISH, he said he's weighing three factors most – the caliber of the team he'd be joining, how soon he could get on the field and the chemical engineering programs.

Unless something changes in the coming days, Standish said he plans to make his decision right around Signing Day or a few days after, with Washington State and Oregon State the two programs standing out most to him right now.

Summerfield said Standish has only been seriously kicking for about two years and it was common to see him putting in extra work in the mornings, afternoons and evenings in addition to his cross country schedule.

"He's a very well-rounded kid," said Summerfield. "I think the thing that impresses me most is his work ethic. I don't think you can beat him up or make something too hard for him. He just has a terrific work ethic."

VIZCAINO WAS QUOTED by after he flipped to the Huskies as saying the Washington State staff, "wasn't happy and were pretty upset, which is understandable, but I have to do what is best for me and for the next four years of my life, and Washington was where I wanted to be." The quote was also reprinted in the Seattle Times.

WSU lists no kickers on the current roster along with walk on punters Wes Concepcion, Thomas Fossedal and Erik Powell. Concepcion is the only one who has seen game action, replacing a struggling Mike Bowlin this season. With Vizcaino now off the board, the options appear to be two: spend a scholie if they can find the "right guy" and if not, bring in some preferred walk ons to compete in fall camp.

Spending a scholarship on a kicker or punter always carries with it a degree of risk – kickers Loren Langley, Graham Siedrius and Bowlin at punter suffered through some tough times at WSU.

Meanwhile, kickers Furney and Drew Dunning and punter Kyle Basler were among the best ever at their positions for the Cougs.

Those three started their careers at WSU as walk ons, earning scholarships in short order.

  • Some names to keep an eye on -- the following is a selected list of all-league punters and kickers this past season from the Evergreen State:
    Placekicker/Punter: Alex Tyska, sr., Mount Baker
    Placekicker: Connor Finnegan, sr., Evergreen
    Placekicker: Jake Masters, sr., Lake Washington
    Punter: Colin Davies, sr., Nathan Hale
    Placekicker: Juan Rodriguez, sr., Ellensburg
    Punter: Josh Smith, sr., Cascade.

  • The two all-state selections this past season in-state were both juniors:
    P Jake Talbot, Redmond (6-2 185): The first team KingCo 4A Crest Division pick averaged 43.5 yards per punt in 2013.
    K Spencer Pettit, Glacier Peak (5-9 155): Pettit made field goals of 52 and 53 yards this season and 80 percent of his kickoffs went for touchbacks.

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