WSU's kicking battle now a 5-man race?

WHEN IT COMES to the kicking game, it's hard to remember a pre-season at Washington State as uncertain as this one. While the Cougs return both guys who handled all the placekicking chores last season, the job looks to be wide open come August camp. And the list of contenders is growing. The Everett Herald reports that a big leg out of Lynnwood is walking on in Cougarville.

Brett Schafer, out of Meadowdale High, was 10 of 14 on field goals as a senior last fall with five successful boots between 43 and 45 yards. He was 40-41 on PATs with an average kickoff distance of 65 yards, with 80 percent of those resulting in touchbacks.

The Cougs' incumbents are Erik Powell (pictured above) and Quentin Breshears. Powell missed three of his first five field goals last season and replaced by Breshears, who went 9 of 12. But Powell had the better spring session, punctuated by Breshears' rough outing in the Crimson and Gray Game. Powell also handled kickoffs last year, averaging 58.6 yards with eight touchbacks.

Powell would seem to be leading the pack headed into fall camp. But freshman Matt Abramo arrives this summer on scholarship and will be given a very long look at placements, kickoffs and punting.

WSU special teams coach Eric Mele may not want him to do all three jobs (even if he were the top producer at all three in fall camp). But the Cougs would clearly benefit were Abramo in his first season to at least nail down one of them.

At least one other walk on will join the fray in fall camp, which would make it a 5-man battle. Zach Charme (6-1, 185) out of Boise's Timberline High was a 5A All-Idaho first-team pick after a season where he both punted and handled the placekicking chores.

Charme looks to have a very big leg indeed, but he wasn't always consistent. Ninety-eight percent of his kickoffs went for touchbacks. He was 7-of-13 kicking and attempted three kicks of 50-yards plus. He averaged more than 41 yards per punt.

Mitchell Cox, who is already in school at Washington State, has to wait until after school starts per NCAA transfer rules to hit the field. Cox is walking on at WSU from Eastern New Mexico. Walk on Danny Garcia, who was with the Cougs for spring ball, isn't coming back for fall camp a source tells CF.C and he is not listed on the WSU official roster.

Abramo, by the way, made 10 of 12 field goals with a long of 46 yards and 23 of 24 extra points as a senior. He was named All-North Bay League Specialist of the Year and All-North Bay League First Team this past season.

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