Who is Zach Charme? (and why you should care)

WASHINGTON STATE’s starting punter — true freshman walk on Zach Charme — isn’t getting a lot of ink in the lead up to the season opener, not when there are so many things to talk about on the Cougars' offense, defense and in the return game. But Charme’s is a compelling story — from how he came to WSU to everything he’s added to his routine since he arrived.

So how did WSU assistant coach Eric Mele find Charme? Mele’s recruiting territory is Western Washington, Portland and Vancouver, B.C. But Jim Mastro (a heckuva recruiter himself) told CF.C this offseason that Mele lives and breathes recruiting and scours a lot of sources. And Mele was intrigued by Charme, a product of Boise’s Timberline High.

Mele hunted down Charme’s film, hit him up on social media and invited him for a visit out to Washington State. The Cougs’ special teams coach didn’t stop there.

Good recruiters build relationships and Mele got in touch with Charme’s private kicking coach, and invited him come up to guest coach at a WSU summer kicking camp event.

SINCE ARRIVING ON campus this summer, Charme has been soaking up Mele’s teachings like a sponge. Indeed, Mele told CF.C recently Charme is “very coachable, always looking for more.”

Some of the new things Charme has added to his routine under Mele’s guidance since his arrival at WSU: yoga, stretching with bands, hot and cold tubs, mental imagery and visualization. Punting, as you can see, is a serious business.

It sure isn’t just about how far a guy can boot it.

If a punter line drives it and the return man races 10 yards upfield before encountering any would-be tacklers, it doesn’t matter if he boots ‘em long. That was a problem at WSU last season. Jordan Dascalo had a solid average (41.6) but due to a lack of hang time (and coverage factors) Washington State surrendered a horrific 17.3 hashes on punt coverage.

What Cougar fans are likely to notice about Charme is his combination of hang time and distance – something that should make for much improved punt coverage in 2015.

If you’ve been reading our fall ball coverage you know that under Mele, Charme has improved immensely from Day 1. And with not quite a month’s worth of practices at Washington State under his belt, he’s only going to get better.


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