Cougs add walk on with big leg

PULLMAN -- Washington State, getting inconsistent production from its field goal kickers in fall camp so far, has added a big leg to the competition. Fresno product Blake Dunn, who hit a 55-yard trey last season en route to earning metro league co-Specialist of the Year honors as a prep senior, is now a Cougar and was at practice Thursday afternoon.

The 5-9, 165-pound Dunn, from Fresno's Bullard High, hit 11 fields goals last season, including six long-distance offerings from 45, 47, 48, 48, 49 and 55 yards. He also connected on 42 of 44 PATs and routinely drove kickoffs into the endzone.

The Fresno Bee, which accorded him all-star honors, noted that all of his big treys came "under pressure against top-shelf competition — Clovis West, Bakersfield, Edison and Clovis East. And he did this while his mother, Gail Dunn, was fighting terminal cancer."

"Blake's a good athlete who kind of developed his craft as a kicker. As a freshman, he was team MVP as a tailback. Then he dislocated his shoulder three times, so his family pulled the plug on that and he concentrated on kicking," Bullard coach Donnie Arax told the Bee last fall.

"To have a high school kicker who kicks into the end zone is huge because it makes the other team start on its 20. Consequently, we wanted to start the game on defense because of field position. That's a huge weapon to have. And, with this kid, we had to completely change our thinking in fourth-down situations. Anything from 55 and in was a field goal," Arax noted.

He added, "And this was not a kid who choked. He had some misses, but those were 40-plus [yards] misses. His season stands alone, but it's all the more impressive consideration the situation with his mother. You can play another position using emotion. But kicking emotion doesn't help; it can only hurt."

Dunn was also a baseball standout at Bullard. This spring he was named Co-County/Metro Athletic Conference Player of the Year after hitting .456 with 33 RBI and posting seven saves -- and a 2.50 ERA -- as the team's closer.

He'll compete at WSU with Nico Grasu and Patrick Rooney.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Braulio Perez, brand new to CF.C, is a junior at Washington State. He is studying broadcast news at the Murrow College of Communication. He is a graduate of Inglemoor High in Kenmore, Wash.

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