Van Winkle talks about commitment to UW

Up until very recently, Mount Si (Snoqualmie, Wa.) K Cameron Van Winkle had the stats and the talent to prove he was one of the top kickers in the country. Washington, who recently signed two specialists, was paying attention, but hadn't offered. That all changed though on Thursday afternoon and shortly after receiving an offer from the Huskies the senior-to-be committed on the spot...

"I had been talking to coach (Johnny) Nansen for a while and then (on Thursday) I went down and met with coach (Steve) Sarkisian," Van Winkle told "He said they liked me and he offered me and I committed to him on the spot. My mom and dad and one of my brothers were with me. They were all excited for me. I'm really excited too."

Van Winkle chose Washington over an offer from Washington State, which he received over Memorial Day weekend, and heavy interest from Oregon and Cal, two schools he planned to visit this summer and kick in front of the coaches, hoping to earn an offer. Those plans, however, have changed.

"No, I'm not going on those trips anymore," Van Winkle said. "I'm a Husky."

When pressed about why he decided to become Washington's sixth verbal commitment and the fourth player in-state to pledge to the Huskies, he said it was a number of things.

"I had never really seen the campus like I did on Thursday," Van Winkle, who is a kicking partner with former Husky Erik Folk, said. "I got down there and saw the campus up close and it was just amazing. It's really hard to put it into words. It was just everything that they have to offer. I wanted to be part of it and I'm excited I get to stay home and kick in front of my friends and family."

Van Winkle said he isn't intimidated by the fact that Washington signed a punter (Korey Durkee) and kicker (Travis Coons) in their most recent recruiting class and that he may enroll early so as to get a jump on possibly earning some playing time as a freshman.

"They talked to me about coming in early, next spring, so that I can get a jump on challenging for playing time," Van Winkle said. "I have a meeting set up with my counselors on Monday and I'll see what I need to do, but I'm definitely thinking about doing it."

This past season Van Winkle, who is also a star on the Mount Si soccer team, hit 16 of his 18 field goal attempts while also averaging 37 yards per punt.

"Cameron is simply a great kicker," national kicking guru Chris Sailer told "He is very smooth and extremely consistent off the ground. Has a great leg and gets excellent height on his ball. His kickoffs are D1 ready and he is also a very talented punter. A big time D-1 all around prospect."

Van Winkle will be at Montlake on Sunday for Washington's one-day Fundamentals Camp before heading down to Austin, Texas at the end of the month to take part in the U-19 Football World Championships where Team USA will take on seven other teams from four different continents.

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