WHAT TO LIKE
First and foremost is Young's versatility. The 6-1, 185-pounder is a Division I candidate in all three kicking disciplines, and he doesn't appear to have a weak link. He displays advanced technique and excellent consistency, no matter whether he's punting, placekicking or kicking off.
"He's very technically sound," kicking guru Chris Sailer told BlueGoldNews.com. "All the small things you take for granted, such as timing and hitting his spots, he's very good at. He's a two-step punter, and he is 100% effective at getting the ball off. His overall ability stands out, and he does all three at a very high level."
Those abilities will allow Young to compete at West Virginia for all three jobs, which is a rarity among kickers. While many high schoolers do cross over and perform multiple duties, they usually have one or two that they are more proficient at, and end up concentrating on either punting or placekicking in college. For now, at least, Young has both options open, which could potentially give WVU even more return on its scholarship investment.
Young has a strong leg, but not one that's among the elite levels in the nation at the present. That's not the be-all and end-all for kickers, especially those who are consistent from realistic scoring range and can place punts and kickoffs in desired areas, but it is an item to note. Sailer, while admitting that he has "a very good leg but not the strongest", believes that natural growth and maturity will alleviate any possible concerns.
"His directional and pooch kicks are good, and he's been [placekicking] off the ground for a long time, so he should adapt well to college," he added. "And if anything, he's going to get stronger, and that's going to help him add distance and hang time."
There's also the crossover factor, which can work against specialists. The motion, extension and techniques needed to successfully kick and punt vary greatly from each other, and some thinking holds that a player can't excel at both. While it's true that the number of players who do so is a small percentage of the entire kicking universe, there's nothing at this point that would rule it out for Young, who stood out at national level camps in all disciplines.
Young would appear to have his best early shot at playing time via punting, as current incumbent Nick O'Toole is a senior. Redshirt freshman Billy Kinney is also on the roster, so it's not as if Young would win the job by default, but the position is not a crowded one at the moment. Redshirt juniorJosh Lambert will have one more season of eligibility once Young arrives on campus, and obviously wouldn't yield his placekicking position without a fight, but no matter how it plays out WVU looks nicely set at both kicking spots for the next few years. Young could also compete quickly as a kickoff specialist.
West Virginia kicking coach Joe DeForest has had a long relationship with Sailer and his kicking camps, and brought former pupils O'Toole and Lambert aboard in previous recruiting cycles. Of course, there's no guarantee that Young will be as successful as either of those Mountaineer stars, but his achievements to date, along with Sailer's endorsement, certainly count for a lot, and explain why West Virginia moved quickly to wrap him up with an offer.