Multitalented Ohioan Draws Interest As Punter

Although he playes five different positions for his high school team, this Ohioan is getting collegiate interest for his special teams prowess.

Evan Jablonka is one of only three two-way players for Pickerington High School, but that brief description doesn't do full justice to the senior's workload on the football field.

"I play quarterback, wide receiver and linebacker, and I also punt and placekick," the 6-1, 200-pounder said. "I don't come off the field. It's tiring, but I love it."

Most of the interest in Jablonka so far has been expressed for his punting ability, but the confident booter doesn't believe that schools have seen his best yet.

"Because I play other positions, I can't wear soccer or kicking shoes," Jablonka explained. "Plus, I'm usually pretty tired when I have to punt or kick, so I don't think everyone has seen what I can really do."

Schools such as West Virginia, Ohio State, Cincinnati, Kentucky and Miami (OH) have seen enough to be keeping tabs on Jablonka, and are watching him carefully during his final prep year. Although no offers have been forthcoming yet, that doesn't faze the confident young man.

"Most of the schools have told me that punters are the last players that get offered scholarships, so I'll keep working on it. Once the season is over, I'll start working on punting with the right shoes, and work on my two-step punt, and really concentrate on kicking."

Jablonka also says that due to his other duties, his flexibility for punting isn't as good as it would otherwise be.

"I don't get the chance to work on that much while we're playing, but some schools think I kick the ball pretty well now. I think that when I work on kicking exclusively, I'll get even better. I hope everyone realizes that."

Jablonka visited West Virginia for the Mountaineers' 19-16 overtime win over Maryland, and was duly impressed.

"It was awesome," he said of the environment. "It was everything I expected and more. Maryland being a Top 25 school and WVU getting the win was great. West Virginia is the top school on my list right now."

Like many rising kickers, Jablonka got his start kicking the ball on the soccer field. He played that sport through eighth grade, but had two brothers who played football. Coaches came to Evan to recruit him for the gridiron, and the younger Jablonka made the switch with ease. (Jeff, Evan's older brother, was recruited by WVU before a knee injury put an end to his playing career.)

Jablonka's ties to West Virginia came courtesy of another brother, Jared, who was also good enough to be recruited by colleges. Jared drew interest from a Harvard coach by the name of Bruce Tall, who is now, of course, WVU's spurs and bandits coach. Tall, therefore, was familiar with the Jablonka family, which led to Evan's trip to West Virginia's summer football camp and interest from the Mountaineer program.

So far this year, Jablonka's team is 4-0, and he has been having a solid year kicking the ball. He knows he has to be patient as he waits for offers, but the potential is certainly there for this do-everything player to kick on the Division 1 level.


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