Five to Watch
Issue #5: Punters
With the 2001 season looming in the not too distant future, we
continue to look at five prospects to watch at each position.
This is not and end all, be all list. Rather, we are taking into
consideration a player's performance in 2000 and their coach's assessment of the
player as a prospect. Rather than waiting for last (as happens too often),
stop number five is the punters:
1. Todd Gohsler, San Diego Mesa College (6-0, 193) - Gohsler (pronounced Go-Sler) errupted on to the JC football scene in 2000, leading the state in punting as a freshman with a 42.6 yard average on 39 punts. Talking to San Diego Mesa head coach Martin Moss, he gives Gohsler a firm endorsement. With the second to last offense in the state at Mesa in 2000, he was called upon to help his team win the battle of field position many times. He was second team All-Foothill conference behind Southwestern's All-State punter Tim Parker. A graduate of Serra High School in San Diego, Gohsler will be the top punter in his conference and among the state's best in 2001. He was a full qualifier out of high school and will have no trouble moving on to the next level.
2. Jason Dailey, College of the Canyons (6-2, 175) - I had the pleasure of watching Jason twice last season and I assure you he is a Division I caliber player. He finished third in the state with a 40.6 yard average on 38 punts. Jason was unanimously voted first team All-Western State Conference Northern Division. He can turn over spirals consistently and get great hang time on his punts. He also understands how to place the ball and avoid touchbacks. His only short coming as a freshman was a slow, three step approach. However, he has worked hard in the off-season to cut down his approach to a much quicker two-step release which should help him this season. A graduate of San Luis Obispo High School, Dailey is also a member of the Canyons baseball team. He would like to punt and play baseball at the next level. He will be able to transfer mid-year.
Jason Dailey (right) with former Orange Coast College punter Eddie Johnson (Idaho State) at the 2000 Strawberry Bowl. Dailey finished 3rd and Johnson finished 5th in the state in punting in 2000.
3. Jim Kiel, De Anza College (6-0, 185) - Kiel quietly had an outstanding freshman season, finishing sixth in the state with a 38.7 yard average on 41 punts for the Dons. He was rewarded by being named first team All-Coast Conference following the season. According to De Anza head coach Mike Mitchell, Kiel is "one of the premier punters in the state of California." Jim Kiel is a graduate of Homestead High School.
4. Kjell Nesen, City College of San Francisco (6-1,
190) - A bounce back from Utah State University, Nesen may be familiar
to Southern California fans. He was a prep standout at St. Francis High School
in La Canada as a quarterback and punter. He signed with Washington State out of
high school and redshirted for the Cougars in 1999. He was competing for the
starting spot at both quarterback and punter in the Spring of 2000 but elected
to transfer. He was Utah State's starting punter in 2000. Regardless of
whether of not he wins the starting quarterback position at CCSF, he will be
among the state's top punters.
5. Jess Harmon, Saddleback College (6-0, 200) - Harmon
had a strong freshman season en route to being named second team All-Mission
Conference Central Division. Harmon's 36.8 yard average on 51 punts placed
him 19th in the state in 2000. He has a strong leg, allowing him to have
goog ahnd time to accompany his good distance. Coach Mark McElroy has high
expectations for Harmon in 2001. He will complete his A.A. and be able to
transfer mid-year as a 4-2-4 qualifier.
Jesse Nicassio, Citrus College (6-1, 175) - I had an opportunity to see Nicassio play when he was a senior at my alma mater, Oak Park High School in Agoura Hills, and noticed him right away. As a senior, he was already turning over spirals that traveled over 40 yards. I was surprised to see that he wasn't recruited out of high school. He took his talent out to Glendora where he had a strong freshman season at Citrus. Although his 35.6 yard average on 49 punts wasn't one of the higher averages in the state (35th), the average often doesn't tell the whole story. He was very effective for the Owls and is regarded by his coaching staff as a division I prospect. He should be even better in 2001.