Concern has arisen about the kicking situation in Pullman after Washington State failed to close on Tristan Vizcaino in the late stages of recruiting. When it happened, I thought maybe the coaching staff had told Vizcaino that he may have to take a walk-on offer instead because there were others that they were expecting to come in and fill the spots, but after looking at the situation a little closer, I no longer believe that to be the case.
The Cougars are in desperate need of a second kicker to push for the starting spot and there’s no way they would have pulled the Vizcaino offer. Yet still, after the flip to coach Petersen at Washington, there is very little chatter right now on the recruiting front for who may come in to try and replace the graduating Andrew Furney. Not to worry Cougar fans, it’s not time to panic yet.
In fact the reason I said “second kicker” is because there is a kicker on campus already that not many people know about, his name is Erik Powell. He played soccer as a young buck in Vancouver, WA before becoming a kicker as a junior in high school. He was invited to WSU and accepted a walk-on offer last Summer as you can see by the linked article from CF.C. So the cupboard isn’t completely bare, in fact far from it.
Like I mentioned, Powell is relatively new to football (see more in link below) but is really looking like he may be a natural, kicking a very high percentage of his kickoffs into the endzone in high school. According to special teams coach Eric Russell, Powell did not miss a field goal in any of the sessions he’s been a part of at WSU.
It’s only February and there are still plenty of undecided kickers that the Cougars are probably looking at. Maybe a JC guy or two as well, we just have to trust that Russell and Leach at this point are looking at their best options for competition and will find someone eventually.
WSU has 2 punters in Wes Concepcion and Jon Weilbacher to compete and a kicker in Powell. If worst comes to worst and the Cougs can’t bring another kicker on board in the preferred walk-on slot, Concepcion would probably battle Powell for the kicking spot just to push them, but it would seem like with a fairly strong leg that Powell would win rather handily.
Rarely would you have more than 2 kickers competing anyway, so panic from our point of view is quite premature. There’s still 5 months til competition there becomes a serious concern in my opinion.