We have reached the end of the Conference USA preseason position reviews series as the final position we will evaluate will be the punters in this conference. The grading categories: “Great Shape,” “Good Shape,” and “We’ll See.”
To elaborate on the grades, "We'll See" means exactly what it means. We don’t know if that position is going to turn out to be a positive due to a lack of proven contributors and questionable depth. At this time, there’s no way to know.
“Good Shape” means known commodities are at the position but there’s still room for improvement. Depth is probably decent at the position but an injury could be catastrophic.
“Great Shape” means all-conference performers are at this position or there is good-to-great depth. You definitely want your team to be here.
Over half the conference returns their punter for last year.
1. Rice: Jack Fox earned an Honorable Mention for last year’s All-CUSA team and was second in the conference with 23 punts pinned inside the 20 with a 60 percent fair-catch-to-punts-pinned-inside-the-20 ratio (FC/I20 ratio).
2. Western Kentucky: Jake Collins was on the All-CUSA Second Team last year and returns as the most accomplished punter in the conference. Last year he averaged 42.7 yards per punt with nine punts pinned inside the 20.
3. UTEP: The Miners also return a punter who received an Honorable Mention for the All-CUSA team as Alan Luna averaged 41 yards per punt with 14 punts pinned inside the 20.
4. Old Dominion: As a freshman Bailey Cate averaged 37.8 yards per punt with and led the conference with 24 punts pinned inside the 20, and had a conference-high 82.5 FC/I20 ratio.
5. Marshall: Kaare Vedvik averaged 40 yards per punt with 21 punts pinned inside the 20 and a 68.6 percent FC/I20 ratio.
6. UTSA: Yannis Routsas had a 47.8 percent FC/I20 ratio and averaged 42 yards per punt with 11 punts pinned inside the 20.
7. Charlotte: Arthur Hart only averaged 39 yards per punt but he had 14 punts pinned inside the 20.
8. Middle Tennessee: Matt Bonadies averaged 38 yards per punt as a sophomore with 14 punts pinned inside the 20.
9. FIU: Stone Wilson averaged 37 yards per punt as a sophomore with 14 punts pinned inside the 20.
10. FAU: With the departure of Dalton Schomp, redshirt senior Ryan Rickel will take over.
11. Southern Miss: Tyler Sarrazin is gone and the replacement could be Arkansas State transfer Tyler Flathau.
13. Louisiana Tech: The Bulldogs must replace Gerald Shouse and incoming Australian punter Davan Dyer looks to be the favorite to win the job.
13. UAB: UAB’s special teams has been pretty good under Bill Clark. I’m not sure who’s going to be the punter though but I have faith he’ll be solid.
14. North Texas: The Mean Green will have to replace All-CUSA First Team punter Eric Keena with Blake Patterson or Alvin Kenworthy.