Special teams review: Punter

We conclude our position reviews with punter, where nine starters return.

Here's how they stack up.


Tom Hackett, Utah: Utah led the Pac-12 in net punting and Hackett led the conference with an average of 43.4 yards per punt, burying 27 kicks inside the 20. He won first-team All-PAC-12 honors and is an All-American candidate.

Ben Rhyne, Stanford: Rhyne ranked second in the conference with 42.9 yards per punt. He had 12 kicks of 50-plus yards and put 15 inside the 20.

Sean Covington, UCLA: As a freshman, Covington ranked fourth in the conference with an average of 42.6 yards per punt, but the Bruins also ranked second in the league in net punting.

Darragh O'Neill, Colorado: O'Neill averaged 40.5 yards per punt last year and pinned 22 of 56 boots inside the 20.

Keith Kostol, Oregon State: Kostol averaged 40.5 yards per punt -- same as O'Neill -- and pinned 23 of 67 boots inside the 20.

Cole Leininger, California: Leininger tied for second in the conference with a 42.9-yard average, and his 14 punts of more than 50 yards ranked second in the conference. The Bears, however, did rank 10th in the league in net punting.


Kris Albarado, USC: While Albarado ranked 12th in the conference with a meager 37.1 yards per punt average, he did kill 27 of 64 inside opponent's 20 yard line, a better rate than Hackett. He doesn't have a big leg -- just four punts over 50 yards -- and the Trojans still ended up 11th in net punting.

Drew Riggleman, Arizona: Riggleman ranked eighth in the conference with a 40.1 yard average. He did rank tied for third with 12 punts of 50 or more yards and killed 18 inside the 20. The Wildcats ranked sixth in net punting. There could be a challenge from the incoming Josh Pollack.


Matt Haack, Arizona State: The Sun Devils struggled in the punt game last year, and Alex Garoutte lost his job to Haack, who was strong during spring practices. Both, however, averaged under 39 yards per kick, and the Sun Devils were last in the conference in net punting.

Washington: Korey Durkee has some experience, averaging 36.9 yards on 15 punts in 2012 as a true freshman, so he's the frontrunner to replace the valuable Travis Coons. Incoming kicker/punter Tristan Vizcaino could be a factor.

Washington State: Wes Concepcion took over the job last year from Michael Bowlin and averaged just 36.2 yards per punt.

Oregon: Matt Wogan is expected to handle both the punting and kicking duties after just kicking last year. He was solid punting during the spring.

Other position reviews: