By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– Punting and kicking is such a complex part of the game of football. Hip rotation, plant foot, what part of the foot makes contact makes a simple motion more complex when you think about it.
“The art of the kick is very hard to explain but when everything goes right and you see the punt explode off of your foot it’s the same feeling as winning a championship game,” said Blanchet Catholic’s Max Hoskins. “When everything clicks together and you are punting bombs there is no greater feeling.”
Over the Summer Hoskins was at Regis, practicing his punts with South Salem-grad and current Southern Oregon University-freshman Tiw Umulap. Working on his craft not just for his Junior Year, but also preparing for the Kick Vegas XXXVI this past November.
“It’s always a great experience to get to kick with other specialists especially ones who are lucky enough to be able to kick and punt and the next level. It is always great to have another set of eyes to help critique the small things,” Hoskins said of working with the Saxon-Grad.
The camp itself was two-days long. The punting portion was ran by former UCLA punter Aaron Perez. The first day of the camp was a training day where the coaches evaluate you, your fundamentals and attitude. Pretty much the in-depth details of you at the position outside of the kicks and how far you can boot it down the field.
The second day, you get six punts from a live snapper. They take the average distance, hang time and use their point system to rank you.
“I think it surprises people how complex a punt is,” Hoskins said. “From catch to kick you have to focus on the height the ball is and the angle the tip of the football is along with the distance the ball is from your body. If any of these things goes wrong you’re going to have a harder time hitting a good ball.
“Being around qualified coaches like that is such a great honor and they always have helpful tips. The whole camp was a blast meeting new kids and making friendships.”
Coming out of the camp, Hoskins was ranked 12th in the nation for his graduation class of Class of 2022 while receiving a 4.5-star ranking as a punter according to the Chris Sailer Kicking rankings. Averaged over 40-yards a punt with a solid hang time the scouting report out of the camp read.
Being from Oregon, and a small school kid, it’s a nice start. But there’s room to grow for the Cavalier punter.
“I am not satisfied with my rank and being so close to Top 10 and Top 5 in my class pushes me to work harder. I also think coming from Oregon and going to a smaller school pushes me to show the nation that the size of school doesn’t determine the quality of athletes,” Hoskins said. “Vegas showed me that I can compete on a national level and be one of the best while also helping me realize that there is work that needs to be done.”
Hoskins mentioned that, as he approaches his Junior season with Blanchet Catholic, that consistency will be crucial. Hit an A-plus ball as he points out as the Cavs are scheduled to start the season in March.