It may have raised a few eyebrows among Washington State fans when the Cougars added a punter to their 2021 recruiting class during the early signing period last week.
Apparently, it was just good foresight from Nick Rolovich and his coaching staff.
While a handful of WSU seniors have already committed to playing for the Cougars again in 2021, arguably the best punter to come through Pullman will opt out and take his chances at the next level.
Oscar Draguicevich III announced on Twitter on Monday that he’s declaring for the NFL, with hopes of distinguishing himself to scouts and becoming a rare punter selection in the league’s 2021 draft, set for April 29-May 1 in Cleveland.
Draguicevich leaves WSU as the school’s record-holder with a career punting average of 45.7 yards, more than two yards better than the previous record set by Gavin Hendrick from 1974-77.
“Thank you to Washington State University and to all the Coug fans for an incredible 3 years!” Draguicevich wrote on Twitter. “To my teammates and coaches, thank you for the incredible memories and life lessons what will last forever. Wearing crimson and grey and playing in Martin Stadium is something special that I’ll never forget!
“After talking to family and coaches, I’ve decided that I will be forgoing my final year of NCAA eligibility and declare for the 2021 NFL Draft.”
Although he played in nine fewer games during the truncated 2020 season, Draguicevich recorded the best punting average of his career at 46.7 yards per punt, after averaging 45.7 as a sophomore and 45.1 as a junior. Draguicevich had the Pac-12’s second-best punting average this season and ranked first in net punting, with an average of 41.6 yards per punt.
Despite playing in just four games, Draguicevich still managed to stick eight of his 19 punts inside the 20-yard line and had five punts of 50 yards or longer. Draguicevich recorded the longest punt of his career, and the longest by a Pac-12 punter this season, when he booted a 78-yarder against Oregon in November.
A two-time Ray Guy Award watch list selection, Draguicevich was named All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention after his redshirt sophomore season in 2018, and was named to the preseason All-Pac-12 First Team entering the 2020 season. More awards could be rolling in soon for the Hutto, Texas, native, with the conference announcing its postseason selections Tuesday.
It’s rare that more than two or three punters are selected in the NFL draft. A total of only eight punters have been taken in the past three drafts. Two punters, Texas A&M’s Braden Mann and Syracuse’s Sterling Hofrichter, were taken in the 2020 NFL Draft, but neither before the sixth round.
The Cougars may have just signed Draguicevich III’s replacement, receiving a letter of intent from Australian punter Nick Haberer last Tuesday. The only other option on WSU’s current roster is redshirt freshman walk-on Andrew Boyle, who’s listed as both a punter and kicker.
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