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Top-rated punter gives Saint Francis unlikely weapon

– Saint Francis defensive coordinator Warren Maloney clearly remembers the day the Cougars secured Kollin Carman.

“I was at my wife’s grandfather’s birthday party, and the phone rang and his name popped up,” said Maloney, who had recruited Carman out of Columbus North. “I said, ‘I have to take this,’ and got up and walked outside and talked to him. And he’s here.”

Truth be known, not many coaches get excited by getting a punter and kicker to commit. The philosophy is there’s a kicker on every corner, and if a school loses one in the recruiting process, c’est la vie; another will be available, like a downtown bus.

“Normally that’s how it is,” Maloney said. “But not this one.”

“This one” happens to be the No. 1 punter in the NAIA who averages 44.5 yards on 31 punts this season. But even that is a misleading statistic, since he’s also become adept at dropping punts in and around the 10-yard line. In addition, most of his kickoffs are launched into the end zone, which prevents any chance of a run back.

Because of Carman’s six-punt performance in which he averaged 44 yards, the Cougars kept Taylor pinned in its own territory and finished with a 21-0 shutout. For his efforts, the junior was named the Mid-States Football Association Mideast League Specials Teams Player of the Week.

“He is an absolute weapon,” Cougars specials teams coach Eric Wagoner said.

His biggest game individually came in the Cougars’ 28-19 victory at William Penn when he averaged 53.5 yards on four punts, which included a career-best 74-yarder that traveled 67 yards in the air.

After two seasons of doing his thing at Columbus North, Eastern Michigan was the first college choice of the 6-foot-1, 190-pound Carman. But the Eagles signed another punter and let Carman drift away.

“So I got on my phone about a day later and called all the missing teams, and Saint Francis was the only one that picked up on the very first second,” Carman said. “I’m glad it did. I literally had no options at the end of it.”

Although he is an accounting major, he hopes there will be other options after his senior season.

Maybe the NFL.

“The way I look at it is if you’ve got the talent, you can make it to the NFL. In my position (the size of school) doesn’t really matter.”

Wagoner doesn’t flinch of Carman’s goal.

“He might get some looks. We’ve got guys looking at (wide receiver) Austin (Coleman). They’re going to see a kid punting the ball 60, 70 yards. They better go back and tell someone.”

stwarden@jg.net

Saint Francis

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