August 24, 2014
Fall Camp Preview: The Specialists
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The Northern Arizona specialist unit lost an All-American, who was one of the best in the country in punting, but a new year allows for new people to step up.
Missing from the unit this season will be All-American Andy Wilder, who departed due to graduation. Wilder was the Lumberjacks' punter for the past two seasons. A consistent player for the special teams unit, NAU will look to fill the void left by one of the best.
"We're kind of kicking by committee," said Souers. "This year we have spread out the duties amongst the specialist. Each will handle their particular area, and we'll have to see where it goes from here."
Stepping up to the plate in camp was freshman punter Ben Sweet
. The newcomer will have his hands full getting used to the speed of the game at the collegiate level, as he handles the punting duties this season. Backing up Sweet will be sophomore transfer Jordan Morgan
, who also has some kicking experience.
Junior Ryan Hawkins and sophomore Brian Drulias will handle this year's placekicking and kickoff duties. Hawkins has the most experience out of the two after appearing in all 12 games last season. He recorded 58 kickoffs for a total of 3,561 yards and an average of 61.4 yards per kick.
Short snapper Hayden Renning and long snapper Andy Bachelier will lead the unit during their senior season. Both players have played important roles for NAU over the years, and will be called upon to do the same in their last year.
The Lumberjacks have an assortment of talent at the returner positions, but look for junior Alex Holmes
or freshman Bryant O'Georgia
to handle punt return duties. As for the kickoff returns freshman Elijah Marks
and sophomore Delvin Batiste
are solid possibilities.