RECRUITING SPOTLIGHT: Punter Austin McNamara
The Red Raiders received a special Christmas present with the verbal commit of Austin McNamara (Gilbert Arizona), a potent punter/kicker who pledged to the Red Raiders over in-state powers Arizona and Arizona State. McNamara is a 3-star recruit and currently ranks as the 3rd ranked punter in the nation according to 247Sports.
At 6-foot-4, 165-pounds, McNamara uses his length to generate tremendous leg power. This season for the Highland Hawks, McNamara averaged an astounding 42 yards-per-punt and had 12 punts downed inside the 20-yard line.
McNamara is also a talented kicker. Last season he was 12 of 18 on field goals. It’s unclear if the Red Raiders will use McNamara in the kicking game with freshman Alan Orona arriving next fall. However, McNamara adds depth to a position group full of inexperience.
McNamara’s commitment couldn’t have come at a better time. With Australian punter Jordan Sandy decomitting in early December, the Red Raiders were left with a huge hole at a crucial area of special teams.
McNamara will have big shoes to fill next fall replacing the production of last year’s Ray Guy Award Semifinalist Dominic Panazzolo. With an average of 42.1 yards, Panazzolo regularly gave the Red Raiders defense good field position throughout the season.
With less than a month left until National Signing Day, this is a tremendous victory for new head coach Matt Wells. McNamara’s signing assures Red Raiders fans that Wells and his staff are addressing needs with talented players.