With only 25 days left until Oregon State starts fall camp we are counting down by previewing the 25 most valuable football players that will help lead the Beavers to a successful 2016 season. We'll countdown by highlighting a new player each day until fall camp starts. To kick off the list it's only fitting to focus on the two players committed to moving the football with their feet.
T-#25: Nick Porebski - Punter
Nick Porebski is a junior for Oregon State and was recently named to the Ray Guy pre-season award watch list which is awarded to the nation's top punter each season. Porebski also finished as a top 10 finalist for the Ray Guy award in 2015.
The Australian native transferred to Oregon State after one year at Snow College. And burst onto the scene punting 35 times in Oregon State's first 5 games.
As Beaver fans know, last year's offense struggled mightily without a reliable signal-caller distributing the ball to playmakers. Because of Oregon State's often inept offense, Porebski's number was called on early and often.
Nick Porebski ended his sophomore year with 72 punts and an average of 41.1 yards per punt. He also had a career long 66-yarder in the UCLA game. He ended the season punting for a whopping total of 2958 yards, which was good for the 33rd highest total in the nation last year.
Oregon State's offense should be much improved headed into the 2016 season; hopefully meaning they rely less on Porebski's leg. Either way, Porebski will play a key role in how Oregon State does this year. If Porebski can consistently give Oregon State good field position it will go a long way in helping the Beavers young defensive as they work in a number of first-time starters and newcomers.
T-#25: Garrett Owens - Kicker
Garrett Owens is headed into his junior season at Oregon State. Owens from Arroyo Grande, California split time with Trevor Romaine his freshman season, but took over full-time kicking duties as a sophomore last year.
Owens doesn't have the strongest leg but has been remarkably consistent going 40-for-40 on extra points in his career at Oregon State. Last year he went 11-for-15 on field goals (73.3%), including a 50-yarder against Washington State.
Garrett Owens also booted 46 kickoffs last year totaling 2574 yards for an average of 55.96 yards per kickoff. As mentioned earlier Owens does not have the strongest leg tallying just 7 touchbacks for a below average percentage of 15.2%. Hopefully, Owens has improved his kickoff strength this off-season, while staying consistent on field goals and extra points.
While kickers and punters often don't get their due respect in football; we've all seen games that have been won or lost based off a successful (or failed) kick/punt. Just ask Michigan how that feels.
It's comforting that Oregon State will have highly talented and experienced specialists going into the 2016 season. With so many newly projected starters on defense as well as a new QB atop the spring depth chart; Nick Porebski and Garrett Owens will be extremely valuable for the Beavers this upcoming season.