All-State specialist takes Wazzu official

JAKE MILLER

SPOKANE'S JAKE MILLER, an all-classifications All-State punter and kicker, took an official visit out to Washington State this weekend. The Cougars don't have a scholarship for him right now, but they're wooing him hard to become one of a handful of "preferred" walk-ons the school brings in each year. WSU's keen interest in the 6-5, 205-pound specialist is explained nicely by this factoid...

In Central Valley's nailbiting win over eventual state Class 4A runner-up Ferris this past fall, Miller booted field goals of 45 and 50 yards, and then recovered his own onsides kick late in the game.

And punter might be his best position at the next level.

"The visit went well, I had a nice time," Miller said of his trip to the Palouse. "The academics the school had to offer and all the facilities stood out...I think I'd have a good time there, it's somewhere I can see myself." Miller holds a 3.8 GPA.

On the field, he chalked up a 41.3 yards punting average this past season while booting 8-of-10 field goals.

His postseason honors were numerous: first-team All-GSL punter and kicker, all-classifications All-State punter by the Seattle Times, all-classifications All-State kicker by the Tacoma News Tribune, and Associated Press Class 4A All-State kicker.

MILLER SAID THE Cougs like him at punter but would also want to see him compete at kicker were he to walk-on at WSU.

"I talked to pretty much all the coaches. We talked about what their plan was for me and what they thought my role would be. They're thinking punter...and kicking-wise they said I can try that and see how that goes, maybe I can beat some people out," said Miller.

Miller met Cougar punter Reid Forrest, his host this weekend, a few years back at a punting camp.

"He was great, I had a good time with him. We met with a lot of players on the team, they're a good group ," said Miller.

MILLER SAID HE has another school or two he might still check out before coming to a decision.

"But I'm pretty sure I'm going to go to WSU," said Miller.

If he does head to Washington State, he'll become part of an accomplished group. The Lilac City has produced a long line of outstanding kickers for WSU: Legendary quarterback Butch Meeker of Lewis and Clark was also a record-setting kicker in the 1920s. There's was also Lyle Maskell of Lewis and Clark (1931 Rose Bowl team); Ted Gerela of Gonzaga Prep (WSU's first soccer style kicker, 1965); Joe Danelo of Gonzaga Prep (WSU's first 50-yard field goaler, early 70s); Chuck Diedrick of Ferris (a record-setter in the mid-70s); 1981 Holiday Bowl kicker Ward Leland of LC (the last straight-on kicker in the Pac-10) and Mead's Jason Hanson, one of the most decorated Cougars in school history.

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