After the departure of four-year starter Kevin Goessling, Fresno State’s new coaching staff entered Fall Camp with just one walk-on kicker returning on the roster, Curtis O’Neill. After struggling early in spring, Fresno State head coach Tim DeRuyter confirmed that O’Neill has left the team to focus on academics. A quick replacement was found however, as Blake Dunn arrived for his first practice Thursday.
“We were real concerned,” said DeRuyter.
“We brought in Dunn. Blake did a nice job kicking the ball today… We’re excited to get a chance to evaluate him because I think he’s going to be a factor.”
After graduating from Bullard in 2009, Dunn walked on at Washington State. Dunn spent two seasons at WSU, but after spending a redshirt season and not seeing the field his second season, he returned home to Fresno.
Dunn enrolled at Fresno State the past fall and contacted former Special Teams Coach Pete Alamar about the 2011 season, but said that it “didn’t work out.” When the new coaching staff arrived in December, Coach Pete Germano contacted Bullard High School about a possible kicker recruit when he was referred to Dunn who was already on campus.
“I thought my football career was over,” said Dunn. “My high school coach referred me to [Coach Germano] to maybe give me a chance and it worked out for the best.”
Dunn said he started working out his leg when after being referred to the coaching staff.
“I didn’t start kicking until the last couple months. I pretty much took the whole year off. I stayed in shape and it kind of paid off.”
Dunn’s strong leg made him a college prospect coming out of Bullard High. Dunn’s range expands as far as 55 yards.
“In high school my longest was 55. I tied the school record there.”
“My leg feels good though and fresh. 50 or 55 yards; I feel comfortable around there.”
Dunn is eligible for the upcoming 2012-2013 season, but he still has to earn the starting spot. Coach DeRuyter plans to bring in several walk-ons in the fall.
“There’s going to be open competition and obviously with Dunn being here it helps show what he can do,” DeRuyter said. “But we’ll probably bring in a couple guys to compete with him…
“We’ll probably bring three kickers into camp and we’ll bring a couple punters into camp. To me the only guy who’s established himself is Andrew Shapiro.
“We’ll evaluate them through the year and they could earn [a scholarship],” DeRuyter added.
Redshirt freshman Quentin Breshears is the only other returning kicker currently on the team. Breshears spent the fall as a punter, but has since transitioned to kicker due to lack of depth in spring practice.
“Having a couple guys here to compete through spring camp and bring in a couple guys; we’ll be fine come fall.”
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