Kicker Tristan Vizcaino of La Verne, Calif., became the eighth verbal commitment of WSU's 2014 class on Sunday, according to Britton Ransford of WazzuWatch:
Many schools avoid giving scholarships to high school kickers, preferring instead to recruit walk-ons and give out scholarships to those who earn the job -- such was the route taken by Andrew Furney. But Mike Leach has continually shown that special teams matter to him, giving a scholarship to junior college transfer Michael Bowlin in his first recruiting class, even as Furney held one as well. Bowlin ended up kicking off and punting for WSU last season.
Both Bowlin and Furney will exhaust their eligibility at the conclusion of this season, so the need for a kicker is high.
Vizcaino actually seems to be in the Bowlin mold: A big leg that can handle both kicking and punting, if you believe kicking instructor Chris Sailer. From his website:
Tristan is a very talented kicker. He has a huge leg and hits a great ball off the ground. His best ball is as good as anyone's. Kickoffs are outstanding and D1 ready. Also a big time punting prospect. Tristan is a hard worker who is improving at an exceptional rate. Expect him to have a huge summer. A fine young man with a great work ethic. Has as much potential as anyone. Big time prospect. OFFER NOW!!!
I think we all can agree that the all caps and exclamation points are what sold Leach! In all seriousness, though, "his best ball is as good as anyone's" actually means he needs to get more consistent. Of course, that's scary when talking about a kicker. But I think we can infer something about Leach from the offers to Bowlin and Vizcaino: He sees the big leg as a scarce commodity and is willing to pay for touchbacks and booming punts that flip the field.
I have no idea if he utilized long and short kickers at Texas Tech, but I wouldn't be shocked at all if he goes out and also recruits a walk-on whose leg only goes to about 40 or 45 yards but is deadly accurate.
Here's some video of Vizcaino working with Sailer, although it's tough to tell just how long these kicks are. Additionally, it appears there's a pretty significant wind at his back.
Also, there's game action at his Hudl page, starting with some booming kickoffs that go from the 40 to out of the back of the end zone. It's actually quite impressive.
How do you feel about this? You like giving a scholarship to a big-legged kicker?