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June 18, 2010

Ranking the Big 12: Kickers and Punters

They may be some of the more underappreciated players on the field, but as Nebraska's Alex Henery has proven the past two years, kickers and punters can be just as important as any position on the roster when it comes to winning football games. Huskeronline.com takes a look at the top kickers and punter in the Big 12 Conference heading into fall camp.

Other Rankings: QB l RB l WR l TE l OL | DT | DE | LB | CB | S

1. Alex Henery, Nebraska, 6-2, 175, Sr.
After receiving as much hype a kicker/punter had ever seen in recent memory heading into last season, Nebraska's Alex Henery more than lived up to it. By connecting on a school-record 24-of-28 field goals and averaging 41.4 yards per punt, Henery was one of the Huskers most consistent weapons all year long. He certainly caught the eyes of NFL scouts, and if he can replicate his 2009 performance, he should get a chance to kick - or punt - on Sundays.
2. Grant Ressel, Missouri, 6-1, 190, Jr.
Statistically, it's hard to argue against Missouri's Grant Ressel being ranked at the top of this list. Ressel converted 65-of-66 total kicks last season, including 26-of-27 field goals and 39-of-39 extra points. His 98.5-percent success rate set a new NCAA single-season record, and his field-goal percentage (96.3%) led the nation.
3. Derek Epperson, Baylor, 6-3, 235, Sr.
As far as pure punters go, there might not be anyone in the country much better than Baylor's Derek Epperson. A two-time All-Big 12 selection and honorable mention All-American, Epperson's punting average of 42.4 ranked sixth nationally and was the third-best single-season average in school history. Considering the punters who have come through Waco, that's not too shabby.
4. Tress Wray, Oklahoma, 6-1, 215, So.
It took Tress Way just one season to etch his name in Oklahoma's record books, as he came onto the scene last year as a redshirt freshman and ended with a punting average of 45.7 that ranked No. 2 on the all-time Sooner charts. He also set school records for single-game punting average (58.8 vs. Oklahoma State) and most punts over 50 yards in a season (22).
5. Jacob Branstetter, Kansas, 5-9, 170, Sr.
Kansas's Jacob Branstetter boasts one of the more power legs in the Big 12, which he definitely put on display last season. Topped by a 57-yarder against Oklahoma, Branstetter had a stretch of five field goals where he set a New career long with each kick. His accuracy hasn't been the best, making just 13-of-19 field goals and missing two extra points last season, but his power rivals anyone in the league.

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