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Wayne State Preview 2007: Special Teams August 14, 2007

Posted by City Hoops in Previews, Wayne State.
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Dante Dunn returns a kickoff for a touchdown against Indianapolis last year. Dunn and Joique Bell – ‘Thunder and Lightning’ in WSU circles – comprised the GLIAC’s most dangerous kickoff return tandem last season. (Photo by Ron Harper)

Click through for the preview …

Wayne State Football Preview 2007: Special Teams  

KICKER

Senior David Chudzinski is an AFCA All-American and not much more needs to be said. Last year, he was virtually perfect, connecting on 14-of-16 field goals – with a long of 49 yards – and all 33 extra point attempts.

He has a strong leg and launches at the appropriate trajectory – making his kicks less susceptible to wind. His kickoffs (non-wind aided) routinely travel inside the opposition 10-yard line, which helped WSU place third in the conference last year in kickoff coverage. That will be an asset this year as kickoffs are pushed back to the 30-yard line.

It’s a wonder how Chudzinski didn’t crack the lineup in two years at Toledo. The only negative is that he has just one more year of eligibility left for the Warriors.

PUNTER

Because junior-to-be Caleb McFerren quit the team, Chudzinski will handle the punting duties this year. The double-duty shouldn’t be too much to handle as Chudzinski has experience from his high school days. Expect little-to-no dropoff from McFerren, who actually had a promising career developing (was just a sophomore). Luis Gomez is listed as the backup on the depth chart. Mike Moynihan also punted in high school.

KICK RETURNER

Last year, the “Thunder and Lightning” tandem of Joique Bell and Dante Dunn was simply the most electrifying combo in the GLIAC and one of the most exciting to watch in all of Division II. Dunn took a kickoff back to the house against Indianapolis, while teams simply kicked away from Bell because of his game-breaking capabilities on every touch. Derrion Fuqua actually led the team last year with a 29.6 average (Dunn averaged 26.8 yards per return and Bell had 28.5) but kicking to any of these players ensured that WSU would start each drive with excellent field position. Darryl Graham is a potential candidate to return kicks, while WSU recruited lots of speed including Jeremy Jones, Tyler Amos, Dante Davis and Myles McNichols, among others.

PUNT RETURNER

The Warriors will have to replace Jerriel Burrus, the school’s all-time leader in punt returns and punt return yardage, but will have a bevy of candidates to do so in the aforementioned players.

NOTE

Winters decided last year to use his best players across the board on special teams, and the move helped turn WSU into an elite special teams unit, especially on the kickoff and punt coverage teams. Expect that same philosophy this year and expect little dropoff in performance despite a shift in special teams responsibilities to coach Landon Fox, who takes over for the departed E.J. Henderson.

POSITION STRENGTH: 4

Coming soon: WSU overview

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