We have 55 days until the Broncos defeat the Ragin' Cajuns, so today let's look at a numberless noob who kinda sorta could wear the double-fives—Joel Velazquez
#55, Joel Velazquez, True Freshman, P/K
Weight: 230 lbs
High School: Trabuco Hills High School, Mission Viejo, CA
How'd he get to the Blue™?
The stocky kicker was rated a 3-star recruit by Scout.com and got that rating by being a versatile special teams weapon for Trabuco Hills. Velazquez was selected to the All-CIF Southern Section Southwest Division Team as a punter after his senior season and also named first team All-Sea View League and All-County Third Team for his punting prowess. As a place kicker, Velazquez was 35-for-35 on PAT attempts and 6-for-9 on field-goal attempts his senior year and his kickoffs went for touchbacks 76% of the time. Not built like your a-typical kicker...he also competed in the shotput and discus for Trabuco Hills and holds top-10 school marks in 10-lb. and 12-lb. shotput events, and in 1.6-kg discus. Velazquez drew some interest, but to my knowledge the Broncos were his only firm offer.
Like he's striking the ball with a club...not because he suffers the deformity.
Ferris Bueller's pal Cameron Frye
Named to the All-CIF Southern Section Southwest Division Team as a punter in 2015. Named first team All-Sea View League and All-County Third Team in 2015. Perfect 35-for-35 on PATs as a senior.
Placekicking and punting previews are not my strong suit, but here we go. Velazquez comes in to the program at a time when the Broncos will need both a punter and placekicker to emerge, as both of their starters at those positions are seniors facing the end of their eligibility. Lou Groza Award watch-lister Tyler Rausa should be the focus of Boise State's kicking game this Fall and the consistently consistent Sean Wale should have punting duties sewn up. I think we can certainly afford to redshirt Velazquez for the time being and that's a luxury we haven't generally had with specialists in recent years.
Although Joel garnered most of his high school accolades as a punter, his average of 39.4 yards/punt still falls behind Wale's 3-year average of 41.5, but I suspect that average will creep up with some time in the program. What doesn't need much tuning up is his kickoffs, which as I stated before, he booted into the end zone close to 80% of the time. I think Velazquez can become a kickoff specialist in fairly short order and might be the only option at punter. Luckily for us, he's pretty good at both, so if he uses his (presumed) redshirt year effectively, he could enter the 2017 season as our primary special teams weapon. At 6'0" 230 lbs. he might be able to play a little linebacker too.
Is he on Twitter?
My family will always be with me out on the Blue. When things get tough I will always remember everything my family has done to get me here— Joel Velazquez (@JoelV_12) July 5, 2016
Completely made up fact
Velazquez shuns normal kicker training methods for the emerging discipline of karate piñata kicking.