Cody Webster Seeking Punting Scholarship

Cody Webster (Jack Lyman)

Illinois has strugged with the punting game in recent years. A scholarship will become available after this next season, and Illini coaches are scouring the countryside hoping to find a great punter who can be reliable consistently under all conditions. One possibility is Harrisburg, Pennsylvania's Cody Webster.

Punters live an anonymous life. Most are not household names as long as they do their job well. And they are often encouraged to walk onto a college campus without a scholarship. It can be a frustrating and long wait for a punter hoping to obtain a scholarship.

Cody Webster has been in contact with Illinois assistant coach Jim Pry. The Harrisburg, Pennsylvania product has created a national reputation for himself, and he is hoping the Illini have noticed.

"Coach Pry said a punting scholarship would be opening up. If they offer someone a scholarship, I hope it's me."

At the time of this interview, Cody was playing wide receiver for a group of Pennsylvania athletes at a Scout 7 on 7 camp in Columbus, Ohio. He had no illusions as to his best position for college football.

"I enjoy receiver, but I think my punting is where it's at."

Webster is modest about his abilities, but the statistics don't lie.

"My sophomore year, in 39 punts I had a 41.8 yard average. I was All-State that year. My junior year I had 55 punts for a 40.1 yard average. I was second team All-State that year."

More importantly, Cody has also fared well against top punters around the nation in direct competition.

"Chris Sailer runs a big camp out in Las Vegas every year, and I've attended that one two years in a row. He has me listed as fourth in the nation for my age group. That's the main one I've been going to."

Fourth this last summer, first the year before that. Colleges looking for punters hear good things about him through the Sailer camp.

"Illinois is real high, Pitt's right there just because it's close and I attended their junior day, Rutgers and Michigan. Not a one has offered a scholarship. I understand as a punter, that's gonna come late. I've just got to hold out and hope for the best."

Much goes into punting besides distance. In fact, some punters kick a football so far it outstrips the coverage, allowing returners to get up a head of steam on their returns. The net yardage becomes much less than the punt itself.

But Webster is known for his excellent hang time. That talent allows him to pin his kicks deep in opponent territory. He explains.

"I think the thing they're most happy about is my directional kicking. Not as much as my hang time, that's up there. Just pinning them deep in the red zone helps the defense out a lot."

Some punters are now kicking the point of the ball in order to get it to bounce backward when it hits the ground near the goal line. Cody has a different solution to the problem.

"I just hit high spirals. I'm a lefty, so the spin's different for the returners. It's kind of tough to receive."

According to those who know him well, Cody Webster can do it all as a punter. He is considering attending a summer camp at Illinois in the hope of receiving that coveted scholarship offer.

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