Year Winner School
2000 Kevin Stemke Wisconsin
2001 Travis Dorsch Purdue
2002 Mark Mariscal Colorado
2003 B.J. Sander Ohio State
2004 Daniel Sepulveda Baylor
2005 Ryan Plackemeier Wake Forest
2006 Daniel Sepulveda Baylor
2007 Durant Brooks Georgia Tech
2008 Matt Fodge Oklahoma State
Brooks was recently signed onto the practice squad for the Packers. Sepulveda had season ending knee surgery in June. Plackemeier is on the Redskins roster. Some of the others were drafted, did stints in the now defunct NFL Europe, and/or Canada and may have been an NFL roster breifly.
The point of this is it's darn hard to make it to the NFL as a punter and even harder to stay there. I know some guys in their mid to late 20's that still live for the dream of a phone call even as 20 - 30 good players come out of the D1 ranks alone (not to mention the lower divisions) that are solid competitors for maybe one or two spots.
I hope Waylon can stay in the league and have an impact for the Cardinals. One thing he seems acutely aware of is that he will absolutely be in competition for the job every step of the way. NFL coaches are more quirky than college coaches when it comes to specialists and often times it comes down to "what have you done for me lately". I'm happy Waylon has made it this far and wish him the best of luck. He certainly has all the tools.
: SLV alum Prather has foot in the door, inks
: future contract with NFL's Arizona Cardinals
: By JIM SEIMAS
: Posted: 02/09/2009 01:30:03 AM PST
: Waylon Prather's foot is in the door. And
: for an aspiring NFL punter, that's reason
: for optimism.
: Prather, formerly of San Lorenzo Valley High
: and San Jose State, signed a future contract
: for the 2009 season with the Super Bowl
: XLIII runner-up Arizona Cardinals on Dec.
: 30. The team published the transaction on
: its Web site Wednesday.
: If Prather makes the team next year and
: remains on the roster the duration of the
: season, he'll earn the league minimum for
: rookies, $310,000.
: But if his first year of job hunting has
: taught him anything, it's not to be
: celebrate too soon.
: "There's no job security," Prather
: said. "Of all the teams I tried out
: for, all those teams wanted to make a change
: or did. When you're on a team, you've got to
: appreciate it every day, because you never
: know when it will end."
: Prather reports for offseason workouts early
: next month. He'll also take part in mini
: camp and organized team activities after the
: NFL Draft in April.
: Out of college, Prather, 23, signed as
: undrafted free agent with the New Orleans
: Saints in 2008. He was cut just before the
: regular season began. The next day he worked
: out with the Cardinals. They were one of
: more than a dozen teams to have him
: participate in workouts over the course of
: the season, which included a short-lived
: stint on the New York Jets practice squad.
: Twice, Prather flew from one workout
: straight to another: from Kansas City to
: Washington and Pittsburgh to Cincinnati.
: "I got to see a lot of the country,
: well, at least a lot of areas," Prather
: said. "There wasn't time to go
: sight-seeing or anything. I've been to so
: many different airports on so many airlines.
: If anyone needs to know anywhere to eat in
: an airport, I know."
: Still, Prather is excited about the
: opportunity to compete for a job in Arizona.
: Punter Ben Graham, who had mixed results in
: the Super Bowl loss to Pittsburgh, is a free
: agent, but Prather figures he'll have some
: competition for the role.
: "I'm real excited," Prather said.
: "It's an ideal place to play. Aside
: from San Francisco or Oakland, it's close to
: Prather said a handful of teams expressed
: interest in signing him to a future contract
: last month, but Washington and Arizona were
: the only teams to extend offers.
: "Both places were great
: opportunities," he said. "Arizona
: was the place from the beginning I wanted to
: go. It's a great place to play and live.
: They have an up-and-coming team. It was the
: first team to work me out after the Saints
: cut me. I felt like I could compete for
: Prather said his confidence never wavered
: since San Jose State, where he averaged 40.1
: yards a kick over four seasons as a walk-on
: turned scholarship player. He was invited to
: the Hula Bowl showcase in Hawaii after his
: senior season in 2007.
: While Prather met some scouts in Hawaii --
: very few kickers or punters get drafted in
: the seven-round NFL Draft -- he said it
: didn't compare to the exposure he got during
: his workouts.
: "I've met so many coaches and other
: personnel," he said. "It has been
: great exposure."