Who is Wyoming’s new punter?
LARAMIE -- What do you know about Wyoming's new punter Ralph Fawaz?
Probably not much. You're not alone.
What we do know is the freshman is the lone punter getting reps this spring, according to head coach Craig Bohl.
Remember Bohl only knew his new placekicker in 2020 had a red shoe and his name was John. That's John Hoyland, of course, and he is coming off an All-American campaign.
Fawaz is a 6-foot-1, 195-pound walk-on is from Cache, Oklahoma, a town of less than 3,000 residents in the southwest part of the state. There, he was an All-District placekicker and punter. He was also named the Special Teams Player of the Year in his classification.
That'll happen when you make 6-of-8 field goals and 37-of-38 point-after attempts. By the way, one of those was blocked in each category. As a punter, Fawaz averaged more than 49 yards per boot. He pinned opponents inside their own 20-yard line 20 times in 32 chances.
He also unleashed beauties like these:
Fawaz went to a Chris Sailer kicking camp in Dallas after his senior season. He finishing third overall in punting, averaging better than 48 yards per kick.
Makes sense that he performed better in actual games. Bohl said that has been the case during Fawaz's time in Laramie, too.
"He punted the ball well Saturday," Bohl said Tuesday night during his bi-weekly Zoom call with the media. "Actually, he punts better in the scrimmage and during live stuff than what he does in practice."
Here's what Sailer had to say about Fawaz after the camp.
"Ralph is a big-time high school kicking and punting prospect. He is a great looking athlete with a powerful leg," Sailer wrote, in part, on his website. "... He is also a talented punter. Ralph has the frame and athleticism to develop into a special player at the position. He is a competitor that does well under pressure. I really like his all around upside. He has all the tools to compete at any college level. He is a fine young man that is always a pleasure to work with. Look for Ralph to dominate Vegas XXXV, picking up college offers. OFFER NOW!!!"
Wyoming did just that.
Fawaz accepted, sight unseen, according to a story in The Lawton Constitution.
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The media hasn't gotten a chance to speak with the new punter yet. COVID-19 put the brakes on in-person interviews last fall. He hasn't been one of the two players the school provides in its weekly press conferences.
Another thing we do know for a fact though is punting wasn't exactly Wyoming's strong suit over a six-game slate last fall.
Despite kicking in the thin air of the highest elevated stadium in Division-I football, Nick Null, a graduate transfer from Cornell, who entered the transfer portal after the season, averaged just 37.4 yards per try. That ranked the Cowboys dead last in the 12-team Mountain West a season ago.
So, will Fawaz take over punting and kickoff duty like Null did in 2020? Not likely.
"I don't believe so, but we'll take a look," Bohl said. "Many times that's a good double. The punter surprisingly, a lot of times, does a good job of kickoffs, but we'll take a look at where we're at. But I would probably say that would be doubtful right now."
Wyoming ranked fourth in the league last fall, averaging 61.7 yards per kickoff. Null finished with 14 touchbacks on 35 attempts.
The other candidates to handle those duties who are currently on the roster are Hoyland and Luke Glassock.
We don't know much about the Cowboys' new punter, but one story we found shines a bright light on his character.
As a senior, Fawaz put out a challenge to his local community. For every successful field-goal attempt and each punt that landed inside the 20, he donated funds to the local Special Olympics.
He raised more than $5,000.
"We encourage our young men in our program to donate their time and do some voluntary work and help people out," Cache head coach Faron Griffin told ABC 7 News in 2019. "We’re trying to do more than win ball games here in our program. We want to build productive citizens, good fathers, good husbands for the future. It just goes right along with what we’re trying to do in our program and I think it’s a great idea."
Those words stuck.
"They don’t get funded by the school and they have to ask for money. Fawaz told the news channel. "This way, they won’t ever have to ask for cash this year. It will just be funded by me."
Fawaz missed practice on Tuesday. Bohl said he was dealing with the stomach flu. Still, what he has shown so far in practice and scrimmages, Bohl is confident in one thing.
"He's been doing well and right now he's slated as our No. 1 punter."