From Linemen to Punter By Braxton Troutman

Since the game of football has been around, punters have always been looked at as weird, not necessarily a position. Critics would say they’re only there to kick turnovers and look pretty on the sideline.

Sophomore Alex Macaluso thinks differently.

¨Punters are people too,” Macaluso says.

Growing up, Macaluso was a kid who was big and always wanted to be a blocker. As a kid, he showed greater strength and power when blocking off the line than the other kids.

¨I was always pretty good at blocking because I was one of the biggest kids on the team,” Macaluso says.

Once Macaluso was in the eighth grade, he discovered punting. Alex describes one day after practice, him and some teammates were seeing who could kick a football the furthest. Alex could kick, and punt, the furthest out of everybody.

As soon as he realized his potential in kicking, Macaluso knew he could make Varsity for Jeffersonville.

¨Kicking in high school is a lot different than middle school,” Macaluso said. “In high school, you have 200-pound men trying to take you out with all their momentum.¨

Despite initial fears, he was up for the test. To practice, Macaluso would go to Woehrle Field in Jeffersonville as much as possible with his dad, Dwayne. Macaluso would have his dad film him so he could review his punts.

“All pros watch film, it's what makes them better,¨ said Macaluso, when asked why he initially started filming.

Macaluso´s hard work and dedication would pay off. He would go on to start as a freshman for the Red Devils, and have a decent freshman season, averaging punts from 35 to 45 yards and around a four-second hangtime.

“There were some good ones and bad ones,” Macaluso says.

Macaluso´s most memorable play was against conference rival Columbus East.

“The ball was snapped over my head into the end zone,” Macaluso recalls. “I was trying to avoid a safety, so I ran with it. I ended up getting tackled by three men on the five-yard line. After the game, I went home and I saw that exact same play on the news. I´ll never forget that play.¨

Throughout the season Macaluso´s hang time and distance were getting better. He says he really got a lot of help from special teams coach Michael Dennis.

¨The punter’s main goal is to cause havoc for the other team. We want to pin them back as far as we can,¨ Dennis says.

While Macaluso mainly focuses on punts, he occasionally works on his kick-off, too. Macaluso was the backup placekicker for his freshman and sophomore year.

¨I never know when I'll have to go in. I just wait to hear my name and get the job done,” Macaluso says.

When it comes to field goals, he follows senior Jordan Khan on the depth chart.

“Punters are usually the ugliest player on the team, but they have the biggest leg,” Khan joked.

After finishing his sophomore season with a 4-4 regular season record, Macaluso is pumped for his junior year. Junior year in high school is when colleges start to be on the lookout for upcoming talent, even though punters do not get a lot of recognition when it comes to recruiting and being scouted.

However Macaluso wants to change that.

The junior-to-be has attended mini camps, including a combine at Notre Dame College in Ohio, as well as attending Kohl's Kicking Camp, finishing second in the punting competition.

He has written to Division One schools while also taking time to write to junior colleges. He intends to play at the collegiate level after high school, and his dream would be to attend Ohio State University and play for Urban Meyer.

Macaluso realizes that it will take a lot of time and practice, but he is willing to put in the work.

¨I want to show that punters can be just as important as a quarterback or a linebacker, and we can change the game,” said Macaluso.

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