When asking of one’s favorite football player, kickers and punters likely rank near the bottom of most lists; however, the tale of Washington State punter Oscar Draguicevich III could certainly challenge that narrative.
After four weeks, the redshirt sophomore is silently leading the nation in net punting average at 45.58 yards per boot. He came out of absolutely nowhere considering this is his first year with the program.
Fittingly, his roundabout path to Division I football was more than earned.
Born the son of an MLS player, Draguicevich III grew up with a focus on soccer playing it for three years in high school. After a serious ACL injury, he elected to turn toward football for his senior year earning second-team All-District honors.
“Up until his senior year it was all geared toward soccer,” his father Oscar Draguicevich said. “He was a late bloomer. Unfortunately for his high school coach, he didn’t really take off with his kicking and punting until later on in his senior year after football was done.”
Upon graduating from Hutto High School just outside Austin, Texas in 2016, Draguicevich III received a scholarship to play ball for the Cardinals at Incarnate Word University. He made the most of his opportunity putting 17 punts inside the 20-yard line as a freshman. His long for the year was monstrous 68-yard bomb.
After earning second-team All-Southland Conference honors, Draguicevich III set his sights on a higher stage. He wanted to play for a bigger school and asked for a transfer despite having no clear path or offers.
“When he said he wanted to do it, I said ‘Let’s go. Let’s go take that giant leap of faith. I believe in you’,” voiced his father.
The following season, Draguicevich III found himself at Temple Junior College; a school close to home without a football program. On his own, he continued to train relentlessly for an entire year with no motivation outside his own convictions.
“He trained harder than anyone I know. Not even having a facility to train at, we would have to go back to his high school,” admitted his father. “If it wasn’t open, we would jump the fence to get in and practice on a real field.”
Perhaps the hardest working punter of the 2017-2018 season was not even on a roster.
Hoping to catch the eye of a major program, Draguicevich III attended several camps and showcases. He even won a few competitions in the process. Through these camps, he was connected with Mississippi State, UTEP and of course Wazzu.
The original plan was to play at UTEP, but that soon fell through as the program had no more scholarships to give. Toward the end, Washington State and Mississippi State were the last two schools standing.
“The first day we met coach [Matt Brock] we thought he was somebody who was as driven as Oscar,” his father said. “So we thought they would make a good pair.”
And after just one visit to Pullman, Oscar Draguicevich III was ready to be Coug.
“He always trained like he wanted to be the best punter possible,” his father concluded. “I think he found exactly the right place.”
The punter is quick to show admiration of his surrounding team and coaching staff. And though he feels he has done well, Draguicevich III is not satisfied. He shows no interest in taking his foot off the gas.
With that mentality and skillset, it’s hard to argue Oscar Draguicevich III was born to be anything but a punter.
Perhaps this is just the beginning.
“When [Oscar Draguicevich III] was probably about six years old, we should have known he was going to a be a punter. We went to see the doctor to get his ears looked at and basically had to get him in a headlock. We forgot to grab his legs and when the doctor came over he got buried in the ribs. Oscar just about shot him across the room. I mean, he knocked the air out of the doctor.” – Oscar Draguicevich