University of Washington senior punter Korey Durkee has been named to the Ray Guy Award preseason watch list, which goes to the best punter in college football.
Durkee, a graduate of Gig Harbor High School, said he was honored to be named to the list.
“It’s kind of surreal,” Durkee said. “It’s something I’ve looked forward to since my sophomore year in high school since I started kicking and learning about the awards.”
A University of Washington player has never won the Ray Guy Award, which was first awarded in 2000.
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“That’d be pretty exciting to be the first,” Durkee said.
Durkee averaged 42.1 yards per punt in his junior campaign. In his senior season, he’s hoping the bump it up.
“Coach (Chris) Pete(rsen) and our staff always tell us to have specific goals,” Durkee said. “I want to average 45 yards or better this year. That’ll help me do my job to change the game and shift momentum. Second, I want to get the Ray Guy Award. My third goal is eventually to do well enough to make it to an NFL camp.”
Chris Petersen left Boise State last season to coach the Huskies after former UW coach Steve Sarkisian bolted for USC. Petersen led the Huskies to an 8-6 overall record in his first season at the helm. Despite the departure of several big-name players on the defensive side of the ball to the NFL Draft, Durkee is confident the Huskies will be competitive.
“We’ve got a lot of young guys,” Durkee said. “It’s going to be fun to do. We’ve got tremendous amounts of energy. It’s going to be exciting. We have a lot of guys to prove themselves, we’ll see where it takes us.”
Durkee said the transition with the new coaching staff has been fairly smooth.
“Those coaches are such great guys,” he said. “It was easy from the get-go. From a football standpoint, all the schemes are starting to come together now.”
Durkee said the main thing he’s continued to work on in the offseason is being consistent with his punts.
“That’s always a thing with punters, just being able to repeat everything to the best ability every time,” he said.
The Huskies will open their season on the road at Petersen’s former school, Boise State.
“I’m pretty excited,” Durkee said. “Growing up, watching people play on the famous blue field, and having Coach Pete go back, I’m sure it’s cool for him. Hopefully it will be a good kick start to a great season.”
Durkee has never played on Boise State’s famous blue turf field, but is excited to play in the unique atmosphere. Durkee said every game will be important for the team, but pointed to the clash with USC as a game he’s especially looking forward to.
“Just seeing the old coaching staff, it’ll be a good game,” Durkee said.
While he’s been enrolled in summer courses at UW, Durkee makes it back to Gig Harbor every once in a while to help his parents with chores. Helping with chores is a small repayment for everything his parents have done for him over the years.
“I really appreciate them,” Durkee said.