The new and up-and-coming Union High football program is now bearing fruits in the college game.
Maybe you don't remember Jedidiah Barnett (I didn't) from the run to the 3A state title game in 2008, or the semifinals a year ago for the Camas program. Barnett was an all-state punter.
And not just an all-state punter - he won national competitions in pretty much every special-teams area that requires the foot to kick a football.
Spurning scholarship offers from smaller NCAA Division I schools, as well as Div. I-AA and Div. II programs, Barnett opted to be an invited walk-on at California this season.
"Absolutely, it’s a big investment, but I knew it was something I could do," said Barnett this week. He's one of three Washington products on the Bears roster.
"I knew I have the talent to do it. Every kid who is trying to pursue a full-ride offer signs on national letter of intent day. This is going to be a challenge, but I felt it was the right decision."
As he tells the story, Barentt was a virtual unknown on the national scene when he entered a Ray Guy Camp punting competition. There, his 63-yard boot won camp MVP honors in 2009.
He then attended the University of Oregon summer camp - and was named special teams player of the week.
After that, Barnett got in contact with Chris Sailer, a nationally-known kicking specialist.
"He ended up being a really big help," Barnett said.
Barnett acquired a kicker "rating," then entered a national special teams competition last January in Las Vegas. He won the punting and field goal categories, and was the runner-up in kickoffs.
That is when the recruiting attention began. Finally, Barnett narrowed his decision to walking on at either Oregon or California. He chose the Bears because for academic reasons.
Right now, he works out as both a punter and placekicker.
"I'm a pretty big guy, but (the length strength) came from my soccer background," Barnett said. "After that, the accuracy kind of moved in."
** WEDNESDAY PRACTICE NOTES: Defensive tackle Alameda Ta'amu (right ankle) returned to full-time practice duty - a day after sitting out. He is expected to start Saturday. ... Offensive lineman Ryan Tolar (knee) spent his third consectutive day as a spectator, but UW coach Steve Sarkisian has not ruled the senior out for Saturday. If Tolar can't go, Erik Kohler - fully recovered from an earlier bout with mononucleosis - will start at left guard. ... Quarterback Jake Locker (rib) continues to get a lot of work with the first-string offense after missing two weeks. Sarkisian noted there was a "1 percent" chance Locker would not play (we think it is zero percent).