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Insider

Kicker Matt Wogan is versatile weapon

10/23/2012
Matt Wogan's versatility as a kicker and punter could pay huge dividends for the Ducks. Miller Safrit/ESPN.com

One of the most important recruits for the Oregon Ducks in the Class of 2013 is one who is the most likely to be overlooked by those who follow recruiting. Time and time again, college football proves how valuable the kicking game truly is. After the loss to USC in 2011, no one knows that better than Oregon fans.

With the nation's No. 4 kicker committed to the Ducks, the future of the Oregon kicking game looks extremely bright. Matt Wogan of Indian Trail (N.C.) Porter Ridge is thought to have the strongest leg in the country. While he hasn't kicked a 67-yard field goal like Spokane (Wash.) Central Valley's Austin Rehkow, he has made one from 56 yards out this year.

The thing that makes Wogan so valuable is the fact that he is solid -- if not spectacular -- in all three facets of the kicking game. LSU has benefited from having Brad Wing demoralize opponents over the past couple of years with game-changing punts. Wogan has the potential to be that kind of weapon.

It's the kind of weapon the Ducks have been missing since Jared Siegel was hitting 59-yard field goals in close games in the early 2000s. Jackson Rice has been an All-American punter for the Ducks, and Wogan's improvement in the punting game will ease the pain of losing the four-year starter.

"No matter what, I just try to go out there and do my job every time they call on me," Wogan said. "I have confidence in myself and my team has confidence in me. If we have to punt, I have gotten so much better at that. If it's a field-goal attempt, I feel like they can rely on me."

That is one of the many things that Wogan's 8-1 Porter Ridge team has in common with his future team. During his official visit to Eugene, the 6-foot-2, 195-pound Wogan learned all about how the program basically runs itself.

"They just play their game, and it shows each week. They each have a job, and they get it done. They love playing the game for each other, and that's what makes it such a tight family," Wogan said "Their motto is 'Fast-Hard-Finish' and they are dang good at it. They have a goal in mind and won't stop until they get there."

Wogan took "the Oregon way" with him back to North Carolina and said that his Porter Ridge team has adopted many of the same principles.

"We are 8-1 and are playing for the conference championship against our biggest, all-time rival, Sun Valley (N.C.), this week," Wogan said. "We have used the same motto as Oregon -- Fast-Hard-Finish and Win the Day. We play for each other and just like to have fun."

Despite the fact Porter Ridge saw its 25-game regular-season winning streak snapped earlier this season, there has been plenty of fun in 2012. Unless of course, you are a member of the Pirates' kickoff coverage team.

Wogan has turned 59 kickoffs into 56 touchbacks through nine games as a senior. As a placekicker, Wogan has hit 5-of-8 field goals, with two of the misses being blocked. In one game, he hit 2 of 2 with a 43-yarder and his career-high 56-yarer. According to renowned kicking coach Chris Sailer, the most improved part of Wogan's game is his punting.

Wogan has improved so much in the punting game that he could potentially step in and take over any of the Ducks' kicking positions. When they offered him a scholarship, the Ducks weren't necessarily planning on having him available as a punter. In 24 attempts this season, Wogan is averaging 44.1 yards per punt.