- Sam Khan Jr., ESPN Staff Writer
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Under Armour All-American punter Shane Tripucka had several schools to choose from. But something about Texas A&M just felt right.
So on Thursday, he committed to the Aggies.
Tripucka, a 6-foot-3, 210-pound punter from Allen (Texas) High School, will join the Aggies as a preferred walk-on next season after informing head coach Kevin Sumlin and special teams coach Jeff Banks that he's A&M-bound.
"A&M, I talked to the coaches, I know they want me," Tripucka said. "They come down and see me, they call me all the time. It really felt like a good place to be....It feels like a great place to play football and a great choice for me."
Tripucka had a scholarship offer to Sam Houston State and had preferred walk-on opportunities to Texas, Texas Tech and Boston College.
Tripucka attended an A&M kicking camp over the summer and was originally recruited by former Aggies' special teams coach Brian Polian. Banks picked up where Polian left off when Polian left to become Nevada's head coach, making Tripucka one of his first calls.
"Both special teams coaches knew what they were doing," Tripucka said. "They knew about the position and cared about having good special teams and good kickers because it was important to them.
"When coach Polian left to Nevada, coach Banks called me right away. He just went from there and he was great and I really like him because he's a coach who has been in my situation before, being a punter. He knows what he's talking about and the technical parts of punting and kicking and I just really liked him."
At Allen, Tripucka was part of a team that won the Texas Class 5A Division I state championship this year. He averaged 42 yards per punt for the Eagles and his father Chris, who played for Boston College, said opponents have no punt return yardage against Shane in two seasons because of his consistent hangtime.
"It takes a huge weight off my chest," Tripucka said. "For the last two years, I've been working my butt off to get noticed by these schools. To finally have a decision, it makes you feel a lot better."
Tripucka is the second specialist in the 2013 class to receive a preferred walk-on opportunity at Texas A&M. Dallas/Jesuit kicker Cody Wicker, teammate of Texas A&M linebacker signee Jordan Mastrogiovanni, accepted an opportunity to be a preferred walk-on at Texas A&M as a placekicker according to his coach, Brandon Hickman.