The 90 Illini #32: Justin DuVernois July 31, 2012
6′-1″, 190 lbs.
Sophomore (on scholarship, 4 years to play 3)
St. Thomas Aquinas HS / Plantation, Florida
ALE Ranking last year: #28
What I Know About Him:
I dropped him a few spots from last year for one reason: Ryan Lankford’s surprising skill kicking a football. DuVernois averaged 38.3 yards per punt – Lankford 39.4. I’m fairly certain that DuVernois will win the job (I see a Santella trajectory, where he gets better each season), but Lankford did have a few solid kicks in the spring game.
What I Expect From Him:
The best case scenario for this team is for DuVernois to win the job and average around 41 yards per punt. Anthony Santella’s averages for his four seasons as our starting punter were 37.7, 39.4, 41.3, and 44.8 yards per punt. I’d like to see DuVernois stay ahead of Santella all four seasons. 38 last year, 41 this year, 43 as a junior, and then maybe the rarified air of 46 or 47 as a senior.
And I’m guessing he’s been working on not only his kicking but his catching as well – he doesn’t want a repeat of the drops like the Wisconsin game. It’s hard to fault him for that – true freshman, immediately made the starting punter, kicking for a head coach who, well, didn’t necessarily put together the strongest special teams (is it just me or were we even bad at the “new” punt formation?) That’s behind DuVernois now, and I’m expecting a solid sophomore campaign where he sends Ryan Lankford back to the receiver film room full time.