| About us | Privacy Policy | Contact us | Sitemap
Home News Forum Blog Standings Roster Players Schedule Depth Chart Stats Photos Videos

Jacksonville Jaguars News

News » Kevin Huber gets to play for another hometown team

Kevin Huber gets to play for another hometown team

Kevin Huber gets to play for another hometown team
CINCINNATI (AP) - Kevin Huber was steering his golf cart toward the 17th hole - a 369-yard, par-4 on a gently winding course along the Ohio River - when his cell phone buzzed.

Who was it this time?

Was his mother calling again to ask if the University of Cincinnati punter had finally been drafted? Was it another friend playing a joke, pretending to be an NFL head coach? He couldn't tell. Huber saw the local "513" area code displayed and hit the button to accept the call.

He heard the voice of Bengals coach Marvin Lewis.

"It was pretty surreal at first," Huber said.

The Bengals drafted a hometown kid in the fifth round on Sunday, looking to fix one of their many glaring problems after a 4-11-1 season. Huber will get a chance to win the job from Kyle Larson, who was inconsistent last season and had problems in the city's fickle weather.

Huber knows the local winds as well as anyone. He also knows firsthand how important a good punter can be to this always-challenged franchise - he's seen it struggle from the cheap seats. The 22-year-old grew up attending games and wearing a Bengals jacket.

"Those were sweet," he said.

Sweeter than the team, of course. The Bengals have had only four winning records in Huber's lifetime. Last year, their offense crashed to last in the league, and Larson wound up punting 100 times.

Huber always wanted to be that guy.

The left-footed kicker grew up in a family of them. It takes a while to run down the list of Huber kicking accomplishments: His father was a punter at Xavier, back when the college had a team; his brothers and sisters played soccer.

"I've got to keep my mom in there: She was the kickball champion in grade school," Huber said. "My grandma wanted me to say that. So I guess kicking just runs in the family."

So does the city's sports history. He went to a local high school and chose to stay home for college, developing into one of the nation's top punters for the Bearcats.

He led the nation in gross and net yards as a junior. Last season, he was one of the Bearcats' most valuable players after their top two quarterbacks got hurt. The coaches leaned on him to pin opponents and let their defense win a few games.

During a 13-10 win over Rutgers on Oct. 11, Huber pinned the Scarlet Knights at the 12-yard line or deeper on six of his nine kicks. Over the course of Cincinnati's first Big East championship season, he had 24 punts downed inside the 20, including 15 inside the 10-yard line. Seven of them came to a stop inside the 5.

That got the attention of the city's other football team.

"He had a couple of games where he held them in the game," Lewis said. "He's played in big games. He's reacted well. That's what impressed me most about Kevin."

Before the draft, the Bengals brought him in for a tryout at Paul Brown Stadium, where he'd watched a lot of games from the upper deck but had never been on the artificial turf. Imagine how that felt.

"That was pretty cool," Huber said. "I'm used to being up in the stands looking down, and now you're looking up."

He didn't want to get his hopes up. Only one punter was drafted last year and Huber was the first of only three taken this year.

On Sunday, he was two holes away from completing his round when he got the call. After a few screaming congratulations from the rest of his foursome, he skipped the last two holes and headed for Paul Brown Stadium to spend some time with his new coaches.

"I'd have never dreamed that I'd play for my hometown team," he said.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 28, 2009

Copyright © Jaguarsworld.com, Inc. All rights reserved 2018.