Taft High grad Dalton Botts is eager to start his senior season as the punter for the University of Miami Hurricanes.
Botts guided the Wildcats to a valley championship in 2007. He played a season at Bakersfield College and another at Moorpark College where his punting earned him a lot of attention from major Division I programs.
He was second team All-ACC last season, averaging 42.7 yards per punt with 11 over 50 yards and 19 of his 48 kicks producing fair catches.
He was featured in a recent article in the Palm Beach Post.
Writer Jorge Milian pointed to a number of question marks surrounding the Hurricanes as they head into Saturday's season opener against Boston College.
"But one position where there are few worries is punter, where Dalton Botts returns for his senior season."
The 6-3, 207-pounder is one of 25 players on the "watch list" for the Ray Guy Award, given to the nation's best punter.
"I think it's great," Botts said. "But again, it's a pre-season thing. Anybody can be on that list. It's cool, but I have to make it happen. When it comes to the end of the season and all the voting takes place, that's when you want your name mentioned."
The one area the former Wildcat star said he has improved on during the off-season is his directional punting.
"I just have to become more consistent," he said.
The article noted: "UM coaches are as confident in Botts as he is in himself. Botts and defensive end Shayon Green are believed to be the only Hurricanes who have worn black jerseys – defined by coach Al Golden as players who are starters and playing at a championship level – all of fall practice."
"When I got to camp and found it in my locker I was like, 'Oh, that's awesome,'" Botts said. "I was stoked. I've been doing good throughout camp. I've been hitting good punts. My directionals are getting better. There's no reason I should get out of that jersey."
Golden was quoted as saying: "If you want to have a good defense, have a great punter. Pin them down there deep and have a great net (average). That's a big part of it."