Taft High grad Dalton Botts has wrapped up his collegiate football career at the University of Miami and is looking forward to spending time with family and friends when he begins Christmas break next week.
Although his numbers as the starting punter for the Golden Hurricanes did not quite match his junior year, Botts had a strong season that attracted the attention of a number of NFL teams.
He punted 54 times during the just-completed season and averaged 40.5 yards per kick, a little below his 42.7 in 2011. His career numbers are 104 punts for a 41-yard average.
One reason for the lower average this season is that he was called upon to do more "pooch" punts inside opponents' territory.
"He did a lot of pooch punts this year," said his father, Travis. "In fact, one of them was from the opponent's 37 yard line."
Miami had a stronger offense this season, moving the ball better than a year ago. The 'Canes finished 7-5.
His longest punt was 56 yards and his shortest 28 in the season finale when a gust of wind caught the ball just as he kicked it. He had four kicks over 50 yards.
Of his 54 punts, 23 were inside the 20-yard line. Few of his punts were returned.
Dalton's biggest disappointment was not going to a bowl game again even though the team qualified.
For the second year in a row university officials told the players after their sixth victory they would decline bowl invitations in an attempt to soften pending NCAA sanctions from a scandal that broke just after he committed to play in Miami.
A wealthy booster is accused of currying favors with many football and basketball players – entertaining them at posh nigh clubs and on his yacht.
The problem was his wealth came from a $900 million Ponzi scheme. He's now in a federal prison.
"It was hard last year when the team was told they wouldn't be playing in a bowl game, but even tougher this year because Dalton's a senior," his dad said.
Dalton is on track to graduate in May.