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July 3, 2013
As the clock continues to countdown to not only the start of the Houston Cougars' pre-season camp but also the August 30 date set to kick-off the 2013 football season at Reliant Stadium against visiting Southern, we also continue our countdown of the 25 Key Coogs for the 2013 football season.
Our Key Coogs series which is sponsored by Chastang Ford is simply a look at 25 players on the team whose performance this season will be key in the success of the Cougars.
We continue today with our only special teams player on the countdown, but rightfully so, senior punter Richie Leone, who may just line-up and kick a few field goals this season, enters his final year on Cullen Blvd. with a chance to put a polishing touch on an impressive career with the Cougars.
The likely NFL bound punter started from day one when he arrived from Roswell, Georgia via the 2010 signing class and has shown a consistent improvement in his three years. Along with the increase in his craft he has also seen an increase in the recognition he has received. The two-time Ray Guy Award semifinalist was selected as the punter for the first team All Conference USA team following last season. He has been named to numerous pre-season All American teams by different publications and will of course be on his third Ray Guy preseason watch list released next week.
Leone carries a 43 yard average into his final season and has shown the ability to consistently flip the field, helping to take pressure off of the Cougars defense and will undoubtedly benefit some with the majority of their home games being played inside of Reliant Stadium.
It is unclear just how much he will play a part in kick-offs in 2013 but will likely see the field kicking field goals and extra points, at least early on while they bring along freshman kicker Ty Cummings.