As Pitt ran through its pre-practice meeting this morning, there was trouble with the projector. Pat Narduzzi was trying to run through the schedule, but it kept flickering on and off.
But when the screen finally popped back on, there was a picture of Caleb Junko on the screen.
“Congrats Caleb Junko. You’re on scholarship!”
And much like it was for Nick Lapi, as the players in Pitt’s meeting room at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex realized what happened, shouts rang out around the room as Junko — a third-year walk-on punter from Hudson High in Akron, Ohio — was officially placed on scholarship.
“Yeah, I don’t know what to say, I was actually talking to my mom last night just how I feel like I’ve been doing pretty well this camp and I’m just kinda waiting for my opportunity to be up here and thank you guys for sticking behind me and stuff like that, so thank you guys a lot,” Junko said afterward.
Another scholarship EARNED!!! 👏
— Pat Narduzzi (@CoachDuzzPittFB) August 23, 2023
I suppose being placed on scholarship as good an indication as any that Junko has won the punting competition between himself and Elon transfer Jeff Yurk. The two battled throughout the spring and well into the summer, but Junko’s rocket leg allowed him to take that next step.
Pitt’s punting situation was atrocious last season, with Sam Vander Haar, Cam Guess and Junko all seeing time in games last season, but even then, Junko was the most consistent in the least amount of reps.
Junko, in just 12 attempts last season, averaged a very strong 48.7 yards per attempt. He also pinned the opponent inside the 20 four times and booted the ball 50 yards or more three times. It carried over in the spring, booting 70-yard punts across the field.
It’s fitting for the legendary Bob Junko‘s grandson to be placed on scholarship at perhaps, after watching last season’s punting situation, the biggest position of need on the roster.
Junko will now move forward as Pitt’s scholarship starting punter and attempt to make last season’s punting issues a far-distant memory.