PITTSBURGH — Pitt football head coach Pat Narduzzi made it official Thursday prior to practice at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex that redshirt sophomore Caleb Junko is the starting punter for the season opener.
“Right now, and again, there’s always competition, but right now [Junko]’ll line up and be our starting punter against Wofford,” Narduzzi said. “He had a great camp.”
The Pitt football Twitter account also announced that Junko earned a scholarship on Wednesday, after spending his first two seasons as a walk-on. He is the second Pitt player to earn a scholarship this training camp, as redshirt sophomore linebacker Nick Lapi received one on Tuesday.
He competed with former scholarship punter, Sam Vander Haar, who is no longer with the team, and redshirt junior Cam Guess last season and was easily the best out of the three.
Junko, in just 12 attempts in 2022, 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. Caleb Junko is also the brother of redshirt senior wide receiver Josh Junko, who is a walk-on.
Junko won the competition this spring against Elon transfer Jeff Yurk. Narduzzi had great things to say about Yurk and that it was a tough decision.
“And so did Jeff [Yurk], Jeff had a great camp as well and it’s not easy but that’s kinda the direction we went, Narduzzi said.”
Junko will start at punter against FCS opponent Wofford on Saturday, Sept. 2 at Acrisure Stadium. If he performs well enough, Pitt will be in good shape throughout 2023.