Sports

For Stanford punter Bailey, the sky is the limit

 

Stanford junior punter Jake Bailey was a standout for Stanford last season and hasn't missed a beat during fall camp. That was apparent Sunday during the second and final open scrimmage of the preseason, when he displayed power, hang time and accuracy.

"I think he has a chance to be one of the best pro-style punters in college football this year," said special teams coordinator Pete Alamar.

Last season, the 6-foot-2 Bailey recorded the fourth-best average in school history at 43.52 yards and was All-Pac-12 honorable mention. Of his 50 attempts, 13 carried 50 yards or further and 22 were downed inside the 20.

Bailey is on the Ray Guy Award watch list for the second straight year, and may also handle kickoff duties. In 2016, he posted 44 touchbacks on 71 boots.

Leg fatigue in games is not a concern.

"Usually what happens is if you're kicking off a lot that day, you're not punting a lot," Alamar said. "If you're punting a lot, you're not kicking off a lot.

"There's a chance he might have to swing at it 10 or 12 times in a game. You hope he has nine kickoffs, a couple punts and call it day. He trains to be able to handle it."

Alamar has also been pleased with the performance of sophomore placekicker Jet Toner, who is in the running to take over for Conrad Ukropina.

"He's had a really solid camp," said Alamar. "The last three or four days, he's really hit the ball well."

Alamar is firming up his kick returners after losing Christian McCaffrey and has many qualified candidates.

"I think we've got a handful of guys that can do either," he said. "We've been working out five or six and will drop it down to two or three this week. We'll see who comes out and shines."

Frontrunners to return punts include junior wide receiver Trenton Irwin and junior wide receiver Jay Tyler. Junior running back Bryce Love and Irwin will be given long looks returning kickoffs.

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