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September 11, 2012
As WKU's football program continues to progress under Coach Willie Taggart, a big question mark remains on special teams.
After finishing 5 for 20 from field goals as a team in 2011, WKU has started 0 for 3 in 2012.
While the Hilltoppers still have time to fix their kicking woes this season, they've already managed to lock up help for the future.
WKU landed its No. 12 commitment in the Class of 2013 on Sept. 10, from kicker/punter Joe Occhipinti.
"They offered me last Friday," Occhipinti said. "I needed the weekend to talk to my parents about it, and then I made the decision."
As a junior, Occhipinti longest field goal conversion was 49 yards, but said he's been hitting them from 50+ in practice as a senior.
"I went to WKU for a camp this summer and hit a 56 yarder in front of Coach Taggart," he said. "I looked over and he was just nodding his head.
"I can't wait to be a part of this program; I love what they're doing."
The Hillsboro athlete does more than field goals for his high school team, with a season long punt of 77 yards so far in 2012.
"I'm a combo player, so I do kickoffs too," Occhipinti said. "I've only had two kickoffs this year so far that didn't go for touchbacks."
Occhipinti said several reasons led him to choose WKU, one being his relationship with WKU assistant coach Walt Wells.
He also liked the distance from WKU to Nashville, just a short 45 minute drive on I-65.
"Family comes first for me, I love my family," Occhipinti said. "They've been such a help through this whole process."
Another connection Occhipinti found in WKU was punter Hendrix Brakefield, who attended the same high school as Occhipinti.
"It's going to be cool going to the same college," Occhipinti said.
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