Friday, June 8, 2007

Placekicker Rutkowski looks to join Huskies

Gets invite from Washington?s Willingham

Cory Rutkowski Photo by David N. Seelig

Recent Wood River High School graduate Cory Rutkowski, a talented place-kicker, has been invited by third-year Huskies head coach Tyrone Willingham to join the University of Washington football team as an invited walk-on.

On Tuesday, Willingham asked Rutkowski to join the Huskies as a walk-on, Cory's father Rick Rutkowski wrote in an email Wednesday.

"Cory will have a chance to compete for a scholarship and time on the field. He will report to practice at the end of the summer," Rick Rutkowski wrote to friends of the family. "Needless to say Cory is very excited to have an opportunity to compete at this level."

Last Saturday Rutkowski booted a personal-record 51-yard field goal during an All-Star football game held in Twin Falls. His father said the kick landed 12 to 15 yards beyond the Bruin Stadium goalposts.

He'll be trying out for a team that is shooting to regain prominence in the Pac-10.

A football coach for 30 years, Willingham, 53, is entering his third season as Huskies head coach. The North Carolina native was a walk-on himself in football and baseball at Michigan State University, where he was voted the Spartans Most Inspirational Player in 1976 as a quarterback and flanker.

Head coach at Stanford University for seven years from 1995-2001, Willingham was voted National Coach of the Year for guiding Notre Dame to a 10-3 record in his first season coaching the Irish, 2002. He spent three years in South Bend before moving to the University of Washington in Seattle, where he was 2-9 (1-7 Pac-10) and 5-7 (3-6) in 2005 and 2006.

"We are very proud of Cory for his accomplishments and the effort he puts into his training," said Rick Rutkowski.

His son recently won a State 4A mixed doubles tennis championship with partner Whitney DeBree, and Cory was the leading scorer for the Wolverine basketball team last winter.

Rutkowski will be in southern California this weekend attending the Chris Sailer Ultimate College Overnight Kicking Camp June 8-10 at Thousand Oaks High School. Some of the country's top kickers, punters and punt snappers attending four-year colleges will participate in the camp.

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