- Jc Shurburtt
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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Many of the nation's top placekickers, punters and long-snappers competed at the ESPN Underclassman Challenge on Wednesday at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at the Walt Disney World Resort.
More than 30 athletes were at the event, which featured many of the top special teams recruits in the country for the Classes of 2011 and 2012.
"This was a true national combine," event director Jamie Kohl said. "All of these guys are going to be highly-recruited. I would estimate that 80 percent of these guys will get free rides right out of high school."
Kristopher Albarado (Lake Charles, La./Saint Louis Catholic) won top honors in the punting competition.
"It was pretty exciting," he said. "It was a nice opportunity to come out here and compete with these other guys. There was really good competition here. We are all pretty equal, so I am very excited about that. I learned that competition is good. It was a good experience."
Last season, Albarado averaged 41.4 yards per punt, he put 20 inside the 20-yard line, 10 inside the 10-yard line and five inside the 5-yard line. Only six of his punts netted positive yards for the opposing team.
Class of 2011 prospect Alex Howell (Florence, S.C./West Florence) won the field goal competition, nailing a 55-yarder. The 6-foot-4, 175-pound Howell is the younger brother of Virginia punter Jimmy Howell and is getting attention from the Cavaliers and several other programs.
Roberto Aguayo (Groveland, Fla./Southlake) is a Class of 2012 prospect with a bright future. He won the kickoff competition with a 74-yard kick that had a 4.04 second hangtime. In addition to being a high-level performer at events like this, Aguayo will benefit from being a part of a high school program that features a steady stream of Division I talent. Class of 2011 ESPNU 150 Watch List cornerback Nick Waisome and junior safety/linebacker Jordan Montgomery are two high-level prospects for the forthcoming recruiting cycle from that high school, so college coaches should be swarming.
Zach Ewan (Phoenix, Ariz./North Canyon) won the long-snapping competition. Ewan is a player that will definitely have a place on a college roster in certain systems.
Placekicker Connor Loftus (Anaheim, Calif./Servite), punter William Monday (Flowery Branch, Ga./Flowery Branch) and long snapper Boomer Mays (Eudora, Kan./Eudora) also stood out at the event.