Idaho Vandals

Idaho’s Rehkow ready for wait to be over as one of NFL Draft’s top specialists

Idaho punter Austin Rehkow kicks against Washington State on Sept. 17, 2016, in Pullman. The former Vandal is regarded as the top punting prospect in the NFL Draft.
Idaho punter Austin Rehkow kicks against Washington State on Sept. 17, 2016, in Pullman. The former Vandal is regarded as the top punting prospect in the NFL Draft. AP file

Kickers have to be calm, cool and collected. Austin Rehkow is typically just that, but he’s eager to see what comes next.

It started nearly two months ago at the NFL Scouting Combine. The former Idaho kicker/punter spent more than two hours his first afternoon in Indianapolis waiting his turn for blood work to be done. He had to get up at 3 a.m. the next day for the standard drug test.

“I’m ready to get this process behind me,” Rehkow said. “In hindsight, it’s something unique, there’s some things you enjoy, but after the combine, it’s just like, ‘let’s get this done with.’ 

“You just want to get going. It’s been a great experience, but I just want to know where I’ll get my chance.”

He knows he will have to wait quite a bit. Rehkow could hear his name in the late rounds Saturday, but he knows that specialists are not typically drafted by the handful. CBS Sports’ mock draft has him as the third-to-last pick of the draft, going to the Bengals with the 251st pick, while others place him as a priority free agent. He is regarded by many as the draft’s top punter.

An NFL.com analysis said the 6-foot-3, 214-pound Rehkow’s “hang time and accuracy numbers could be good enough to land (him) a spot in this year’s draft.” Last year, three punters and one kicker were selected, and in 2015, one punter and no kickers were taken.

“I’m trying to not think about it,” Rehkow said. “I’ve done my part, made myself presentable, now it’s up to them. I feel like I’m worthy to be drafted, you really just have to find that one team that loves you. I’ll have my phone on me, but I’m not gonna be watching.”

A multifaceted talent since he started playing football in Spokane, Rehkow is projected to be a punter in the NFL, and he said “my ceiling is higher as a punter.” But his ability to punt, kick field goals and kick off should give him an edge.

Rehkow finished his career as Idaho’s all-time leader in field goals made (70) and punting average (45.8 yards per punt). He made 49 of 56 field goals the past two seasons.

“It makes me more marketable. I enjoy all three aspects, so whatever they prefer,” Rehkow said. “I know teams like the idea of a punter that can kick off, not always have the field goal kicker do that, so I’d definitely like to do multiple things wherever I go.”

Rehkow could become the first Vandal drafted since linebacker Korey Toomer was taken by the Seahawks in the fifth round in 2012. Rehkow is finishing up his degree in exercise science, interning at Rockwood Sports Performance in Spokane.

Dave Southorn: 208-377-6420, @davesouthorn

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