Valley punters putting their best foot forward at NFL Combine

Arizona Sports News online

Reunited and it feels so good.

It’s only natural former Phoenix prep stars and Pac-12 rival punters Josh Hubner and Jeff Locke find themselves together here in Indianapolis both looking to impress potential future employers at the NFL Combine.

Hubner, who grew up in Scottsdale and attended ASU, and Locke, who was raised in Gilbert and went off to UCLA, got to know each other while Hubner was kicking at Desert Mountain High School and Locke at Mountain Ridge.

“I got a chance to meet him at a Ray Guy Camp in high school,” Hubner told Thursday at Lucas Oil Stadium. “We’ve talked on and off since then.”

They’ve also let their legs do the talking as each excelled in college and positioned themselves for a shot to punt in the NFL. Hubner finished second in the nation and first in conference with a 47.1 yards per punt average in 2012, while Locke averaged 43.4.

“I just want to show them consistency and hang time,” Locke explained to “They know all of us can hit huge punts, but the one that’s going to separate themselves is the one that can consistently hit a good hang time ball so that’s what they want to see.”

The two frequently spoke after games this season and each have their unique kicking quirks. At ASU Hubner would go sit on the five-yard line and envision his punts landing their hours later during the game. Locke said he would take pictures of the field to help him focus on his punting.

Each said they have come both physically and mentally prepared to Indy and are looking forward to showing off their skills this weekend.

According to mock drafts Locke appears to have a slightly better chance of being drafted (most say somewhere between the fifth and sixth-round), but Hubner will likely get a shot to make a roster as a free-agent if not selected in April’s draft.

“It’s exciting,” Locke said. “Growing up there my whole life. It will be great to get a couple more guys from Arizona in the league.”