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FHS grad O'Neill named CU's starting punter

By Matt Sparkman and Alec Pronk in Sports

CU football coach Jon Embree released his first depth chart on Monday, featuring many surprises and notable stories, including former Fairview basketball and soccer star, Darragh O'Neill topping his position at punter.

O'Neill, who never played football at Fairview, took a roundabout path to claim the starting job.

"Walking on this spring I was helped by (Jon Embree's brother and Fairview assistant) Sean Embree and (Boulder based punting expert) Matt Thompson getting me in touch with the special teams coach J.D. Brookhart and eventually he let me try out and I did what I needed to do to earn a spot on the roster," said O'Neill.

O'Neill walked on to the football team in the spring, after enrolling in the fall 2010 semester and attempting to walk-on with the basketball team.  Embree and special teams coach J.D. Brookhart gave him the opportunity to remain on the squad, after he impressed them with his exponential growth over the summer.

"This summer I went to every optional lift, and after I'd go out and punt with the snappers almost everyday. I also went down to Dallas this summer to train with Glenn Pakulak of the Oakland Raiders for a few days which helped so much," stated O'Neill.

In the process of winning the starting job, O'Neill overtook incumbent Zach Grossnickle and beat out former Rice punter, Mark Brundage.

O'Neill will take the field in his first Division I college football game  Saturday, September 3, when the Buffs go on the road to face the University of Hawai'i.

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