With a chip on his shoulder, senior kicker Andrew Furney will continue to provide stability and enthusiasm as a member of Washington State’s special teams. Last season, Furney made 14 field goals including 7 for 7 within 30 yards. His 14 makes were fourth best in the Pac-12, warranting a selection to Phil Steele's Midseason All-America first team.
As a defensive end and tight end at Burlington-Edison High School in Burlington, Wash., Furney suffered an injury his freshman year that sidelined him.
Considering his experience as a soccer player, his mother suggested he take up kicking.
"I remember kicking was like the last thing I wanted to do," Furney said.
But after his team's kicker missed a practice, he volunteered to try.
Furney said he quickly impressed his coaches making several field goals without any technical training. "My first field goal attempt ever I hit a 42-yarder," Furney said. "In high school, it was like 'oh my gosh.'"
Furney's success helped his team to contend for the state title his senior year. But that wasn't enough. He wanted more.
"I wanted to go to the Pac-12 and play against the big teams and in the huge stadiums," Furney said. "In my eyes, that's college football."
The Chris Sailer Kicking ranking, which is one tool used to evaluate the ability of high school kickers around the country, Furney said cast doubt that he could compete at the Division I level.
Underrated, Furney used his frustration as motivation.
"I had so many people tell me that I wasn't good enough," he said. "It made me want to go to the biggest stage I could and prove everyone wrong."
And he has been doing just that since he first stepped foot in Martin Stadium. Furney got his chance during a lunch break at a WSU football camp.
"I remember it was really cool because we were out there and at first there was just one of the graduate assistants," Furney said. "And then I started kicking. It was funny because he would get on his phone and call someone else down to watch and by halfway through the workout, the whole staff was down there."
After impressing the coaching staff, Furney was told he would be able to compete for a scholarship his freshman year if he joined the team.
Furney had found his stage, which he proceeded to make the most of.
His first collegiate kick, which was against UCLA, in the Rose Bowl, as a freshman he called an out-of-body experience.
"In the Rose Bowl, that thing literally looked like it was 10 miles away," Furney said. "Its crazy how when you get the big guys out there in that humungous stadium how small the uprights can be."
Since missing that first kick, Furney has learned to stay relaxed and relish the moments in which he gets the opportunity to be a game-changer."I have always wanted big kicks because for me, that's really all we do is kick," Furney said. "So when you have the opportunity where you can go out there and do your job when it matters even more than usual, it's a great opportunity to make a memory. And that's what I intend to do...a good one of course."
October 24, 2013
Courtesy: Washington State Athletics
By Camryn Irwin