The UCLA football team is getting some much-needed depth and experience in special teams as punter Wade Lees is transferring in from Maryland.
For the last two years, the UCLA football team has utilized the talents of former walk-on punter Stefan Flintoft. With the Bruins adjusting their style and philosophy in Chip Kelly’s first year, UCLA struggled early in the season. Luckily, Flintoft was there to open up the field when the offense could not get down it.
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Unfortunately, he is now gone, and it looked as if UCLA was going to break in a few newbies as Flintoft’s cousin, Collin Flintoff, and Carson Olivas joined the programs as walk-ons.
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Though they did well during spring practice, it seems Chip Kelly wanted to add some insurance and is bringing in Maryland graduate transfer Wade Lees, who is immediately eligible to play.
Last year, Flintoft punted for 2,565 yards and averaged 45.8 yards per punt. Though Lees will not have to punt that much in 2019 (as the Bruins’ offense will be much improved), the Australian kicker is used to putting in a lot of work.
Last season with the Terrapins, he kicked for 2,742 yards with an average punt of 40.9 yards. Before the season, he was named to the Ray Guy Award watch list, which is given to the best punter in the nation.
Lees also brings a different kind of experience. Not only was he a three-year starter at Maryland, but he also has experience playing Australian Rules Football. He will also be the oldest player on the team as he is currently 31. Now that is experience you can’t coach.
Welcome to Westwood, Wade!