There’s a certain group of people called to the football field when it comes to any kick or punt return during a game. These people are a part of the special teams, also known as the specialists. They consist of kickers, holders, returners, gunners, blockers and snappers.
Weber State University football has recruited from both Ogden locals and as far as Australia to put together their special teams line up.
The specialists are players you don’t often hear about. They are the players who are commonly looked over for their successes but often ridiculed for their mistakes.
Trey Tuttle, though, has made a name for himself in the spotlight of WSU football. Tuttle, a junior from Arlington, Texas, is a kicker among the 2019 Weber State football captains.
Since moving to Ogden in 2017, Tuttle has played a vital role in the ’Cats recent success. Before his junior year even started, he had been deemed an All-American and selected as a two-time All-Big Sky selection.
Originally starting his athletic career through soccer, Tuttle didn’t start football until his later teenage years.
“I’ve played soccer my whole life. I was going into my senior year when the starting kicker on our football team messed up his knee,” Tuttle said. “The football coach went to my soccer coach and asked who would be good at it; that’s when they asked me.”
Born in 1996 and entering Weber State in 2017 as a freshman, it took Tuttle some time to figure out what school would be the best fit for him.
“I got recruited a few years after high school,” Tuttle said. “I flew out to a few camps, recruiting coaches reached out to a few schools and that’s how I found myself here.”
Tuttle has racked up 52 points throughout seven games in the 2019 season, 30 of those points have come from field goals and 22 from extra kicks or PATs.
Alongside Tuttle for WSU kickers is sophomore Hayden Cowden from Twin Falls, Idaho.
The Wildcat football team has recruited 49 players from Utah alone, 19 from California, 13 from neighboring Idaho and 21 from surrounding states. However, one player came the furtherst from home to represent WSU football every weekend. His name is Doug Lloyd.
Lloyd is a senior punter from Mount Gambier, Australia. In his time at Weber State, he has collected second team All-Big Sky honors alongside Big Sky Academic All-Conference honors. Like Tuttle, Lloyd didn’t start his career in football.
“I grew up in Australia playing Australian football,” Lloyd said. “I joined an academy that sends people over to the states. Coach Hill has had players from before, and I found connections through that.”
Lloyd has appeared in all seven of WSUs games this season, his season best coming from the Wildcats’ victory against the University of Northern Iowa, where he had a 72-yard punt.
Junior Riley Erickson, who is also a punter for the ’Cats, hails from Chandler, Arizona. Erickson has made two appearances in the 2019 season, against Southern Utah and Northern Arizona.
The only Utah native to be a part of the specialists is freshman long snapper Josh Carter. Recently graduated from Weber High School in spring 2019, Carter was a standout defensive lineman for the Warriors.
Entering in to his collegiate career, Carter has appeared in all seven games for the Wildcats, with one tackle against the University of Nevada, Reno.
More times than not, these are often the people who take part in the game-changing plays, altering the momentum of the game. Dealing with an immense amount of pressure, staying composed can be difficult.
“There’s not much pressure in practice, but in games I let my muscle memory take over. If you think about it too much that’s when you’ll mess up,” Tuttle said. “It’s not as nerve racking as you’d think. It only gets that way when you’re sitting on the sideline waiting for it to happen.”
This composure has led Tuttle and his teammates to great success.
On the receiving end of the special teams, Wildcat fans have heard the name Rashid Shaheed. A sunny Southern California native has made his way up to Ogden and has since delivered great successes to the school’s program.
The junior wide receiver has made a statement about his abilities. Shaheed has been named an All-American kick returner and holds the school’s record for having two 100-yard kickoff returns.
As individuals, each player has found their talent, but together these young men represent a small but vital part of the Weber State University football team.
The next chance you will have to see them play will be on Nov. 9 as the Wildcats host the University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks at Stewart Stadium.