WVU adds Aussie punter

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On Friday, reports surfaced that WVU football had made a roster addition, LSU graduate transfer Josh Growden. Coach Brown confirmed at his press conference on Saturday the Australian punter is officially a Mountaineer.

Growden arrived in Morgantown on Friday and joined the team for practice on Saturday. He has one season of eligibility at West Virginia beginning immediately.

“He has to be in helmets for the first two days due to the acclimatization, but he was out there today. He punted,” Coach Brown said on Saturday.

“We welcome him to the team, he is a good addition. He’s got talent and fits a need, something we have been working on. Excited about having him.”

As a redshirt freshman in 2016, Growden was LSU’s full-time punter and earned a spot on the SEC’s all-freshman team. He lost the starting position the next season, becoming the short-field specialist. He averaged 39 yards on 96 career punts with the Tigers. He was the holder for LSU in 2018.

In 2011, Growden was drafted in the Australian Football League. He played for the Greater Western Sydney Giants for the first half of the season before suffering an injury that would also keep him out through 2012. He was cut the following year.

Punting has been a question mark for the Mountaineers. After the graduation of Billy Kinney, it was uncertain who would fill the void. Currently, West Virginia has a trio of punters on its roster. They are all freshman.

Kolton McGhee is the front-runner at the position and has been with the Mountaineers since the summer session.

Earlier in the week, in an interview for our Mountaineer GameDay preseason special, Coach Brown was asked about importance of a successful special team unit this season.

“I’m hoping we don’t have to punt much,” joked Coach Brown, adding it will be McGhee they rely on.

“More of his background is in kicking, but because of our need, he has been forced to be more of a punter. He’s had some ups and downs, has a really strong leg. The thing I like most about him is his demeanor. He is really calm and the moment isn’t going to be too big for him.”

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