Update: Collins formally announced his intention to transfer in a tweet Thursday afternoon. This article has been updated to include his tweet.
Western Kentucky punter Jake Collins will transfer to Northwestern for his final season of eligibility.
“I look forward to the opportunity that lies ahead to be a part of Chicago’s Big Ten Team and helping this team win a Big Ten Championship,” Collins wrote on Twitter. “Go Wildcats!”
The redshirt senior was a three-year starter at Western Kentucky, averaging 41.3 yards per punt and downing 43 of 133 punts inside the 20-yard-line. He booted 21 punts over 50 yards during his time as a Hilltopper. In 2017, Collins was named an All-Conference USA honorable mention punter.
The Louisville native will be immediately eligible as a graduate transfer, which is welcome news for a Northwestern team without a clear option at punter for 2018. Three-year starter Hunter Niswander has used all four years of eligibility and participated in the Steelers mini camp this month. The depth remaining on the roster is thin. Senior Daniel Kubiuk is a converted quarterback who punted the ball twice last year, but missed most of spring ball with an injury. The other punter on the roster is redshirt freshman Cody Gronewold, who was highly regarded out of high school but hasn’t seen game action during his time in Evanston.
With Clayton Thorson’s status still up in the air, this isn’t necessarily the most exciting spot on the depth chart to solidify, but it’s an important one, and Pat Fitzgerald and his staff did well to find an experienced, productive punter who can contribute right away.