Former Cardinal Sanborn getting his kicks as UNH’s punter
DURHAM – Drew Sanborn is alive and kickin’.
The Amherst native may have fallen out of view a for a few years after shining as Bishop Guertin’s punter during from 2012- 2014 as a three-time All Conference foot.
A redshirt season at the University of New Hampshire, followed by a couple of years as a backup, and presto! Here’s Sanborn as UNH’s top punter, finishing third team All Conference in 2018 while averaging 40.2 yards a kick.
And now he’s ready to finish up his final collegiate season in style.
“After four-and-a-half years, here I am now,” he said. “Senior and punter. It’s all worked out for me.”
The wait was worth it.
“You’ve just got to be patient, wait for your time, and take advantage when you get the opportunity,” he said. “It was nice to finally get on the field and help the team win.
“It’s tough waiting it out. It’s all for the best. You wait it out, try to get better and get better form.”
And UNH coach Sean McDonnell certainly noticed.
“He’s worked very hard at his trade,” McDonnell said. “It’s a kid we identified early in his high school process, talking his junior year, we got him here, and he has taken his steps.
“Last year he was third team All-Conference and I think he had 24, 25 punts inside the 20 yard-line. Remarkable accuracy.”
Sanborn certainly took advantage of his ability, honing his skills at Bishop Guertin and parlaying that into a spot at UNH.
“I’m very happy I’m here,” he said. “The last four-and-a-half years have been awesome. If I were to go back, I wouldn’t do it any other way.”
Sanborn didn’t start kicking at BG until his sophomore year, and said it wasn’t until the summer of his junior season he realized “I could probably do something with this.”
So he took advantage of it, and reached out to some coaches for help in the kicking game to further his skills and get some leads for college. It certainly paid off.
What did Sanborn do while waiting for the opportunity at UNH?
“Just mentally preparing myself,” he said. “This is different when you’re not playing, you’re on the sidelines kind of waiting out there, maybe for an opportunity to get at least one or two kicks a game.
“So now you’ve got to prepare yourself to get three, four, five, seven, eight kicks a game. It’s total different mental preparation.”
He did get a few opportunities early on in his UNH career. He played in six out of 14 games in 2017, punting eight times for a 34.6 yard average. In 2016, he kicked in four games, including two NCAA playoff games for a total of nine punts, averaging 38.7 yards.
Sanborn is hooked on the experience.
“It’s so much fun being out there, being on the field with the crowd and everything, I love it,” he said.
But, in returning to regular game action after three years of sporadic activity, Sanborn also had to handle something else as a regular last season – adrenalin.
“It definitely brings out the nerves, which is something I hadn’t experienced in a while,” Sanborn said. “Last year it was awesome. It was really cool.”
His first punt as a regular last season? It was at the Univesity of Maine, his legs were shaky.
“You probably couldn’t see it on TV or at the game,” Sanborn said. “Inside you didn’t know where it was going to go, but it went pretty well.”
He’d like to eventually get involved in high school sports as perhaps an athletic director some day. He interned at Souhegan last year with Saber AD Dan Wyborney and he’s planning on another intership possibly at St. Thomas in Dover.
“It was a cool experience,” he said of his time at Souhegan.
But before he dives into the real world, Sanborn’s continued success is telling him one thing: He can possibly punt at an even higher level as a professional, such as the NFL or otherwise. Or, at least attempt to.
“I’m definitely going to give it a shot,” he said. “We’ll see. I’m going to try, reach out to some people once the season’s over. Hopefully get a tryout, a one-day camp, whatever I can get. Just to say I tried it.”
He’s tried it at UNH, and it’s working great.
“The kid’s got an opportunity to be a huge weapon for us,” McDonnell said. “He’s worked extremely hard at what he’s doing. Really proud of the way Drew’s developed in the program the last couple of years.”