New ASU punter Matt Haack returning home to fulfill dreamPosted: Updated:
TEMPE, Ariz. -- “Not very often do kids have dreams come true like this.”
For Matt Haack, Arizona has served as the bookends for his young life. Born in the Grand Canyon State, he moved with his family to Iowa shortly thereafter. It was there in Iowa where he grew to became a standout prep star at Dowling Catholic High School in West Des Moines.
But for Haack (pronounced “hawk”), his native state and its marquee university were never far from his mind. Even as a child, attending Arizona State was one of his goals.
“It’s always been a dream school of mine,” said Haack. “When I was in middle school, I played on a travel baseball team called the Sun Devils, and we were all gunning to get here. I have family down here too, so I knew that was always an option.”
That possibility began to garner momentum later in his prep career thanks to an idea from his coach.
With a 6-foot-1, 185-pound frame to complement 4.6, 40-yard dash speed, Haack first rose to prominence as a big play wide receiver. His skills allowed him to become one of the most dangerous downfield threats in the state, but while his hands put points on the scoreboard, it was his left foot that put him on scouting rankings.
“My freshman year, I was a running back, but then my coach moved me to wide receiver because he thought it would be better for my future and for the team,” Haack said. “My junior year, my high school did the rugby-style roll punt. My coach wanted me to do that, so I could take off and run whenever I wanted. It was kind of a read thing. Ever since then, I just picked up punting. I came to camps because I wanted to learn regular punting and diversify my game.”
It was at one of those kicking camps, one held in Arizona last summer, that Haack met ASU special teams coach Joe Lorig.
“I came to a special teams camp here, and I punted in front of Coach Lorig,” said Haack. “That day, I kicked some balls and then took a tour. We then kept in touch, and a few days later, they offered me.”
When the offer from ASU officially came in, it took a while to sink in.
“I was speechless. My dad and I were on a plane going to another football camp, and then it hit me,” said Haack. “I was just ecstatic. I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know what to do.”