VINCENT - Pinned against your own goalline having to punt is never a spot that high school football coaches want to see their team in.
After all, that situation usually leads to the opponent getting the ball inside the 50-yard line and in great shape to put a few plays together and get into the end zone.
That's usually the case, but for the past few years the Warren Warriors haven't had to worry when they've been in that situation. That's because they've had a kid with a golden leg back to punt.
Ranked by ESPN recruiting as the No. 10 punter in the country, Warren High School senior Grant Venham was a weapon all football coaches wish they had.
"He changes the game with every aspect of his punting," said Warren football coach Andy Schob.
Now, Venham is a weapon the Ohio University Bobcats plan to make the most of.
Venham signed an institutional letter to punt for the NCAA Division I school, located in Athens, at Warren High School Wednesday afternoon.
With the signing, Venham becomes just the second player in the history of Warren High School to be an NCAA Division I player, according to records available from the school Wednesday. Former standout lineman Brett Riffey, who played for Marshall University, was the first.
"It hasn't really hit me yet that I'm playing Division I football, but I'm definitely excited about it," Venham said.
Venham averaged 40 yards a punt during his senior year, with just nine of his 29 punts being returned as his hang-time, which was listed by ESPN as averaging 4.6 seconds and as long as 5.15 seconds, has become a valuable asset.
That tremendous hang-time on punts even while playing wide receiver on offense and safety on defense appealed to college coaches, with Venham getting offers for scholarships from places including Texas A&M.
"He's had a lot of options and as a coach, it's so rewarding to see good kids get rewarded," Schob said.
In the end, however, it was clear that Ohio University was the right choice.
"I just think I've made the right choice and I'm grateful to have the friends and family that have helped me," Venham said.
Though he had plenty of options on where to go to school, Venham knew after making his official college visit to the OU campus in Athens that it was the school for him.
"I just loved everything. I loved the coaches and I got to meet a bunch of the players," Venham explained.
Add in the fact that the 6-foot-3 senior has been a Bobcat fan for most of his life, and green and white becomes a pretty good color scheme for him.
Athens close proximity to home is another plus, as it gives Venham's family and friends, to whom he is very close, the opportunity to see him play without having to drive several hours.
While a bigger school like Texas A&M may have more national recognition, Ohio University still has a reputation for developing punters and Venham never really considered going to a big school just to be at a big school.
"Division I football is Division I football, especially for a punter," Venham explained. "I'm just proud I can represent Warren High School."
Venham, who also excelled as a receiver for the Warriors this past fall with 44 catches for 821 yards, was introduced to the idea of punting by his older brother, Ryan, who was also a punter for the Warriors.
Led by his brother's confidence and guidance, Venham found he has a passion for punting that has helped him become the area's best.
"I just love punting for some reason. I'm really good at it, and it's fun," Venham said.
And the Warriors were quick to make use of his passion for one of the least popular aspects of football.
During a game against Jackson this past season Venham recorded his career long punt of 68 yards, and unlike most long punts that high school punters get it wasn't of the bounce and roll variety.
"It was like an NFL punt. It seemed like it was in the air forever," Schob said.
That is the kind of potential that had college scouts clamoring over Venham, as he earned a five star recruiting mark from Kohl's Kicking where he was ranked as the sixth best punter in his class.
"He's an all around athlete that happens to be really gifted at punting," Schob said.
As a member of the Bobcats, Venham's role for the upcoming season isn't entire set in stone.
The Bobcats' current punter, Paul Hershey, will be a senior next fall but Venham will be given the opportunity to beat Hershey out and become the Bobcats everyday punter. If that doesn't happen, the plan is to red shirt Venham for his freshman year before letting him take over the punting duties the following year.
"I just want to be the best I can be and represent Warren and just have a good time. I'm just excited for everything that's going to happen," Venham said.
As a student at Ohio University, Venham plans to pursue a degree in criminology, which, like punting, also runs in the family. Venham's older brother, Brad, is a police officer for the city of Cambridge.
After four years of football and being touted as one of southeastern Ohio's best punters, Venham finally has the answer for where he'll be kicking in the future.
"I finally get to say I know where I'm going to college," Venham said with a smile.