Radigan enjoys getting Rutgers off on right foot

10 11 2006

Here is an news article about Joe. I’ll let it talk for itself.

“Wear RED to the game”. RED as in Joe REDigan!!

Joe Radigan

Tuesday, November 07, 2006
BY BRENT JOHNSON
Star-Ledger Staff

Joe Radigan comes off as articulate but quiet during interviews, politely answering questions and never seeming too keen on making himself the center of conversation.

But if you ask the even quieter Jeremy Ito, he’d tell you that Radigan is actually a talker.

“Still talking?” Rutgers’ junior place-kicker joked during practice recently, playfully interrupting Radigan in mid-interview.

Radigan smiled, politely offering an explanation.

“Talking to people really doesn’t bother me,” said Radigan, Ito’s punting counterpart on the Scarlet Knights’ kicking unit. “Some people get nervous with it. But I don’t mind giving speeches at all.”

Does he ever rouse the Scarlet troops with his penchant for public speaking?

“I don’t think the punter’s position on the team is to speak them up,” Radigan said with a laugh. “That’s what the captains are for.”

And there shows the other key facet of Radigan’s personality: his humbleness. Even during a season he should be proud to speak of.

Radigan has become one of the best punters in the Big East this year, leading the league with a 45.5-yard average. He recently earned his second conference special teams player of the week award after Rutgers’ win over Connecticut — a game in which he placed two punts inside the 20-yard line.

It’s the kind of season coach Greg Schiano has been expecting from Radigan since he took over the starter’s role four years ago.

Radigan had the unfortunate job of replacing Mike Barr, the Knights’ career and single-season leader in punting yards and average. Matching that kind of prominence has been a challenge.

In his first three seasons, Radigan put up admirable numbers, averaging about 39 yards per punt each year (Barr’s best single-season average was 42). Still, Schiano tried Ito as a punter during summer camp the past two seasons, leaving Radigan to fight to retain his starting job.

Radigan has always had the skill, Schiano says. What he was missing was consistency. One week, he’d average 45 yards a punt. The next, it’d be 35.

But that seems to have changed this year. Radigan started the season with a subpar 31.7 yards per punt average at North Carolina, but since then, he has averaged more than 42 yards a punt in the Knights’ past seven games. In two of the games, he averaged more than 50. He also set a school record with a 78-yard punt against Illinois.

Radigan actually didn’t start playing football until his junior year at Hoboken High School, where he originally played three sports: soccer, baseball and basketball.

“I always knew I had the ability. It was just whether or not I’d be able to do it consistently,” said the 6-5, 220-pounder, who averaged 43 yards per punt his senior season at Hoboken.

“I think having a couple years under my belt here, I think it’s all clicking. I feel like I’m finally getting it.”

Another thing that seems to click fine is Radigan’s relationship with Ito, who is one field goal away from becoming Rutgers’ career leader. Radigan was Ito’s host when Ito visited Rutgers as a recruit, forging a friendship that is still strong today.

“I think the bond we created, that was one of the reasons he decided to come here,” Radigan said. “I think we’re pretty good friends since he’s been here. We go out, we hang out, we play golf together.”

Radigan said he had previously been thinking of a career in education, but now is hoping to make it to the NFL.

“If that works out, that’s obviously the route I’ll go,” he says.

And, a few minutes later, he and Ito sprinted up the tunnel of Rutgers Stadium together, all talked out.

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