The Crusaders are as star-studded as American Bandstand.
One of the reasons Saint Louis is ranked in the top 25 nationally is how well their guys from nowheresville have played this season.
Part of that is due to the special teams unit, and Peyton Yanagi.
As was common back in the ’50s, Yanagi undertook an apprenticeship.
The former tee boy for the Rainbow Warriors back in the glory days of the late 2000s learned under University of Hawaii star snappers Jake and Luke Ingram.
Yanagi’s goal is to graduate from understudy to be able to study and play football in college.
Tonight, he’s grown a step closer. Like a bulletin from Walter Cronkite, we have a flash, folks:
Yanagi began his career as an offensive lineman, but standing at 5 feet 8 inches, he knew he needed a leg up to get to his dream of playing at the next level.
An idea to undertake long-snapping stemmed from his childhood. He was a fan of snapper Jake Ingram rifling to punter Tim Grasso while he collected the tee for the Warriors as a young boy.
“It’s one of those positions you get ragged on for, just because everybody thinks it’s so easy to do and not important,” he said. “But it’s hugely appreciative. I thank God every day because really, a guy my size wouldn’t be playing college football.”
From there, Yanagi has become plugged into the technique, joining Grasso in a camp last summer on the infield of the Daytona Motor Speedway in Florida. He also trained with snapping guru Chris Rubio.
Yanagi’s fundamentals have put some miles per hour on the football.
“When you watch a lot of people here, it’s based off of getting your body through,” he said, “but involving your legs picks up the speed and having that speed is actually going to be crucial for every level.”
Yanagi’s improvement doesn’t come with extra stardom and notoriety. His job, as it is for all long-snappers, is to go unnoticed.
“For me now, it’s just weird to get noticed. I’m one of those guys who likes to play his role, and I know that my role is to be under the radar,” he said. “If you meet coaches, they’re going to tell you that your job is definitely not to be in the limelight.”
But he’s only under the radar to the fans.
With his 4.2 GPA and work ethic, Yanagi is hoping he’ll pop up on the radar of one of his childhood favorites, for the ‘Bows or with Oregon.