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Mitch Wishnowsky uses Aussie Rules to diversify punts

The San Francisco 49ers used a fourth-round pick on punter Mitch Wishnowsky, who through offseason workouts impressed teammates with his array of boots.

Wishnowsky was an Australian rules football player before traveling to California to punt for the Santa Barbara City College football team in 2014 and later transferred to Utah, where he won the Ray Guy Award in 2016. The 27-year-old uses his background in Aussie Rules to diversify his bag of kicks.

"A lot of the punts you sort of learn growing up playing Australian rules football," Wishnowsky told the NBC Sports' 49ers Insider Podcast recently. "There's tradeoffs with every punt."

"The stock-standard end-over-end punt is a lot more accurate but you can't get quite as much height or distance on it.

"The spiral, obviously, is the biggest ball. It goes the highest and the furthest.

"The helicopter punt is great, very hard to catch. You can't kick it quite as far as the spiral. But if you slightly mishit it, it's going the opposite direction that you want it to."

The Niners hope Wishnowsky's array of boots has the same influence on their special teams as Aussie Michael Dickson had for divisional rival Seattle Seahawks last season.

So far teammates have been mesmerized by what the punter has displayed. Receiver and punt returner Trent Taylor told Jennifer Lee Chan of NBC Sports Bay Area that Wishnowsky "has been filthy with it."

"He has some serious hang time," Taylor added. "I feel like I'm sitting there waiting for it to come down for way too long. Then once you're there for too long you start overthinking it. That's what makes him good."

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