College Football’s 10 best returning punters
They don’t get talked about as much as the skill position players, but have a prominent role when it comes to evenly matched teams.
Punters control the most important aspect for a team’s offense, which is field position and usually the deciding factor in close games. There’s nothing like having a strong leg and playing keep away from a game-breaking punt returner. Often times punters are the last line of defense on a return, so being an effective tackler is ideal.
These players have proved to be the elite punters of College Football and all are looking forward to another season of success in 2020.
10. Kyle Thompson, Kansas: The California native arrived on campus with no stars, but finally made a name for himself during his junior year last season. Thompson averaged 44.3 yard per punt, which was third-best in the Big 12. He also booted the ball 73 yards, which was the longest in the league in 2019. The six-foot-four, 222-pounder had 17 punts of 50 yards or more and landed 18 of his kicks inside the 20. Thompson also earned second-team All-Big 12 honors in 2018 and improved his punting average by a yard from his sophomore to junior season.
9. Adam Korsak, Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights don’t receive much praise these day, but they have a stud at punter. Korsak was a Ray Guy Award semifinalist and earned second-team All Big Ten honors last season. The former two-star recruit improved his punting average by a yard from his sophomore to junior year. He averaged 43.8 yards per punt, which which was fourth in the Big Ten. Not to mention Korsak booted a jaw-dropping, 31 balls in inside the 20-yard line. Korsak also booted a ball for a career-high, 79 yards against Northwestern in 2018.
8. Pressley Harvin III, Georgia Tech: The South Carolina native averaged 44.8 yards per punt, which was fifth-best in the ACC last season. Harvin earned third-team All-ACC honors in 2017 and second-team in 2018. The former three-star prospect booted 18 balls inside the 20 and had 26 punts of 50 yards or more. Because the Yellow Jackets’ offense was so abysmal, Harvin punted the ball 13 times against Georgia, nine against Virginia Tech and eight apiece against Clemson and Pittsburgh. Out of Harvin’s 58 punts, only seven of them went for touchbacks.
7. Mac Brown, Ole Miss: The former walk-on averaged 44.3 yards per punt last season, which was fifth-best in the SEC. Brown also improved his punting average by three yards from his sophomore to junior year. The Minnesota native punted 12 balls 50 or more yards and landed 17 kicks inside the 20. Brown was a nominee for the Bulsworth Trophy, which is awarded to the most outstanding player who began his career as a walk-on. Not to mention Brown started a lemonade stand with his neighborhood friends in junior high and raised $69k researching ALS.
6. Blake Hayes, Illinois: He arrived on campus with no stars, but he averaged 44.6 yards per boot, which led the league and was named the Big Ten’s Punter of the Year last season. Hayes earned third-team All-Big Ten honors in 2018 and first-team in 2019. The Australian increased his punting average by a yard from his sophomore to junior year. The six-foot-six, 230-pounder landed 32 punts inside the 20, including five against Minnesota. Not to mention he had a career-long punt of 70 yards against Michigan, which was No. 2 in the Big Ten last season.
5. Austin McNamara, Texas Tech: The former three star prospect turned out to be one of the Red Raiders’ best recruits last season and had a magnificent true freshman campaign. McNamara averaged 45 yards per punt, which was second-best in the conference and earned the young man first-team All-Big 12. The Arizona native tied for first in the league with 17 punts of 50 yards or more. McNamara also landed 20 punts inside the 20-yard line. The six-foot-four, 175-pounder will likely be one of the Ray Guy Award favorites heading into the 2020 season.
4. Oscar Bradburn, Virginia Tech: The Australian is a Ray Guy Award semifinalist, who averaged 46.5 yards per punt last season. Bradburn’s punting average ranked No. 3 in the ACC and No. 8 in the FBS. The former three-star recruit also improved his punting average by nearly four yards from his sophomore to junior year. Bradburn booted 21 punts of 50-plus yards and landed 22 of his kicks inside the 20. The six-foot-one, 221-pounder punted the ball 53 times last season, but only six of his kicks resulted in a touchback.
3. Jake Camarda, Georgia: The Georgia native averaged 46.8 yards per punt last season, which ranked fourth in the SEC and sixth in the FBS. Camarda improved his punting average by jaw-dropping, 4.2 yards from his sophomore to junior year. The former three-star prospect punted the ball 25 times inside the 20-yard line, which tied for third-most in the SEC. The six-foot-two, 180-pounder helped improved the Bulldogs punting average from 70th nationally in 2018 to eighth in 2019. Not to mention the Camarda punted the ball 11 times against Auburn and he also recorded a career-long 67-yard boot.
2. Trenton Gill, NC State: He was a nobody when he arrived on campus in 2017, but became a household name in the ACC after his 2019 campaign. Gill proved he had one of the most strongest legs in College Football after he averaged 47.6 yards per punt, which led the ACC and ranked third nationally. The North Carolina native had a 75-yard punt last season, which was second-best in the league and he earned third-team All-ACC honors. Gill had 24 punts of 50-plus yards and 16 inside the 20. Out of his 56 punts, only seven resulted in touchbacks.
1. Max Duffy, Kentucky: Last season he finished first in the entire FBS after he averaged 48.1 yards per punt. Duffy improved his punting average by nearly four yards from his sophomore to junior year and earned first-team All-America and second-team All-SEC. The Australian landed 49 percent of his punts inside the 20-yard line. Not to mention the former three-star prospect had 22 of his kicks go for 50 or more yards. Duffy’s phenomenal junior season landed him the Ray Guy Award as the nation’s best punter and he’ll be the favorite to bring home the hardware this fall.